The Daily Aztec

SDSU overcomes Air Force, lightning delay in 21-17 victory

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Junior tight end Parker Houston breaks away for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Aztecs 21-17 victory over Air Force on Oct. 12 at SDCCU Stadium.

Junior tight end Parker Houston breaks away for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Aztecs 21-17 victory over Air Force on Oct. 12 at SDCCU Stadium.

Weicheng Han

Weicheng Han

Junior tight end Parker Houston breaks away for the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Aztecs 21-17 victory over Air Force on Oct. 12 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Saunders, Staff Writer

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San Diego State football won its fifth straight game on Friday night, defeating Air Force 21-17 while overcoming a 67-minute lightning delay at SDCCU stadium.

Lightning in the area prompted a 30-minute delay with 5:50 left in the third quarter. The game was delayed multiple times after lightning reappeared within an eight-mile radius, each time resetting the 30-minute delay due to NCAA rules.

The troubling weather was reminiscent of SDSU’s matchup against Air Force (2-4, 0-3 MW) last season in Colorado, which saw an 88-minute lightning delay.

SDSU head coach Rocky Long said it was odd for a weather delay to occur in back-to-back years against the Falcons.

“What a coincidence that is, not only the lightning delay, but it’s the same teams that played,” Long said.

The end result remained the same, a win for the Aztecs (5-1, 2-0 MW).

Down 17-14 with 9:18 left to play in the game, SDSU junior quarterback Ryan Agnew led the offense on a game-winning touchdown drive that started from its own six-yard line.

Agnew made two key third-down plays on the drive, one with his arm and one with his legs.

On third-and-nine, Agnew scrambled 32 yards to get SDSU out of its own seven-yard line. Three plays later, Agnew, rolling to his right, found freshman wide receiver Kobe Smith to get the Aztecs to Air Force’s 24-yard line.

Agnew said he felt he had to make big plays for his team.

“You know in that moment, backed up with that scramble, I try to find a couple guys that weren’t there,” Agnew said. “At that point, you can’t really think, you’ve just got to go and make a play for the team.”

The drive was capped off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Parker Houston, giving SDSU the 21-17 lead with 6:10 left.

The Falcons had one final opportunity with 3:42 to play, but senior defensive back Parker Baldwin intercepted Falcons junior quarterback Isaiah Sanders to seal the Aztecs’ victory

Baldwin said he was relieved to redeem himself after missing a potential interception earlier in the game.

“I was just glad I bounced back,” Baldwin said. “Luckily, I got another chance and made it happen.”

The Aztecs capitalized on turnovers throughout the game.

With 18 seconds left in the first half, Air Force punter Charlie Scott bobbled a snap, allowing SDSU sophomore linebacker Kaelin Himphill to blocked his punt attempt.

Sophomore defensive back Trenton Thompson recovered the fumble, and ran it in for a touchdown to give the Aztecs a 14-9 lead heading into halftime.

Long said Thompson’s touchdown gave the Aztecs a momentum swing going into the locker room.

“Picking (the blocked punt) up was a huge lift going into halftime,” Long said.

The Aztecs struck first, wasting no time on their opening drive as sophomore running back Chase Jasmin punched in a four-yard rushing touchdown to give SDSU a 7-0 lead with 13:49 to play in the first.

The touchdown was Jasmin’s highlight of the night, as he was held to 74 yards on 18 rushes for the rest of the evening.

Long said the running attack was neutralized by a strong Air Force defensive line.

“I thought both teams played really well up front on defense,” Long said. “Our defensive line played well and (Air Force’s) defensive line played well.”

SDSU had previously not allowed a run longer than 20 yards all season going into the game, but the Falcons would eclipse that number two times.

The Aztecs found themselves without junior defensive end Myles Cheatham for the majority of the second half, after he was ejected for targeting on Falcons quarterback Isaiah Sanders.

That was one of nine penalties the Aztecs committed for 114 yards, while Air Force was penalized five times for 56 yards.

Long said the penalties affected both teams.

“They had a couple penalties that really hurt them too,” Long said. “If you get a 15 yard penalty, no matter which team you are, it hurts.”

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