On homecoming night, and with former Aztecs like Marshall Faulk and Rashaad Penny in the house, it took a John Barron II field goal with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter to win the game for the Red and Black.
It was another close win for the Aztecs, who have had their fair share of close shaves in these past few weeks. The win, however, does come with some milestones as SDSU is now bowl-eligible for the ninth straight season while head coach Rocky Long now has a .700 winning record.
The game didn’t start well for the Aztecs as San Jose State got on the board first after the Aztecs went three-and-out on the opening drive. Bryce Crawford booted a 42-yard field goal to beat SJSU on the board and made a second field goal from 24 yards after SDSU running back Kaegun Williams fumbled the ball away.
Chase Jazmin was not on the field for the first two drives of the game due to a hit he received against Air Force that put him under concussion protocol. He was back on the field after the Williams fumble and his presence made the difference thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run that put the Aztecs in the lead.
With time left on the clock in the second quarter, the Aztecs drove the ball 74 yards down the field and kept possession for six minutes and 29 seconds. Jordan Byrd, Chance Bell, and Jasmin rotated in and out as the running back while Ryan Agnew made precise passes to keep the drive alive. After stalling out, Baron came in and booted a 36-yard field goal to give the Aztecs a 10-6 lead.
After halftime, SDSU got the first score of the second half with Baron kicking a 22-yard field goal after a 10-play, 85-yard drive. SJSU raised them a touchdown with a Malike Roberson 1-yard score and just like that, the Spartans had tied the game at 13-13.
It looked like San Jose State would score again, but a long pass from quarterback Josh Love fell into the hands of Tariq Thompson, giving San Diego State the ball. An eleven-yard pass from Agnew to Jasmin put the Aztecs in Baron’s range and, from 51 yards out, Baron’s kick barely tumbled over the post.
The Spartans’ last stand proved to be ineffective as the Aztecs’ defense stood proudly and stuffed Roberson on fourth-and-one to force a turnover on downs. Even after the Aztecs punted the ball away to give the Spartans the ball with less than a minute, the offense sputtered and failed to make any forward progress, leading supporters of the Red and Black to breathe a deep sigh of relief as the Aztecs escaped with a victory.
With the win, the Aztecs are four wins away from another double-digit win season and have five games to do it. While it was not the blowout that people were expecting, a crude win is still better than a loss.