The Daily Aztec

SDSU escapes with 28-21 victory over No. 23 Arizona State

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Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Agnew prepares to take a snap from under center during the Aztecs 28-21 victory over Arizona State on Sept. 15 at SDCCU Stadium.

Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Agnew prepares to take a snap from under center during the Aztecs 28-21 victory over Arizona State on Sept. 15 at SDCCU Stadium.

Raymond Gorospe

Raymond Gorospe

Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Agnew prepares to take a snap from under center during the Aztecs 28-21 victory over Arizona State on Sept. 15 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Saunders, Staff Writer

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San Diego State football held on for a 28-21 victory over Arizona State University on Saturday night, escaping a late comeback attempt from the Sun Devils at SDCCU Stadium.

The Aztecs (2-1) allowed only a late fourth-quarter touchdown to ASU, who did not record a second-half first down until just over four minutes left in the game and after SDSU had pulled away with 14 unanswered points.

The Sun Devils (2-1) would not go away, however, and after pulling within a touchdown had one final chance to tie the game after SDSU sophomore running back Chase Jasmin fumbled the ball away with 43 seconds left while attempting to stretch out a would-be game-sealing run.

ASU made it to midfield, but following three incompletions faced a fourth-and-10 with 13 seconds left. Redshirt senior quarterback Manny Wilkins lobbed a pass downfield and initially appeared to connect with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frank Darby on a 48-yard catch to the two-yard line, but after a review it was determined the ball hit the ground.

Sophomore warrior Trenton Thompson delivered a big hit on the play, but was called for targeting, which set up the Sun Devils on the Aztecs’ 45-yard line with six seconds left.

ASU’s last-second heave from Wilkins was then deflected into the turf by senior safety Parker Baldwin, sealing an SDSU victory.

Head coach Rocky Long said the Aztecs were the best team on the field and cut it too close at the end.

“We deserved to win the game, we outplayed them,” Long said. “We deserved to win and them even making it that close was ridiculous.”

ASU came into the game boasting the No. 1 run defense in the nation, allowing only 32.6 yards per game, but the Aztecs torched them for 311 yards on the ground.

Junior running back Juwan Washington and sophomore running back Chase Jasmin both went over the century mark on the ground for SDSU, finishing with 138 and 112 yards, respectively.

Washington said the offense played well and will be able to build on their performance going forward.

“We played really great as a collective group,” Washington said. “We executed everything that was supposed to be going on. You know winning this game is just something to build on.”

Washington went over 100 yards in the third quarter, while Jasmin had 99 of his yards in the fourth after Washington stayed on the sidelines following the Aztecs first drive of the final frame.

“(Jasmin) did a really good job filling in,” Washington said. “He did a really good job of seeing things. You just got to be able to trust what you see and hit it.”

On the other side of the ball, the Aztecs held sophomore running back Benjamin Eno to 21 yards on 13 carries while limiting the Sun Devils to 36 total yards on the ground.

ASU head coach Herm Edwards said his team did not compete well against SDSU’s defense.

“We play a team like this, there’s a lot of movement up front,” Edwards said. “They put you in a bad situation. We’ve got to make more positive yards on first down. We have to be able to do that.”

Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew started his first career game for the Aztecs and showed off on the ground and through the air, finishing the game with 129 yards passing and a touchdown to go with 36 yards rushing.

Long said his quarterback’s dual-threat ability helped the offense out of some potential negative plays.

“It was big tonight,” Long said. “They got some pressure on him and most of the time he made… positive plays.”

Agnew proved to be a suitable fill-in for injured senior quarterback Christian Chapman, who is out 3-6 weeks after spraining his ACL against Sacramento State.

Agnew said having trust from his teammates helped calm his pregame jitters.

“I think everyone has jitters before every game,” Agnew said. “It was calming having guys around me who trust me. It made it a lot easier just having my teammate(s) around me.”

Agnew came up big in the Aztecs’ final drive of the first half, utilizing a hurry-up offense to lead the team down the field with 1:41 left to play, tying the game 14-14.

The drive featured multiple receivers and ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Tim Wilson Jr.

Long said the drive was critical and changed the momentum of the game.

“I thought that was the biggest moment in the game,” Long said. “I think we went into halftime with all the momentum in the game and came out the locker room with the momentum too,” Long said.”I think it would have been a completely different game if that hadn’t happened.”

The only score of the first quarter came on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wilkins to ASU junior wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, giving the Sun Devils a 7-0 lead while the Aztecs punted the ball on all three of their drives.

Wilkins finished the game with 341 yards passing to go along with two touchdowns but was held to only 106 yards through the air in the second half.

Junior cornerback Kyree Woods, who finished with six total tackles and four pass breakups,   said the game was a step in the right direction for the Aztecs.

“I’m excited this season because I feel like we’re slowly getting there, progressing every week,” Woods said. “It’s only a matter of time where we’re lights out.”

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