Aztecs Football: Boise State Spoils San Diego State’s Winning Streak

Aztecs enter the field at the beginning of the SDSU-Stanford game. Photo by Mike Hennessy

After a comfortable win against UNLV last week, the No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs football team picked the worse time to play its worse game of the season.

The Aztecs (6-1,  2-1 Mountain West) lost to the Broncos, 31-14, in front 49,053 — the largest crowd this season — at SDCCU Stadium on Saturday. Early mistakes and a strong Boise State (4-2, 2-0) line play doomed SDSU.

After allowing a punt return for a touchdown and a turnover for another in the first quarter, the Aztecs never recovered their footing.

“I thought it was obvious they were the most physical football team out there tonight. We had a couple of things go poorly for us that got things started in the wrong direction,” coach Rocky Long said. “… but the real reason they won is because they were better at the line of scrimmage. Their defensive line was better than our offensive line, and in the second half their offensive line was better than our defensive line.”

There was a spark of hope at the end of the third quarter when quarterback Christian Chapman tossed an 89-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Fred Trevillion for cut the lead to 21-7. The pass was the fourth longest pass play in SDSU’s history and also was the program’s first touchdown of the season by a wide receiver.

“The long pass probably should have sparked us a little bit. It did a little bit but not enough to make a difference,” Long said.

Coming into this week, the Aztecs were one of 13 undefeated teams in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. The loss dropped SDSU from that group and hindered the team’s bid for a major bowl bid.

“There wasn’t one team in Division I football that went undefeated last year, not one,” Long said. “So the chances of that happening aren’t very good, and you realize along the way there is a chance you’re going to stumble and have a bad night and lose the game.”

Senior running back Rashaad Penny managed to record the 25th 1,000-yard season in the program’s history despite being limited to 53 yards by Boise State, ending his six-game streak of 100 yards or more.

“When you run the ball 100 yards every game but you don’t tonight that has to be frustrating,” Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said. “I am going to speak for him and say that it is frustrating for him.”

Penny did not participate in the post-game news conference.

The loss also dropped the Aztecs from the No. 1 standing in the Mountain West Conference. SDSU’s rival, Fresno State, who is coming to town next week, is now undefeated in the conference.

Long hopes the loss will fire up the team.

“I hope it bothers the hell out of ’em. I hope they’re disappointed, sad, upset. I hope they have all those emotions because I do,” he said. “And if you’re a good competitor that just fuels the fire, and you try to come back to try to get better and not let it happen again. If you’re not a competitor, you give up.”