The defense stepped up big time and the secondary had their best game yet as the Aztecs, playing their backup quarterback and backup running back, beat Boise State 19-13 on the road despite the Broncos being double-digit favorites to win the game
With injuries to many key players and struggles in the backfield, many younger players were forced to step up — and did they. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, who hadn’t thrown an interception all season, was picked off by redshirt freshman Darren Hall and sophomore Tariq Thompson. After the Hall interception, the Aztecs were able to get a field goal from John Baron II to get points on the board.
Boise State would take advantage of a muffed punt return by Ethan Dedeaux to score the first touchdown of the game on an Alexander Mattison 4-yard run.
After a second field goal by Baron and, with Rypien struggling against the San Diego State defense, the Broncos went to their backup quarterback, Chase Cord, to stir up the offense. However, he was greeted by a swarm of red and black jerseys, and his pass fluttered into the hands of linebacker Ronley Lakalaka, who was also rushing past a beaten Broncos offensive line with seemingly the rest of the Aztecs’ defense.
A pass interference call on Boise State’s Tyler Horton set the Aztecs up in striking distance from the end zone, and Chase Jasmin, who had been struggling to find space to run in the game, pushed through the masses for a 2-yard touchdown, thrusting the Aztecs into the lead.
One player wreaking havoc for the Aztec defense was Kyahva Tezino, a junior linebacker who has been a bright spot on the Aztec defense this year. He was involved in seemingly every play, blasting Rypien on pass plays and forcing incomplete plays due to his hits on Rypien. He picked up a big sack on Rypien that forced a punt in the third quarter, and was a nightmare matchup for the Broncos’ offensive line.
After Tezino and company ravaged the Broncos offense, San Diego State got back on the field and finally got the big play they were looking for. Freshman Jordan Byrd, making only his fourth carry in his college career, got some key blocks and turned on the jets to speed past the Broncos defense for a 72-yard touchdown.
Boise State wasn’t going to go down without a fight, as they stormed the field in the fourth quarter down two touchdowns and with time ticking down on the clock. Rypien passed for 62 yards and rushed for ten on the drive, leading his team to the edge of the Aztecs’ end zone, and Mattison lunged in for the score.
A missed extra point attempt immediately sucked the wind out of the Broncos’ offense. Ryan Agnew, who had another strong game and is making his case for keeping the starting job over the injured Christian Chapman, successfully chewed time off the clock and forced Boise State to burn their final two timeouts.
San Diego State was able to hold off Boise State’s offensive attack for one last drive as Rypien’s final heave was overthrown by a handful of yards and, with it, the Aztecs emerged victoriously over their fierce rivals.