Barcoo’s three interceptions, Smith’s two touchdowns highlight Aztecs’ win over Colorado State


Kareem Jones

Senior cornerback Luq Barcoo drops back in coverage against Utah State senior wide receiver Siaosi Mariner during the Aztecs' 23-17 loss to the Aggies on Sept. 21 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Betz, Assistant Sports Editor

In Tuesday’s news conference, San Diego State football senior cornerback Luq Barcoo said he wanted to create more turnovers.

“(Colorado State has) a new quarterback,” he said. “There are definitely going to be some opportunities for turnovers, so we’ve just got to take advantage.”

Barcoo took advantage.

He tallied three interceptions in the Aztecs’ 24-10 road win over Colorado State on Oct. 5 in Fort Collins.

All three of Barcoo’s interceptions came in a span of three consecutive defensive snaps.

Barcoo’s first interception occurred with 2:36 left in the third quarter.

On the first play of the Rams’ next possession, Barcoo caught another interception off junior quarterback Patrick O’Brien.

With 13:07 left in the fourth quarter, Barcoo hauled in his third pick – this time off Rams sophomore quarterback Justice McCoy.

Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett said Barcoo’s collection of interceptions was rare to witness.

“I think it’s going to be a Jeopardy! question one day,” Arnett said. “That was awesome.”

The last time an SDSU player had three interceptions in a game was Damontae Kazee against San Diego on Sept. 5, 2015. Barcoo now has the second-most interceptions in the country with four.

Head coach Rocky Long said he’s never seen someone record three interceptions in as many plays.

“Never,” Long said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have been in a couple games where a guy had three interceptions for the game, but not back-to-back-to-back. That’s very unusual, I’m sure.”

Not only did the Aztecs (4-1, 1-1 MWC) allow 10 points, but they also forced four total turnovers.

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino forced Rams senior running back Marvin Kinsey Jr. to fumble on the first play of the second half. The ball was recovered by junior defensive back Dwayne Johnson Jr.

The Aztecs were able to put 14 points on the board as a result of Colorado State miscues thanks in part to Tezino’s 13 tackles, one sack and forced fumble. 

Arnett said SDSU’s defense created more opportunities for the offense through turnovers.

“We created a lot of extra possessions,” Arnett said. “To (our) players’ credit, they did a nice job of executing the gameplan. I think we probably had the fewest assignment errors of any game so far.”

SDSU’s offense played a big role in making sure those turnovers were capitalized upon.

Tezino’s forced fumble gave the Aztecs possession in the red zone. Sophomore wide receiver Kobe Smith caught an eight-yard touchdown pass to extend the Aztecs’ lead to 17-3.

The Aztecs scored off another turnover. This time it was from senior running back Juwan Washington, who caught a three-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter.

The game marked Washington’s first action since Sept. 7 when he suffered an ankle injury during the Aztecs’ 23-14 win over UCLA.

Washington finished the night with 85 yards on 22 carries, including the fourth quarter touchdown reception. 

The Aztecs’ offense seemed to have been fueled by its fast start.

On the first play of the game, sophomore wide receiver Kobe Smith caught a 42-yard pass to put the Aztecs in opposing territory.

Two plays later, senior quarterback Ryan Agnew connected with Smith from 18 yards, putting the Aztecs on the Rams’ three-yard line. The red zone trip ended up in a 22-yard field goal from redshirt freshman Matt Araiza, giving the Aztecs an early 3-0 lead.

The Aztecs’ fourth drive of the game was capped off by another eight-yard touchdown catch by Smith, giving SDSU a 10-3 lead early in the second quarter.

Smith ended the game with seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton said Smith is getting better as his sophomore season continues.

“Coming off his true freshman year, he did some things, made some mistakes, had some growing pains,” Horton said. “Now you can really see him maturing… He’s starting to understand the nuances of the offense and he’s really starting to come into his own.”

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