SAN DIEGO, CA – The San Diego State Aztecs beat the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels 14-10 in a low scoring, defensive battle. After blowing a game against the Fresno St. Bulldogs, the Aztecs needed to get back in the win column and keep their chances of playing in a bowl game alive.
It was homecoming weekend at San Diego State, so alumni from all over traveled to see the new Snapdragon Stadium for the first time. The energy in the stadium was felt early in the contest, but after seven straight drives of no scoring people wanted to see some points get put on the board. In the second quarter, the Aztecs broke the silence as they went on a 10 play, 65 yard drive capped off by a 28 yard touchdown strike from Jalen Mayden to Jesse Matthews.
The Aztec defense would come to play forcing two fumbles in the first half to stop any momentum that the Rebels had on their longest drive up to this point. With the offense set to receive the ball in the 3rd quarter, SDSU was looking to feed off the defense and gain some separation.
“Number one, it was good to win in a tough game.”, said SDSU coach Brady Hoke, “It’s good to win. It’s good to win homecoming.”
The offense answered the call as they opened up the second half on a seven play 75 yard drive where Jalen Mayden found a wide open Mark Redman for a 24 yard touchdown to make it a two score game. This was the breathing room the defense was looking for who had played lights out so far. This trend would continue as the Aztecs came up with a huge interception after the Rebels marched all the way into redzone.
UNLV’s offense had a jolt of life as Doug Brumfield completed a 70 yard bomb to Nick Williams making this game closer than the Aztecs wanted it to be. Looking to get some points back on the next possession, the Aztecs drove into field goal range however they failed to convert for the second time in the game. So once again, the pressure falls back on the defense to get another stop in a one score game.
However, the Rebels had other plans as they marched all the way inside the 10 yard line inching closer to tying up the game. With a tie game in their mind, UNLV didn’t expect to turn it over again, but that is exactly what happened as Doug Brumfield threw his second red zone interception of the day. This would sum up their offense today where even though the Rebels outgained the Aztecs in total yard, the four to one turnover difference would be the deciding factor.
“The way they played tonight, there was some ugly in there, but at the same time, they held in there as a team.” said coach Hoke.
Next week the Aztecs (5-4) will have the San Jose St. Spartans (6-2) coming into town in a game that will have a big impact on both sides of the Mountain West standings. After losing their fourth straight game, the Rebels (4-5) will be hosting red hot Fresno St. (5-4) who is currently on a four game winning streak.