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Thursday, December 1, 2022

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SDSU Football
 


Aztecs Roll Past Spartans, 43-27

The win automatically makes SDSU bowl eligible for the 13th year in a row.
By GoAztecs
 

San Diego State spotted visiting San José State two early touchdowns before storming back with 38 unanswered points en route to a 43-27 victory on Saturday at Snapdragon Stadium.

With the victory, the Aztecs (6-4, 5-2 MW) become bowl eligible for the 13th consecutive season.

Jalen Mayden completed 17 of 23 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 61 yards on 13 carries to help SDSU pull into a tie for second place with the Spartans (6-3, 4-2 MW) in the West Division of the Mountain West.

The defense also turned in a stellar effort to fuel the Aztecs' turnaround, finishing with five sacks, eight tackles for loss, one interception and four pass break-ups while recording a safety to close out the game.

Trailing 14-0 after a three-yard scoring run by SJSU quarterback Chevan Cordeiro at the 4:58 mark of the first quarter, the complexion of the game turned on a dime when Jordan Byrd returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

The SDSU defense immediately asserted itself, limiting the Spartans to just 18 total yards and one first down on their next five possessions.

In the interim, the Aztecs tacked on 17 points in the second quarter to take a 24-14 lead into the locker room.

Following Jack Browning's 22-yard field goal, which narrowed the gap to 14-10, SDSU needed just two plays to vault in front for good, as Mayden connected with Tyrell Shavers on 66-yard scoring strike.

Shavers, who finished with four catches for a game-high 111 yards, beat single coverage on the play, catching the pass in full stride and raced down the right sideline to pay dirt.

After another Spartan punt, Mayden directed an 8-play, 67-yard march, culminating in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Mekhi Shaw. Earlier, Mayden overcame a potential drive-killing sack by hitting a sliding Shaw, who was not his intended target, for 18 yards on a 3rd-and-16 play to the SJSU 27.

The Aztecs kept the momentum with touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half to increase their advantage to 38-14.

Mayden found Jesse Matthews wide open on a post pattern from 20 yards out to punctuate a 9-play 74-yard march. The SDSU signal-caller keyed the advance with two 11-yard runs while connecting with Shaw on a 12-yard screen pass.

Shortly thereafter, Jaylon Armstead scored his first career touchdown on a two-yard burst to cap a 9-play, 61-yard march. Mayden got things rolling with a 14-yard completion to Shavers, while Kenan Christon ripped off an 18-yard run. Mayden subsequently overcame adversity, recovering his own fumble before hitting a diving Matthews near the right sideline on a 3rd-and-13 situation, which set up Armstead's scoring run.

The Spartans finally put a stop to the Aztec deluge with 44 seconds left in the third quarter on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Cordeiro to Skylar Loving-Black.

SDSU added another field goal in the fourth quarter when Browning split the uprights from 31 yards following Dallas Branch's interception at the SJSU 44.

Cordeiro later connected with Isaiah Hamilton from 21 yards out for his third touchdown pass of the game, which proved too little, too late.

Electing to punt with under a minute left in the game, Browning pinned SJSU at its own 6-yard line. Moments later, Jonah Tavai crashed through the line and sacked Cordeiro in the end zone for SDSU's first safety since the 2013 campaign.

Tavai finished with 3.0 sacks for the night, matching his career-high set in the 2021 regular-season finale vs. Boise State, while Cooper McDonald and Keshawn Banks had the other two.

McDonald led the Aztecs with seven tackles on the night, including two solo stops and two tackles for loss.

Collectively, SDSU outgained the Spartans 425-223, limiting the visitors to just 28 yards rushing. In addition, the Scarlet and Black almost doubled the time of possession, 39:30 to 20:30.

Cordeiro finished with 19 completions in 33 attempts, including a 4-yard scoring strike to Elijah Cooks, which opened the scoring with 11:23 remaining in the first quarter. Cordeiro's rushing touchdown came eight plays after Marcus Dansby's interception at the SDSU 31, the lone blemish of Mayden's otherwise brilliant performance.

Conversely, Shaw led all receivers by tying his career high with five receptions for 64 yards, while Matthews totaled four catches for 57 yards in the victory.

San Diego State hits the road next week when it travels to the Land of Enchantment for a clash with New Mexico on Friday, Nov. 18, starting at 7:45 p.m. MT/6:45 p.m. PT. The Aztecs-Lobos game will air on FS1.