Aztecs fall to Hawaii, miss out on Mountain West championship game


Sam Mayo

Senior cornerback Luq Barcoo intercepts a pass during the Aztecs’ 17-7 win over Fresno State on Nov. 15 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Betz, Assistant Sports Editor

With eight seconds and timeout left, redshirt freshman kicker Matt Araiza had the chance to send the game into overtime by making a potential career-high 48-yard field goal attempt.

The Aztecs could have run another play to move the ball closer to the end zone, but they elected to kick the field goal then and there.

His first try? Wide right.

But wait.

Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich called a timeout.

Araiza had the chance to redeem himself, but his second attempt was the same result as the first.

Every season, San Diego State football’s goal is to reach and win the Mountain West championship game.

That goal won’t become a reality this year as the Aztecs (8-3, 5-3 MW) fell to Hawaii in a winner-take-all game by a score of 14-11 at Aloha Stadium on Nov. 23.

The Scarlet and Black and Rainbow Warriors (8-4, 5-3 MW) are now tied atop the West Division, but Hawaii’s win Saturday gives it the tiebreaker.

This is the third straight year SDSU has missed out on playing in the Mountain West title game.

Its offense moved the ball 50 yards on its final drive in order to set up the field goal attempt.

Besides a 75-yard drive capped off by a senior quarterback Ryan Agnew rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs seemed to have a hard time moving the ball all night.

Hawaii only collected 29 more yards than the Aztecs on offense (347 compared to 318), but the number on the scoreboard was in Hawaii’s favor the whole game.

Late in the first half, the game could have changed with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Agnew to sophomore tight end Daniel Bellinger, but it was overturned after video replay showed he was unable to get a foot down in the field of play.

As a result, the Aztecs were forced to settle with just three points entering halftime and faced a 7-3 deficit at that point.

SDSU’s defense finished the night holding Hawaii to just 14 total points – the lowest amount the Rainbow Warriors have scored in a game all season long. 

The Aztecs didn’t win the game, but they won the turnover battle – senior cornerback Luq Barcoo notched his eighth interception of the season which ties for first in the nation.

The Rainbow Warriors still found the end zone at the end of the eight-and-a-half minute drive in the first quarter with an eight-yard receiving touchdown by senior wide receiver Jason-Matthew Sharsh.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Chevan Cordeiro replaced McDonald in Hawaii’s second drive of the second half. He made more of an impact with his legs near the tail end of the drive, rushing for 53 rushing yards while adding three first downs in as many plays.

Junior running back Fred Holly III ended the drive with an 11-yard rushing touchdown to extend Hawaii’s lead to 17-3.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Aztecs were able to string together a drive that resulted in the red zone.

It took four plays inside the eight yard line, but Agnew was able to scramble five yards into the end zone to give the Aztecs their first touchdown of the game. He followed that effort with a two-point conversion rush to make the score 14-11 in Hawaii’s favor.

SDSU will end their regular season next Saturday, Nov. 30, against BYU at SDCCU Stadium.