Juwan Washington
San Diego State running Juwan Washington at the Aztecs’ season opener against Stanford on Aug. 31, 2018. Photo courtesy of SDSU

The last time San Diego State played against nationally ranked No. 13 Stanford, it pulled off a last-minute, come-from-behind upset. This time, however, the Aztecs, plagued by mistakes and lack of a passing game, lost 31-10 Friday at Stanford in the season opener.

Aztecs (0-1) defense was doing all they can to contain running back Bryce Love, a Heisman Trophy runner-up who finished last season with 2,118, that they forgot about wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. That was a costly mistake.

While Love was held to 29 yards on 18 carries, Arcega-Whiteside caught three touchdown passes from K.J. Costello. Arcega-Whiteside would end the night with six catches for 226 yards.

“In doing so they left obviously JJ Arcega-Whiteside, in particular, one-on-one,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “So we came back at halftime and said, okay, let’s just stop being stubborn; let’s go take advantage of it.”

San Diego State has a great first quarter, putting pressure on the Cardinal’s (1-0) running game and scoring first.  Christian Chapman connected with Juwan Washington on a 4-yard touchdown pass. The junior running back ended the night with a career-high 158 yards on 24 carries.

After an unfortunate safety in the second quarter when Chapman held on the ball for too long, the Aztecs had a chance to end the first half in the lead but instead squandered the opportunity. Senior defensive lineman intercepted a Costello’s pass was batted in the line of scrimmage. Hall tried to run upfield but was hit from behind and fumbled.

“I think that was obviously the biggest momentum shift in the game,” SDSU coach Rocky Long said. “We stop them, intercept the pass, then fumble it right back to them. Then they throw it over one of our cornerbacks for a touchdown
when we should be running the clock out. All of a sudden they score and I think completely eliminated any momentum we had.”

The Aztecs next face Sacramento State in a home opener on Sept. 8.