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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Browning's Late Kick Lifts Aztecs Past Hawai'i

By GoAztecs

SAN DIEGO – Jack Browning booted a 26-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to lift San Diego State to a 16-14 victory over Hawai'i in a Mountain West game on Saturday at Snapdragon Stadium.

Making his first career start at quarterback, Jalen Mayden completed 24 of 36 passes for 322 yards and one touchdowns, helping the Aztecs (3-3, 1-1 MW) defeat the Rainbow Warriors for the ninth time in the last 11 meetings between the schools.

Browning's kick atoned for an earlier miss from 31 yards away at the 4:57 mark of the fourth quarter, which led to a Hawai'i touchdown drive.

The Rainbow Warriors (1-5, 0-1 MW) took their only lead of the game at 14-13 after Dedrick Parson's 22-yard burst up the middle, capping a 7-play, 80-yard march with just 1:19 left to play.

However, SDSU received a gift after the ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, which gave the Scarlet and Black prime field position at its own 35. From there, Mayden went to work, completing six straight passes, including a 16-yarder to Brionne Penny down to the Hawai'i 9, which set up Browning's game winner.

Tyrell Shavers led all players with a career-high 149 receiving yards on eight receptions, while Jesse Matthews had six catches for 68 yards in the win.

The teams slugged it out through a near scoreless first half, exchanging punts on the first nine possessions of the game. With an average starting field position of their own 11-yard line for the first four drives, the Aztecs finally showed some life at the end of the second quarter.

Jordan Byrd returned a punt 10 yards to the SDSU 36 before Mayden completed three straight passes with under a minute left to move the Aztecs within scoring range. After an 11-yard completion to Matthews at the Rainbow Warrior 28, Mayden's next three throws were off-target. However, SDSU salvaged the drive when Browning split the uprights from 45 yards out with 45 seconds to go, giving the host school a 3-0 lead heading into the locker room.

In a bit of foreshadowing, Hawai'i's second-half kickoff also skipped out of bounds short of the goal line, setting the Aztecs up once again at their own 35. After two Byrd rushes gained 12 yards, Shavers made a diving catch in Warrior territory at the 35. Three plays later, Mayden connected with Byrd on a 15-yard flair out of the backfield for his first collegiate touchdown pass that extended the SDSU advantage to 10-0.

However, Hawai'i answered on the ensuing possession when Zion Bowens got behind the Aztec secondary and hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass from Brayden Schager, which narrowed the gap to 10-7 with 8:27 remaining in the third quarter.

SDSU increased the margin to 13-7 at the 11:16 mark of the fourth quarter after Browning kicked a 30-yard field goal to punctuate an 11-play, 67-yard march. Mayden kept the drive alive with a nine-yard scramble on third down before hitting Shavers with a 41-yard completion to the Warrior 15 five plays later. However, the Aztecs gained just two yards on a short run, while two subsequent passes fell incomplete.

After holding Hawai'i to a three-and-out, SDSU was headed goalward for a clinching score, but Browning's field goal attempt from 31 yards went awry, giving the visitors new life. The Aztecs overcame a 2nd-and-15 situation when Mayden connected with Shavers once again for a 42-yard gain into the red zone. However, the next three plays netted just one yard, forcing the Scarlet and Black into another field goal try.

Buoyed by their good fortune, the Warriors moved 80 yards in 3:38 for the go-ahead score. Tylan Hines got things rolling with a 27-yard run, while Schager hit Koali Nishigaya and Jalen Walthall for gains of 11 and 12 yards, respectively, before Parson's scoring jaunt.

Schager completed 20-of-34 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown, while Bowens finished with nine catches for 108 yards. In addition, Parson rushed for a game-high 70 yards in the loss.

Defensively, the Aztecs were led by Cedarious Barfield, who collected six tackles, including four solo stops, while the quartet of Davaughn Celestine, Dezjhon Malone, Caden McDonald and Patrick McMorris made five tackles apiece.

Despite getting outgained on the ground 146-95, SDSU still dominated the time of possession 36:10 to 23:50.

San Diego State will enjoy a bye week before returning to action on Saturday, Oct. 22 with a road game at Nevada, starting at 7:30 p.m. PT. The Aztecs-Wolf Pack showdown will air live on CBS Sports Network.