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SDSU steamrolled by Boise State, 31-14

Senior+quarterback+Christian+Chapman+is+tackled+by+freshman+defensive+end+Curtis+Weaver+and+redshirt+freshman+defensive+end+Kayode+Rufai.
Senior quarterback Christian Chapman is tackled by freshman defensive end Curtis Weaver and redshirt freshman defensive end Kayode Rufai.

Senior quarterback Christian Chapman is tackled by freshman defensive end Curtis Weaver and redshirt freshman defensive end Kayode Rufai.

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Photo by Kelly Smiley

Senior quarterback Christian Chapman is tackled by freshman defensive end Curtis Weaver and redshirt freshman defensive end Kayode Rufai.

by Abraham Jewett, Assistant Sports Editor

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The game was labeled “Code Red” by San Diego State University, and a season-high 49,053 fans filled the stands donning scarlet. 

On the field, however, it was the No. 19 Aztecs left red-faced, losing to visiting Boise State University, 31-14 in their first loss since Nov. 26, 2016

The loss drops the Aztecs to 6-1 on the season, 2-1 in Mountain West Conference play, and in all likelihood takes them out of contention for a New Year’s Six Bowl.

“Obviously we’re disappointed we lost,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said. “Every team in America goes into their schedule hoping to win every game.”

“This was a big loss,” redshirt junior quarterback, Christian Chapman, said. “We had a goal. We were trying to go undefeated. That’s out the window now.”

SDSU came into the game boasting the 23rd ranked rushing offense, highlighted by senior running back Rashaad Penny, who led the FBS in all-purpose yards, and was second in the country with 993 rushing yards.

However, Penny was bottled up in this game by a Broncos defense that came in as the nation’s 18th-best rush stoppers, allowing only 105.8 yards per contest and not allowing a single 100-yard rusher this season.

Long placed blame on the offensive line, which was unable to open holes for the Aztecs running back.

“I didn’t think we blocked at the line of scrimmage the whole night,” Long said. “Obviously you have to have some positive vibes to get back in the game, and when we couldn’t get a first down running the ball that’s not a positive vibe for us.”

A 21-yard rush at 11:19 in the first quarter put Penny over 1,000 yards rushing for the season, but he finished with only 53 yards on 21 carries, well below his season average of 165.5 yards per game.

“Tonight they were just more physical,” Chapman said. “They were able to stop the run and that’s our offense, when we can’t run the ball we’re going to struggle a little bit, so hats off to them.”

Boise State sophomore running back Alexander Mattison outran the Aztecs by his lonesome, rushing for a game-high an career-high 128 yards on 23 attempts with one touchdown.

The Broncos pressured Chapman throughout, finishing with four sacks and one forced fumble to go along with 12 tackles for loss.

The Aztecs were unable to get pressure on junior quarterback Brett Rypien and senior quarterback Montell Cozart during the game, and finished with zero sacks.

Rypien completed 11 of 19 passes in the game for 72 yards and a touchdown, a 3-yard pass to sophomore tight end Jake Roh with 3:11 left in the second quarter that put Boise up 21-0.

A series of mistakes dug the Aztecs into an early hole, starting when the team allowed a touchdown by Boise redshirt freshman cornerback Avery Williams, who returned a first-quarter punt 53 yards for the game’s first score.

With 4:20 to go in the first quarter, while attempting to escape a sack, Chapman fumbled while trying to lateral the ball to sophomore running back Juwan Washington. Freshman safety Kekaula Kaniho picked it up and ran it back for a Boise touchdown.  

SDSU made the game interesting with 4:15 left in the third quarter, when Chapman completed an 89-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Fred Trevillion to get the team to within 21-7.

Chapman finished with a season-high 240 yards through the air and one touchdown, completing 12 of 25 passes.

In the fourth quarter an 11-yard touchdown rush by senior running back Rashaad Penny brought the Aztecs to within 24-14 with 10:06 left in the game, but it was too little too late.

“We gotta get timely stops there at the end,” SDSU senior safety Trey Lomax said. “We had a chance, we were down 10 points, we gotta get a stop there.”

Mattison iced the Broncos victory with a 4-yard touchdown run with 4:52 to play, the game’s final score.

When we had a little spark at the end we couldn’t stop them on defense,” Long said. “It was a well-rounded loss.”

The Aztecs’ inability to finish drives ended up contributing to their undoing.

SDSU’s best opportunity to score in the first half was cut short after a drop by sophomore tight end Kahale Warring ended a promising second quarter drive.

In the third quarter another Aztecs drive stalled after a replay review revealed that senior wide receiver Mikah Holder did not catch a pass in bounds.

Instead of a first-and-ten on Boise’s 30-yard-line, the Aztecs turned the ball over on downs after the subsequent fourth down pass to senior fullback Nick Bawden fell to the ground.

While Long said he is disappointed that the Aztecs undefeated run has come to an end, his team has no intention of mailing it in.

“If you’re a good competitor that just fuels the fire to come back, to try and get better and not let it happen again,” Long said. “If you’re not a competitor you give up.”

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