San Diego State watched Saturday as Nevada surged ahead on a trick play, and could only answer with a field goal, leading to a 17-13 loss.
With the setback, SDSU falls to 7-2 and will likely lose its spot in the nation’s Top 25. The Aztecs enjoyed a brief stay in the limelight, entering the rankings after a victory over UNLV two weeks ago.
According to the Associated Press, the Wolf Pack surprised the Aztecs with a reverse.
Running back Toa Taua flipped the ball to wide receiver Elijah Cooks. He then stopped and threw 50 yards to Brendan O’Leary-Orange at the SDSU 5-yard line. Three plays later, Devonte Lee ran one yard to give the Wolf Park the lead.
The Wolf Pack (6-4) became bowl eligible after defeating the Aztecs for the second straight season. The Aztecs, whose four-game winning streak was snapped, continue to lead the West Division in the Mountain West.
The play came after a holding call against linebacker Jacob Capra hurt SDSU.
Coach Rocky Long decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his 17 and running back Chase Jasmin converted. The penalty, though forced the Aztecs to punt.
The Aztecs attempted a comeback, and SDSU’s Matt Araiza kicked a 44-yard field goal with 3:46 to go. The team got the ball back, but turned it over on downs with about a minute left.
The teams played to a 3-3 halftime tie, with Brandon Talton kicking a 34-yard field goal for Nevada in the first quarter. SDSU’s Araiza answered with a 21-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Carson Strong, making his third straight Nevada start, led a long drive to open the second half. The Aztecs countered with one of their own to tie the game on running back Chance Bell’s 3-yard run.
San Diego State hosts Fresno State on Friday (4-5), a game that will air on ESPN2. The Bulldogs lost to Utah State 37-35 Saturday.
– Staff reports