No. 24 SDSU’s four-game winning streak snapped in 17-13 loss to Nevada

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No. 24 SDSU’s four-game winning streak snapped in 17-13 loss to Nevada

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino makes a tackle in the Aztecs' 17-13 loss to Nevada on Nov. 9 at SDCCU Stadium. Tezino finished the game recording nine total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino makes a tackle in the Aztecs' 17-13 loss to Nevada on Nov. 9 at SDCCU Stadium. Tezino finished the game recording nine total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.

Kareem Jones

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino makes a tackle in the Aztecs' 17-13 loss to Nevada on Nov. 9 at SDCCU Stadium. Tezino finished the game recording nine total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.

Kareem Jones

Kareem Jones

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino makes a tackle in the Aztecs' 17-13 loss to Nevada on Nov. 9 at SDCCU Stadium. Tezino finished the game recording nine total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.

by Aaron Tolentino, Sports Editor

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Last year, San Diego State football was 6-1 and had a six-game winning steak when the team faced Nevada in Reno.

This year, the Aztecs were 7-1, had a four-game winning streak and ranked No. 24 in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Both times the Wolf Pack spoiled the momentum SDSU had built up prior to its matchup with Nevada.

The Aztecs (7-2, 4-2 Mountain West Conference) fell to Nevada (6-4, 3-3 MWC) by a final score of 17-13 on Saturday Nov. 9 at SDCCU Stadium.

Down 17-10 and in what seemed to be the potential game-tying drive, the Aztecs marched down the field only to be faced with a fourth-and-six from Nevada’s 27-yard line.

With only 3:46 left in the game, SDSU head coach Rocky Long elected to take the three points from a 44-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Matt Araiza.

Perhaps, that may not have been the conventional move to make, but given the offense’s struggles, Long had to take the sure points.

The decision wound up working for Long as SDSU immediately made a defensive stop and got the ball back on its own 44 with 2:35 left.

SDSU was set up with an opportunity for a game-winning touchdown drive.

But that didn’t happen – not even a first down.

Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew threw three incompletions and scrambled for a 4-yard gain, only to be negated by a holding penalty that caused them to lose 10 yards.

“Just terrible by me,” Agnew said of SDSU’s final possession. “I missed a couple open guys, missed (sophomore wide receiver BJ) Busbee. I missed (senior tight end Parker Houston on) the last play – should have thrown it earlier.

“That’s all on me. I was wrong with my timing. I’ve got to make better, accurate throws. It was good play calls. I just need to execute better.”

After Agnew threw an incompletion to Houston, the Aztecs turned the ball over on downs, which clinched the victory for the Wolf Pack.

One can point the finger to penalties.

Though SDSU had the advantage in total offense (309) to Nevada’s 226 and time of possession 32:19 versus 27:41, mental errors negated a lot of those offensive yardage.

Even on third down conversions, the Aztecs were seven of 18 compared to two of 12 for Nevada. SDSU rushed for 113 yards and only allowed 29.

Despite those statistical advantages, the Aztecs committed nine penalties for 79 yards while Nevada had four for 28 yards.

“It’s amazing the penalties had a lot to do with us losing the game,” Long said. “Most of the penalties put us in bad field position the whole night, and we didn’t overcome it.”

The offense may have had more yards, third-down conversions and held the ball longer.

Except in the most important category – points.

Thirteen is less than 17.

Agnew said the defense did its part while the offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

“Offensively, we lost the game,” he said. “Defense has been playing great all year. You let up 17 points in a college football game, you should win. Offensively, we’ve got to score more points. Defense has been doing it all year. They played a great game.”

Long didn’t go as far as to say defense did its part while the offense didn’t. Rather, he said offense had its difficulties all night.

“Obviously, it’s hard to win football games if you don’t score,” Long said. “Our offense is having unbelievable struggles scoring. I don’t have the answer or I’d fix it.”

With the loss, the ranked Aztecs are likely to fall out of the top 25 in both the Coaches and AP Poll. They still sit atop the West Division of the Mountain West standings (4-2 conference record), with both Hawaii and Nevada tied for second place at 3-3.

SDSU faces a short week and takes on Fresno State (4-5, 2-3 MWC) on Friday, Nov. 15 at SDCCU Stadium.

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