San Diego State came into this game seeking their first ranked win since November of 1977. They would fall just one point short of that goal, meanwhile snapping their 17- game conference winning streak.
The afternoon thriller carried the fan’s attention from opening kickoff all the way into the fourth quarter, where two touchdowns were scored within the final minute and thirty seconds.
Rashaad Penny received and dashed his way 93 yards across the field and into the end zone to put the Aztecs up 7-0 within the first 13 seconds of the game. Wyoming would get their first points up on the board a few minutes later with a with a 32-yard field goal knocked down by Cooper Rothe.
John Baron would get to answer back by knocking down a 27-yard field goal about midway through the second quarter. With just under three minutes left in the half, the Cowboys clawed their way 80 yards across the field and tied the game up with an 11-yard touchdown run by running back Brian Hill. The Aztecs, however, would strike back quickly, driving 65 yards in just over a minute that ended with a 3-yard connection from Christian Chapman to Parker Houston. The Aztecs took at 17-10 lead into the half.
Brian Hill would find his way into the end zone once again, this time by pounding in a one-yard touchdown to knot the game up once again. On the ensuing kickoff, Juwon Howard would make things interesting with a 92-yard touchdown return to push the Aztecs back over the top. After forcing a punt, D.J. Pumphrey lost a fumble that would lead to a 34-yard Cowboy field goal that would bring Wyoming within four points.
Baron would once again reply, this time with a field goal from 31 yards out. This is where things started to get interesting. The Cowboy quarterback would find receiver Jake Maulhardt for a 30-yard touchdown connection to tie the game up once again. The Cowboys and Josh Allen would then give themselves their first and only lead of the game when Allen connected with C.J. Johnson for a 29-yard touchdown. The Aztecs got the ball back at the one yard line with only 1:07 left to go after a fumbled kickoff return from Penny. San Diego State drove the ball 99 yards with authority and scored on a 23-yard hail mary from Chapman to Quest Truxton on 3rd and 10 with the last second of game play ticking off the clock. The Aztec were now down 33-34 with no time left except for the PAT. However, instead of choosing to go with streaking kicker John Baron to knot the game up, or pounding the ball up the middle with Heismann candidate D.J. Pumphrey (who had 50 of the 99 yards during the drive), head coach Rocky Long chose to pass. It was batted down in the end zone to end the game.
D.J. Pumphrey moved to number three on the All-Time Leading Rushers list with 6,127 yards. He is now just 271 yards away from becoming the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history.
For the first time in SDSU AND Mountain-West history, two kickoffs were returned for a touchdown in a single game by the same team.
Rashaad Penny gets his fifth career kickoff return for a touchdown, Juwan Howard gets his first.
The Aztecs’ nation-leading 17-game conference winning streak was ended.
Player of the Game
Despite the loss, I feel like Christian Chapman earned the game ball on this one. He put up 211 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 passes (26 attempted). His leadership and decision making helped lead the Aztecs 99 yards down the field with just under a minute to play. Not only did he have to lead the drive from the one yard line, but he also came back from a five yard sack by throwing for a 16-yard first down the very next play. He did everything he possibly could to keep the drive alive, and he was eventually successful, after battling for a touchdown that was initially ruled incomplete. This young player, along with Rashaad Penny, gives Aztec fans hope that after #19 departs, SDSU will still remain great.