San Diego State escaped with a 16-13 win over San José State on Saturday night in a football game which — by all objective evidence — occurred.
The Spartans came in 0-6, losers in so many senses of the word. The writers of this web site goofed hard on winless Old Sparty and breezily predicted an easy win at the old Tombstone. For Homecoming. On “Red Out” night. In this week’s Game Preview, AztecsKillingHim wrote:
Last year’s red-themed games resulted in a blowout football loss to Boise State and an embarrassing last-second hoops collapse against a putrid Cal squad. Losing to San José State would prove once and for all that red is a cursed color and should probably be removed as a school color entirely.
Red Out is a hex, a self-own, a salt shaker with a loose lid. This wasn’t a loss — barely — but can we all now agree: Red Out promotions are BAD. From now on I’m holding anyone who specifically wears red to a Red Out game personally responsible for the ensuing chaos, heartbreak and misery.
Possibly the most indelible memory from this instantly-forgettable sporting event came late in the first half, when the Concrete Tombstone’s decay began visibly manifesting.
Some people (dumb) probably saw a misfiring game clock and thought Well hey, the infrastructure of that joint looks just like it did in 1971 so of course the circuitry would eventually go haywire. Me (smart), I saw this “malfunction” of scrambled codes and glyphs flashed on a scoreboard for what it really meant: Aliens. It was aliens.
Watch this extremely earthbound highlights/lowlights reel, if you dare.
Lord John, House Of Baron, Second of His Name, what in the hell will we ever do without thee.
In keeping with their usual practice SDSU was flagged eight times for 67 yards, many of them drive-choking false starts and misalignments. Yet still, the key moments in the Aztecs’ favor involved the refs: a timely San José penalty and a blown non-call on SDSU.
Kaegun Williams got the surprise start at RB1 ahead of concussion-cleared Chase Jasmin. He promptly ripped off a 16 yard gain on the first play of the game, then SDSU stalled after a sack and a penalty. San José State marched their first possession downfield and settled for a field goal. After the ensuing kickoff, Williams immediately fumbled the ball back to SJSU at the 25. Kyahva Tezino and the Aztec defense stiffened for a goal-line stand and forced a second Spartan field goal. It was 6-0 in favor of the winless team that was refusing to play the part.
Jasmin came in and SDSU found a rhythm, with Ryan Agnew maneuvering the offense downfield to the Spartan 4 yard line. Two Jasmin rushes went nowhere, then on 3rd and goal Agnew overthrew Tim Wilson Jr. in the end zone. An official’s yellow flag fluttered into the backfield.
Good call or not the penalty was a huge swing, taking SDSU from a field goal attempt to an easy touchdown from the 1. It was their only touchdown in a game won by three points.
The second and critical turning point came on the Spartans’ second-to-last possession but ultimately their last real chance. Down by three with 4:36 left, SJSU quarterback Josh Love worked his offense into San Diego State territory. On first down Love lofted a ball for Leki Nunn, who had gotten open down the sideline. The SDSU defender — whose number I didn’t get, and whom Aaron Taylor circled but did not identify — reached out and blatantly grabbed the receiver’s arm to keep him from streaking past. It was textbook pass interference, the official standing at the 44 was looking right at the play and…no flag! Sorry, Sparty. Winless teams don’t get those kinds of breaks, i.e. the ones clearly called for in the rules of the game.
Two plays later, emerging star linebacker Tezino dropped the Spartan runner for no gain on 3rd and 1. SJSU went for it on 4th and 1 at the 35, whereupon Anthony Luke and Chibu Onyeukwu stuffed the run for a loss and turnover on downs; and but for a desperate last possession with :38 left that was the ballgame. Great defense and a crucial stand aided heavily by the no-call.
Stats for that ass
- San José had nine (9) TFLs (tackles for loss) for -22. That’s not good.
- The Spartans had 71 total plays to 58 for SDSU.
- Agnew was 7 of 11 for 86 yards and no picks, plus 5 carries for 29 yards (sack-adjusted). Rocky made clear again after the game that Christian Chapman is the starter if he’s healthy, but hasn’t given any impression he thinks Chapman’s knee is ready.
- Chance Bell led SDSU with 81 yards on 15 carries, and was the third of four Aztec running backs to touch the ball. Jasmin had 79 yards on 19 carries plus the TD.
- That man Kyahva Tezino led the Aztecs again with 12 tackles (8 solo) because of course he did.
- After missing his one FG attempt last week against Air Force, Baron II drilled all three kicks from 36, 22 and 51 (the game-winner).
Best Some of Aztecs Twitter
This pregame hype video featuring SJSU’s arrival to the Tombstone seemed quaint and amusing in its earnestness until the game started, then they started pushing the Aztecs around and suddenly this wasn’t quaint or amusing at all.
Rashaad still just the best dude around.
Red Out is cancelled. Banish it to the memory hole.
Whatever it takes to get that bowl eligibility.
Rating Rocky Long’s likely enjoyment of the game, on a scale of subtitled French coming-of-age film to 1977 Trans Am with radar detector.
Tonight’s game rated a limp handshake from a stranger on the Rocky scale.
That’s a good San José team despite their record. Rock doesn’t know how his team won this one and is pretty embarrassed about the weak effort.
Announced crowd of 30,451 was a mild exaggeration according to our blog founder on the scene, who estimated paid souls in the building to be in the 25,000 range. No word from AKH on what was surely a raucous homecoming atmosphere full of pride for old alma mater.
Way, way too much red.
What’s Next for the Football Tecs
San Diego State heads up to Reno to face Nevada this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Wolve Pack just tore up Hawai’i 40-22 at Aloha Stadium. Start worrying about this game immediately.