#19 SDSU @ South Alabama Recap: State Drops the Ball in Alabama 42-24

Credit: NBC
Credit: NBC

The San Diego State Aztecs came into Alabama looking to impress as the country’s newest Top 20 team. They battled it out, but simple mistakes proved too costly for them in the end as they lost 42-24.

South Alabama took every advantage they could, proving that for the second straight season they were the Aztecs kryptonite. Three Aztecs streaks were snapped today, a 13-game winning streak, a five game road winning streak, and seven straight wins in the month of October.

The South Alabama Jaguars went up quickly, coming out of the first quarter with a 14-6 lead. However, with the help of D.J. Pumphrey, the Aztecs would respond by putting up ten points in the second quarter to lead the Jaguars at halftime 16-14. The teams would continue to trade blows in the third quarter. The Jaguars came out swinging, scoring on a 79-yard touchdown pass to open the quarter.  The Aztecs would respond later by punching in a red zone touchdown and a two point conversion to give them a three point lead heading into the fourth.

Now, the fourth quarter is where the game really just slipped out of the Aztecs hands. All game long SDSU struggled to show that beast mentality that they had been playing with all season. Part of that came with Jaguars head coach Joey Jones’ plan to silence Pumphrey. Now, they didn’t necessarily silence him, but they did keep him out of the end zone except for once, which matters the most.

The Jaguars put up an early fourth quarter touchdown to give them a 28-24 lead. 11:58 was left for the Aztecs to strike back, but they could not succeed. SDSU failed to move the ball up the field and a bad snap led to a fumble, which was recovered by the Jaguars on their own three yard line. The Jaguars took advantage of the opportunity and went up 35-24. Now with a 17-point lead, the Jaguars were sitting quite comfortably, but the Aztecs weren’t going to give up quite yet.

They managed to drive the ball confidently down inside the Jaguar 25-yard line, before making another costly mistake. After a big 13-yard gain, the Aztecs were set up with 3rd down and two yards to go. Naturally, they planned to pound those two yards in with beefy fullback Nick Bawden. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, he was stuffed and ended up fumbling the ball, where it was picked up and returned 80 yards to the house by Jaguar Devon Earl for the final score of the game. The Jaguars sealed the deal with that one, putting themselves up 42-24 with just under five minutes to go.

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

The Aztecs played a rather decent game for the most part. If it wasn’t for two major turnovers leading to easy scores late in the game, SDSU might have been able to pull out an ugly win. Heck, if wasn’t for that Bawden fumble they might have managed to pull an ugly one out of the hat. But, that’s not how football works. You make mistakes, you pay for them. You continue to make mistakes, and you will continue to pay for them. The Aztecs let this one slip, and it’s up to head coach Rocky Long to figure out how to get the guys to rally together and build on this poor performance on the road.

Player of the Game

Player of the Game goes to Cole Gavin. In his first start, filling in for injured Dallas Davis, Gavin threw for 242-yards and three touchdowns. One was a 79-yard bomb to tight end Gerald Everett. Good game for the young sophomore.

Game Ball 

I feel like I couldn’t give player of the game to any Aztec since the loss was terribly embarrassing to watch. However, DJ Pumphrey still managed to impress, and drop the jaws of anyone watching. He managed to gain 156 yards on just 25 carries, averaging out to just over six yards per carry. He also found the end zone once on a seven yard touchdown run. With his 156 yards rushing, he became the active FBS leader in 100-yard rushing games with 25, which is also just one shy of DonTrell Moore of New Mexico for most in Mountain West history. He also passed Moore’s 4,973 yard mark, making him the all-time leading rusher in Mountain West history. He became just the 21st player in NCAA history to pass the 5,000-yard rushing mark, and moved from 29th to 20th on the all-time NCAA rushing list. Game ball goes to Pumphrey for continuing to prove he is one of the most dominant, Heisman-worthy players in the NCAA.

San Diego State will host UNLV next weekend.

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Derek Cluff
Derek is a 22-year-old out of Lemon Grove, California. A burning passion for San Diego sports led him to pursue an opportunity to write and share about what's going on with the teams in America's Finest City. A young and aspiring sports journalist looking to grow his knowledge and expand his experience at any opportunity.

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