San Diego State celebrates early, but there was more to come in their 33-31 win over Utah. Photo credit: @AztecFB

San Diego State escaped with a win over Utah Saturday in a a triple-overtime thriller that came down to two-point conversions.

The Aztecs (3-0) secured the victory on an overturned call, narrowly avoiding a 4th OT.

The officials ruled that Ute quarterback Cam Rising completed his pass for the conversion. On review, however, they found that the ball had hit the ground, leaving the score at 33-31 and setting off a wild SDSU celebration.

San Diego State had jumped ahead of Utah (1-2) on a trick play when quarterback Lucas Johnson caught a pass from wide receiver Jesse Matthews for the two-point conversion.

“They executed and it was great to see all that hard work and execution pay off,” head coach Brady Hoke said. Johnson called the finish “probably the most exciting end of a football game I’ve ever been a part of.”

With quarterback Jordon Brookshire sitting with a reported foot injury, Johnson, a Mt. Carmel High School alum, took the reins for the Aztecs.

The game had been tied at 10 at the half. SDSU surged ahead though in the 3rd quarter on two 7-yard runs for touchdowns by Greg Bell, one following an interception by Tayler Hawkins.

San Diego State’s defense had contained Ute starting quarterback Charlie Brewster to that point, sacking him three times, so the team switched to Rising, the backup.

The move proved costly for the Aztecs, who gave up their 24-10 lead in the waning minutes of regulation. The Utes missed the extra point following a Rising touchdown pass to Britain Covey. Yet they made a two-point conversion after a 70-yard touchdown drive with 16 seconds remaining to force OT.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first OT, but both failed to score in the second after missing field goals, leading to the decisive third go-around.

There were thrills to start the game too. Utah opened the scoring on an 80-yard punt return by Covey in the 1st quarter. Jordan Byrd outdid him in the 2nd with a 100-yard kickoff return.

The Aztecs beat Utah for the first time in 16 years. With this latest win against the Pac-12, SDSU improves to 7-2 against the conference since 2016.

The Aztecs play their second straight home game on Sept. 25, as they host Towson, out of Maryland. Carson’s Dignity Health Sports Park remains their temporary home due to Mission Valley stadium construction.

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