The No. 22/21 Aztecs (7-0) held the Falcons (6-2) in check to open the game – Air Force had outscored opponents 59-14 in the 1st quarter this season – on the way to a 13-0 lead at the half.
They did so on the strength of two Matt Araiza field goals – the first following a Dallas Branch interception – and a Kaegun Williams 1-yard touchdown run. SDSU extended the lead to 20-0 in their opening drive in the 3rd quarter as Chance Bell scored on a 3-yard run.
Air Force, though, mounted a comeback, with touchdowns in the 3rd and 4th quarters to pull close.
The first, though, was initially ruled an incomplete pass before the call was overturned on review. That put the Falcons on the the board, much to the Aztecs’ dismay.
“From my angle and from my opinion, I didn’t think it was a TD,” head coach Brady Hoke said.
The Falcons had their chances, missing a touchdown on their third drive, as Micah Davis, with a clear shot upfield, dropped a Haazig Daniels pass. Then, with less than two minutes left on the clock, a chop block on 4th and 7 cost Air Force a first down.
They punted on the next play and with 1:35 to go, never got the ball back.
“They didn’t quit obviously,” Hoke said. “Neither did we.”
SDSU also contained Air Force’s vaunted rushing game, holding the team to 192 yards, far off their season average of 336.
With the win, the Aztecs won their ninth straight against the Falcons.
Another MW showdown looms next week. San Diego State will return to its temporary home in Carson to face Fresno State (6-2) at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30.