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

Aztecs’ comeback falls short in 32-24 double overtime loss to Utah State

The San Diego State defense surrendered 171 rushing yards to the Aggies
Christie Yeung
San Diego State running back Kenan Christon stiff-arms a Utah State defender during the Aztecs’ homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Snapdragon Stadium. Utah State won 32-24 in double overtime.

The San Diego State Aztecs battled back late against the Utah State Aggies, but could not complete a comeback in a 32-24 double overtime loss on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Snapdragon Stadium.

Quarterback Jalen Mayden finished the evening with a season-high 265 passing yards, while also tossing three touchdowns. Running back Kenan Christon finished with 111 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches. Linebacker Cody Moon recorded a season-best 13 tackles, including 10 solo tackles.

Early in the first quarter, Utah State (4-5, 2-3 Mountain West Conference) decided to go for it on 4th down on their own 31-yard-line. As Aggies running back Robert Briggs Jr took the handoff, he was met immediately at the line of scrimmage by defensive lineman Garrett Fountain.

On the next drive, despite having a short field, the Aztecs (3-6, 1-4) offense stalled out and kicker Jack Browning missed a 42-yard field goal that sailed wide left.

After forcing a punt, the Aztecs struck first on a 6-play, 88-yard drive that finished with Mayden lofting a pass to tight end Mark Redman in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by running back Lucky Sutton, who took a carry up the gut for a season-high 62 yard gain.

San Diego State tight end Mark Redman (81) celebrates his nine yard touchdown receptions with offensive lineman Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson (right) in the second quarter of the Aztecs homecoming game against Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Snapdragon Stadium. (Christie Yeung)

The Aggies responded with a 14-play, 68-yard drive of their own that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by kicker William Testa to make the score 7-3.

Midway through the second quarter, the Aztecs were forced to settle for a field goal attempt inside the red zone. On the snap of the kick, holder Zechariah Ramirez tossed the football to Browning for a fake field goal attempt that was snuffed out by the Aggies.

SDSU headed into halftime up 7-3. Prior to the game, the Scarlet and Black were 3-0 on the season when leading at the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Aggies backup quarterback Cooper Legas, who replaced starting quarterback McCae Hillstead after he was injured, threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jalen Royals on a fly route to give the Aggies a 10-7 lead.

Head coach Brady Hoke addressed the big plays that the defense gave up in the press conference.

“When you look at us defensively, they played pretty hard, but we gave up two big plays,” Hoke said. “We’ve got to be more aware of situations.”

The Aztecs would punt on their next two drives.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Aggies capitalized on another touchdown, this time a 19-yard burst by running back Davon Booth.

After failing to pick up a first down on their next drive, the Aztecs’ special teams attempted another trick play on their own 24-yard line. Once again, the play went nowhere as Browning’ rushing attempt went for no gain.

Defending a short field, the Aztecs’ pass rush generated pressure on Legas, who committed an intentional grounding penalty that forced the Aggies into a field goal attempt. Testa missed a 38-yard field goal wide right.

Trailing 17-7 with 11:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs found life. Mayden orchestrated a 9-play, 79-yard drive that began with a pass thrown in a tight window to wide receiver Mekhi Shaw that went for 19 yards.

A few plays later, Mayden connected with Shaw again, this time on a back shoulder throw that went for 24 yards to the Aggies’ 11-yard line.

Facing a third-and-9, Mayden found Christon wide open out of the backfield for a 10 yard catch-and-run touchdown to cut the lead to 17-14.

After exchanging punts, the Aggies possessed the football with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter. With a chance to get the ball back on third-and-2, linebackers Moon and Cooper McDonald blew up a toss play in the backfield to give the Aztecs the ball back.

On the ensuing punt, the Aggies mishandled the snap which gave the Aztecs excellent field position on their own 45-yard line with 2:27 to play.

On third-and-2, Christon bounced to the outside for 25 yards to the Aggies’ 22-yard line, while also picking up a block from his quarterback.

With 33 seconds left, Browning drilled a clutch 33-yard field goal to knot the score at 17 a-piece and sent the game to overtime.

In overtime, the Scarlet and Black immediately scored as Mayden hooked up with wide receiver Brionne Penny on a go route to give the Aztecs its first lead since the first quarter.

The Aggies answered with a touchdown of their own as Legas beat the Aztecs’ all out pressure and connected with wide receiver Terrell Vaughn in the end zone.

In the second overtime, Booth ran the football right up the middle of the Aztecs defense to give the Aggies the go ahead touchdown. On the 2-pt try, Vaughn found tight end Broc Lane on a trick pass play to make the score 32-24.

Fountain spoke about the defensive lapses that occurred in overtime.

“We were trying to make plays that were out of our job,” Fountain said. “If everybody’s trying to do that, mistakes can be made.”

With one last gasp, facing a fourth-and-4, Mayden’s pass was intercepted by safety Ike Larsen to end the game.

The Aztecs went 0-3 on fourth down attempts in the game and tallied up nine penalties for 84 yards.

The Aztecs will travel next week to match up with Colorado State at 4:00 p.m on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Canvas Stadium.

About the Contributors
Mac Pham
Mac Pham, Staff Writer
Mac Pham is a Journalism major and a senior transfer student from Palomar Community College. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2023. Writing stories, story telling, reading and talking to people is something he enjoys doing, so he figured why not talk sports with that. His favorite aspect of sports writing is being an analyst and breaking down the details of a football or a basketball game. In his spare time, Mac is an avid swimmer and likes to play basketball. He hopes to be a sports writer whose calling card is writing articles filled with sports analysis. Mac is bilingual in Vietnamese.
Christie Yeung, '24-25 News Editor
Born in Hong Kong, Christie Yeung is a first-generation transfer student who majors in journalism at San Diego State University. Prior to arriving at SDSU, she served as the Gaming/Tech Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor of SAC Media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where she was placed in on-the-spot competitions such as fourth in News photo, second in Portrait photo, first in Sports photo, first in Social Media and second in News writing, along with a meritorious mention in the Enterprise News Story/Series category from Journalism Association of Community Colleges. She was also awarded second in Best Breaking News Stories by the California College Media Association. During her free time, she likes to watch European soccer games, read, listen to Cantonese-pop music and play video games and Dungeons & Dragons with her online friends. She also has a sweet tooth and cannot turn away anything with Nutella in it.