Aztec Football fall to Boise State Broncos in messy 35 – 13 loss

Lack of rhythm and penalties cost Aztecs

Freshman+cornerback+Chris+Johnson+defends+a+Toledo+wide+receiver+on+Sept.+24.+

Jesse Gordon

Freshman cornerback Chris Johnson defends a Toledo wide receiver on Sept. 24.

by Roman Aguilar, Contributor

The Boise State Broncos (3-2) brought down the San Diego State Aztecs (2-3) 35-13 in a game the Aztecs struggled, as Boise State scored 35 unanswered points in the second half.

 The Aztecs looked to have a promising start as Boise State freshman quarterback Taylen Green threw an interception off a tipped pass to sophomore cornerback Dez Malone early in the first quarter. 

However, San Diego State failed to take advantage of the possession as two false start penalties and two timeouts later, the Aztecs settled for a 21-yard field goal to put the Aztecs up 3-0. 

 Later in the first quarter, senior quarterback Braxton Burmeister hit senior wide receiver Jesse Matthews for a 26-yard pass to reach Boise State’s seven-yard line. But once again penalties spoiled the drive as an ineligible man downfield erased what would’ve been a 10-yard touchdown pass from Burmeister to senior wide receiver Tyrell Shavers. The Aztecs had to take another field goal as senior kicker Jack Browning hit from 25 yards out to double the Aztecs lead to 6-0. 

The Aztecs stalled on several drives afterwards, as penalties ruined any momentum they had. 

“We hurt ourselves a bunch too, too many penalties, we can’t have false starts the way we had false starts,” head coach Brady Hoke said. 

Penalties were the difference maker as San Diego State ended with 10 penalties for a loss of 55 yards. 

Early in the second quarter, Shavers pushed his way through the Broncos line to both block a punt and return it to the endzone on a 36-yard return to score a touchdown taking the Aztecs up 13-0 by half. It was Shavers’ first blocked punt of the season and third of his career. With this blocked punt, he has tied the SDSU school record for third all-time in blocked punts with three. He now has three touchdowns on the year, and eight in his career. 

“We talked about making something happen in special teams,” Hoke said. “I was really proud of the punt block team and what they ended up doing.”

After halftime the tide shifted, as San Diego State was shutout in the second half. Boise State took control from the jump and never looked back. 

The Aztecs also lost both Burmeister and freshman quarterback Kyle Crum to injury in the second half. The injuries led to redshirt freshman Liu Aumavae to enter the game and take his first snaps as an Aztec quarterback. Both freshman quarterbacks could not get much going on the field as Crum went 0-1, and lost yardage in his four rushing attempts. Aumavae went 0 for 7. 

Hoke told San Diego Sports 760 point blank, “we’re an undisciplined football team.” 

Shortly after, he added, “We just never had execution in the second half either offensively or defensively.” 

Boise State’s offense was fierce out of the locker room, scoring in four straight possessions and five of six to start the second half. The Aztecs struggled to stop the run as junior running back George Holani (131) and Green (105) became the first running duo to both rush for more than 100 yards against San Diego State since Nov. 26, 2016, vs. Colorado State. In total, Boise State rushed for 310 yards, while San Diego State rushed for only 81.

On the first play of the second half, Boise State picked off Burmeister at San Diego’s 31-yard line. Green then ran it himself, rushing for a 17-yard touchdown to put the Broncos on the board. 

The Boise State running back committee was in full effect as Holani scored a 12-yard rushing touchdown, and freshman running back Ashon Jeanty had a 32-yard score to put the Broncos up 21-13 by the end of the third quarter. 

Green scored once again, this time 39 yards to the house on Boise State’s first drive of the fourth quarter, and Holani added a 29-yard touchdown to officially close out any hopes the Aztecs had of coming back in the game. Boise State had five 20-plus rushing plays, while San Diego State had none. In addition, when rushing on third down, Boise State was 3-4 (75.0) on conversions and San Diego State was 0-8 rushing on third down. 

“Defensively, very disappointed in the second half and very disappointed with not tackling,” Hoke said. “It was for us, a physical game and we got to play a lot better on both sides of the ball.

For San Diego State, senior running back Jordan Byrd led the Aztecs in rushing with 13 carries (4.7 avg) for 81 yards.  On the defensive end, players such as junior defensive lineman Garret Fountain led the team in tackles with eight, followed by senior safety Patrick McMorris who had seven himself, and senior linebacker Michael Shawcroft with six stops.  

The Aztecs now fall to 4-4 all-time against Boise State, after losing the Mountain West Conference opener for just the second time in the past 10 years. San Diego State was outgained in total yardage by 333 yards, the biggest deficit since the 2006 season. 

The Aztecs look to get back on track at Snapdragon Stadium this Saturday Oct. 8 at 7:30 pm, as they take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-4).