A week after entering the game against Wyoming as a heavy favorite and losing, San Diego State’s football team walked into another game as an overwhelming favorite, and got the results it was looking for.
On Saturday the Aztecs defeated New Mexico’s Lobos 35-7, taking care of business against arguably the worst team in America.
Sophomore running back Ronnie Hillman ran for 141 yards and a touchdown, while junior running back Walter Kazee scored three touchdowns of his own.
Senior quarterback Ryan Lindley had his streak of 17 straight games with a touchdown pass broken but played solid as he completed 16 of his 24 passes for 271 yards.
The defense allowed 162 yards, which is the fourth-lowest amount of yardage given allowed in school history, and the receivers played well after struggling last week.
At his weekly press conference, head coach Rocky Long wasn’t shy with how he felt about the team’s wide receivers.
Long said he thought the group would be better than it is at this point of the season, and that it was basically holding the offense back. Against Wyoming, SDSU receivers totaled four catches for 51 yards.
The receivers didn’t hold the offense back against the Lobos. Sophomore wideout Colin Lockett had three receptions for 93 yards, sophomore Dylan Denso recorded five catches for 71 yards and a new face joined the reception column of the stat sheet.
Sophomore wide receiver Osmond Nicholas snagged his first two career catches.
Long’s attitude about the receivers after the game was more upbeat.
“I thought we looked like our old selves throwing and catching the ball,” he said. “I thought it was nice to see a new name out there catching some passes with Osmond Nicholas catching some balls.”
It’s been the Aztecs’ weekly routine: Start the game flat, trail going into halftime and then come out looking like a different team in the second half.
SDSU’s first-half performance wasn’t pretty, fans booed as the team entered the locker room at the half, but they didn’t put themselves in a major hole, like they have often done in previous games.
The Aztecs led at halftime; it was the first time they have led after two quarters since the Cal Poly game.
Lindley thought the team came out more focused against New Mexico.
“Obviously we did better (than last week). I think we did a better job of coming out on offense,” Lindley said. “I think we played pretty well for four quarters.”
The defense didn’t go through its usual first-half slump either. They only gave up seven points, after giving up 30 points to Wyoming in the opening quarters last week. New Mexico tallied up only six first downs and 121 yards in the first half.
Hillman posted his 13th career 100-yard rushing game against the Lobos. He also ran for his 13th touchdown of the season and surpassed the 1,100-yard rushing mark.
Junior defensive back Leon McFadden intercepted his second pass of the season for the Aztecs. After sophomore defensive back Gabe Lemon recorded his first pick of the year and second of his career in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs raised their interception total to 10 for the season.