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 offense stymied, lost another one-score game in 22-19 loss at Colorado State

With the loss, the Aztecs have officially been eliminated from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2009
Michael Hayes
Aztec quarterback Jalen Mayden (18) looks downfield while running out of the pocket during a game against the Nevada Wolfpack on Oct. 21, 2023 at Snapdragon Stadium.

The San Diego State Aztecs could not overcome another slow start in a 22-19 loss to the Colorado State Rams on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Canvas Stadium.

Quarterback Jalen Mayden completed 19 of 25 passes, which was a season-high 76% completion percentage for him. Mayden also had a rushing touchdown.

Safety Josh Hunter had a career-best 15 tackles and also had one pass defended in coverage.

After the Aztecs (3-7, 1-5 Mountain West Conference) offense failed to pick up a first down on their second drive, punter Jack Browning boomed a 60-yard punt that pinned the Rams on their own 1-yard line.

The Aztecs’ defense gave up a few first downs on the ensuing drive, but eventually forced the Rams (4-6, 2-4) into another punt.

The Aztecs’ offense found themselves on their own 7-yard line, which resulted in Mayden dropping back and taking a sack. Facing a third-and-7, CSU defensive lineman Mohamed Kamara sacked Mayden in the end zone for a safety with 5:58 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, the Aztecs forced another three-and-out. However, punt returner Mekhi Shaw muffed the football and the Rams recovered it on the Aztecs’ 18-yard line.

Defending a short field, the Aztecs defense dropped eight defenders into coverage and forced Rams quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi into an incomplete pass on third-and-9.

Rams kicker Jordan Noyes converted a 34-yard field goal to extend the Rams lead to 5-0 with 2:42 remaining in the first quarter.

SDSU’s offense continued to stall out and punted on their next two drives. Colorado State added a 30-yard field goal by Noyes on their first drive of the second quarter.

On their next possession, the Rams marched down the field on an 8-play, 90-yard drive that included a 42-yard double-reverse pass from wide receiver Tory Horton to wide receiver Dylan Goffney.

The Rams finished off the drive with a direct snap to tight end Dallin Holker for a 1-yard rushing touchdown to extend their lead to 15-0.

The Aztecs offense began their next drive with Mayden rushing for 10 yards, followed by running back Cam Davis picking up another 19 yards, running between the tackles for the first down. Davis finished with a career-high 67 rushing yards.

A few plays later, Browning punted the ball back to the Rams after Mayden could not escape out of a sack on third down.

On the final play of the first half, Fowler-Nicolosi launched a Hail Mary attempt that was intercepted by safety Cedarious Barfield.

On the Aztecs’ first possession of the second half, running back Kenan Christon ran between the tackles for a 39-yard gain into Rams territory.

Facing a third-and-12, Mayden was under heavy pressure and found Shaw for a 9-yard gain.

Kicker Gabriel Plascencia converted a 22-yard field goal to finally get SDSU on the scoreboard at the 10:10 of the third quarter.

The following drive, the Aztecs defense gave up another big play, this time a 41-yard catch on a go route by Rams wide receiver Justus Ross-Simmons.

A few plays later, Rams running back Justin Marshall punched in a five-yard touchdown to increase the Rams’ lead to 22-3.

Ensuing possession, Mayden went 5-of-6 passing for 30 yards. The Scarlet and Black had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Plascencia.

Late in the third quarter, the Aztecs defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back.

In the fourth quarter, with a third-and-11, Mayden hit tight end Mark Redman on a dig route to move the sticks.

On third-and-goal, Mayden evaded a blitz, stepped up into the pocket and took off to the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown run.

The ensuing 2-point try was no good, keeping the score at 22-12, Rams.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Rams running back Vann Schield took a handoff, attempted a hurdle, and cornerback Dez Malone punched the football out, which was recovered by linebacker Zyrus Fiaseu.

Following the turnover, the Aztecs offense converted a pair of third downs to keep the drive alive.

On the goal line, the Aztecs had three straight run attempts stuffed by the Rams. On fourth and goal, running back Jaylon Armstead bulldozed his way into the end zone to cut the lead to 22-19 with two minutes to play.

On the final possession of the game, running back Avery Morrow picked up 13 yards on three carries for a first down, extinguishing the hopes of an Aztecs’ comeback.

The Aztecs run game tallied 145 rushing yards on 32 attempts. While only committing four penalties, the Aztecs could not take advantage of the Rams’ 11 penalties on the evening.

The Rams finished with 183 rushing yards. It was the third straight game that the Aztecs rush defense gave up over 100 yards on the ground.

The Aztecs face off against San Jose State next week for their final road game of the regular season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at CEFCU Stadium.

It will be the second-to-last game as SDSU head coach for Brady Hoke, who announced on Monday that he will be retiring at the end of the season.

About the Contributor
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.