San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

The Aztecs become bowl eligible after a 43-27 victory over the Spartans

After San Jose State went up 14-0 early in the first quarter, SDSU answered back with 38 unanswered points, tying the most unanswered points scored this season.
Caleb St. Clair
Senior wide receiver Jesse Matthews avoids a Spartan tackler in SDSU’s 43-27 victory over San Jose State on Nov. 12.

The Aztecs (6-4, 4-2 MWC) defeated the San Jose State Spartans (6-3, 4-2 MWC) 43-27 to become eligible for eight bowl games this season.

The win moved the Aztecs to 24-20-2 overall, 13-8-1 at home and 9-1 in the last 10 games versus the Spartans. The last game between the two teams resulted in a double-overtime win 19-13 to the then defending league champion SJSU. 

It was imperative for the Scarlet and Black to win and secure at least a .500 record. The sixth win of the season made the Aztecs bowl eligible for a 13th consecutive season as the team stayed on track for a return to the Mountain West Championship. Senior defensive lineman Jonah Tavai acknowledged it took a lot of preparation before the game. 

“Preparation for every game is definitely key for us,” Tavai said postgame. “We treat every week as championship week. We did talk about how we’re going to be bowl eligible if we win this game, but we were more engaged in just winning the game.” 

On the Spartans first drive, a 27-yard throw from junior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro to graduate wide receiver Elijah Cooks, who made an overhead one-handed catch, put SJSU in SDSU territory. After a mixture of passes and running plays, Cordeiro threw to Cooks again, who ended up in the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown. It was Cooks’ fifth touchdown of the season, and the score was quickly 7-0 for the visiting team. 

On the Aztecs first drive, they failed to replicate the energy the Spartans brought. Instead, senior quarterback Jalen Mayden threw an interception to freshman defensive back Michael Dansby on third down which gave SJSU great field possession.

San Jose State did not waste what SDSU gave away, and at the end of an eight-play drive was a three-yard touchdown by Cordeiro. It was his eighth rushing touchdown on the season to make it 14-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, senior running back Jordan Byrd gave the Aztecs momentum with his first touchdown return of the season, a 95-yard return to cut the lead in half 14-7.

On the Spartans ensuing drive, Tavai sacked Cordeiro on third down, his team-leading seventh sack of the season, which erupted Snapdragon Stadium and forced the Spartans to punt.

The Aztecs received good field possession and were able to capitalize. A 13-yard throw by Mayden to senior wide receiver Jesse Matthews, and a 23-yard throw reception by senior  wideout Tyrell Shavers, put the Scarlet and Black on the one-yard line. After committing a false start, the Aztecs failed to score a touchdown and were left with a 22-yard field goal by senior kicker Jack Browning to make it 14-10.   

On the Aztecs third drive of the game, Mayden threw to a breaking Shavers who caught the ball and took it to the endzone for a 66-yard touchdown. It was Shavers’ third touchdown of the season and gave SDSU its first lead, 17-14. 

The pressure by the Scarlet and Black kept coming. After two double-digit yard rushes by Mayden, and an 18-yard reception by sophomore receiver Mekhi Shaw, they ended up in the endzone once again. Mayden threw to Shaw for a 17-yard touchdown to reach 24 unanswered points. The Aztecs led 24-14 at the end of the first half.

SDSU put up more points in the first half than they did in the past three home games.   

The Aztec defense was able to halt the Spartans to 94 receiving yards and 28 rushing yards, while the Aztec offense ended up with 185 receiving yards and 50 rushing yards in the first half. Shavers had 97 of the 185 receiving yards for the Scarlet and Black.

SDSU got the ball to start the second half and continued to put the pressure on SJSU. A drive that took nine plays over 74 yards resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mayden to Matthews. The senior wide receiver secured his third touchdown of the season and the Aztecs led 31-14.

The Aztec defense continued to dominate on the Spartans’ ensuing drive. SJSU went three and out after Tavai secured his second sack of the game and eighth sack of the season. 

The Spartans continued to look hopeless on defense as the Aztecs marched their way to the red zone on their next drive. A mixture of rushes and passes moved the Aztec offense down field, which included a diving catch out of bounds by Matthews for 17 yards. The drive resulted in a two-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore Jaylen Armstead. It was the sophomore running back’s first career rushing touchdown, which gave the Scarlet and Black a 38-14 lead.

San Jose State finally sparked their offense on their ensuing drive. The Spartans took the ball down field on seven plays for 75 yards, which concluded with a 32-yard touchdown reception by junior tight end Skylar Loving-Black. 

SJSU decided to go for a two-point conversion but could not execute. The Spartans stopped the Aztecs scoring streak and cut the lead to 18.

After the Aztecs did not move within scoring distance on their next drive, they were forced to punt the ball for the first time. The Spartans weren’t able to get anywhere close to scoring range on their next possession, as Cordeiro threw an interception to the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week senior cornerback Dallas Branch.

Since the Aztecs were given good field possession, they executed to get three points courtesy of a 31-yard field goal by Browning. The Scarlet and Black extended the lead to 41-20. 

The Spartans were desperate for points with 6:55 minutes remaining. One roughing the passer call and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty helped put SJSU into Aztec territory. On the tenth play of the drive, Cordeiro threw a 21-yard pass to a breaking senior wide receiver Isaiah Hamilton for a touchdown. San Jose State cut the lead to 14 and the score was 41-27. 

The Spartans failed to score again and Tavai capped the game off with a safety to secure a 43-27 victory.

“Really proud of the guys,” head coach Brady Hoke said postgame. “We didn’t start out the game the way we would like to have but I think they all came together. (Jordan) Byrd and his touchdown really was the spark.”

Mayden, who had 268 passing yards and 61 of the 157 rushing yards for the Aztecs, was proud of the team’s performance.

“In this game it was all about once we got up, it was about finishing,” Mayden said. “So proud of how we bounced back.”

Shavers had four receptions for 111 yards, Shaw completed five receptions for 64 yards, and Matthews had four receptions for 57 yards, all securing a touchdown. 

The Scarlet and Black defense was able to limit the Spartans to only 28 yards rushing. Limiting opponents’ running yards and increasing tackles for loss was something Hoke said they started working on since the Boise State game and loved the execution in this game.

“We set goals and parameters and what we want to achieve and one of them is to keep an opponent under 100 yards (rushing) or either 75 yards,” Hoke said. “So far we’ve done a good job since we started doing that.”

The Aztec defense limited the Spartans to 195 receiving yards, had one interception, five sacks and eight tackles for loss.

The Aztecs are in second place in the Mountain West Conference West Division and their next game is away from Snapdragon Stadium against the New Mexico Lobos, on Friday, Nov. 18.  

About the Contributor
Adam Correa
Adam Correa, Senior Staff Writer
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism and media studies. This is his second year with The Daily Aztec. He loves watching sports, reading, and going to the gym in his free time. He mainly writes for the sports section, but also loves doing on-camera reporting and multimedia content. He previously was the assistant sports editor and blog editor for The Telescope newspaper at Palomar College. In the summer of 2022, he did an internship with Thesocialtalks digital newspaper, where he wrote for the latest news, opinion, and sports section. When he graduates from San Diego State University, he wants to be a sports writer for a popular newspaper organization or a sports reporter for a tv station.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
The Aztecs become bowl eligible after a 43-27 victory over the Spartans