Aztecs survive Utah’s surge 33-31 in 3OT

Credit: Garrison/EVT

Credit: Garrison/EVT

The San Diego State Aztecs rode a dominant defensive performance to a 33-31 win over the Utah Utes in triple overtime.

Each team scored a touchdown in the first overtime and then missed field goals in the second overtime period.

With the new college football overtime rules, once the game reaches the third overtime, it is just a sudden death of two-point conversions until one team is successful and the other fails.

The Aztecs called up a trick play where receiver Jesse Matthews completed a pass to quarterback Lucas Johnson to convert their attempt. Utah threw a pass to the corner that was originally ruled a reception to extend the game, but after a replay review, changed to an incomplete pass that ended the game in an Aztec victory.

San Diego State stifled Utah’s offense all game. Before Utah’s final two drives of regulation, their only touchdown came on an 80-yard punt return by Britain Covey. The Aztecs held Utah to just 4.4 yards per pass and 2.3 yards per rush. The defense dominated Utah and didn’t deserve to end up in triple overtime.

The offense did not produce much against an equally stout Utes defense. Johnson started at quarterback for the first time this season after Jordan Brookshire left last week’s game with an injury. He only threw 19 passes through the game, completing just 10 for 44 yards.

They leaned on the running attack of Greg Bell and Johnson to propel over 200 yards of rushing. Bell reached the end zone twice and ran for 119 yards.

However, the 24 points at the end of regulation is more of a reflection on the defense and special teams.

Jordan Byrd tied the game at 10 with a 100-yard kick-off return for a touchdown in the second quarter.

San Diego State opened up the second half with a quick touchdown drive that included a 54-yard run from Johnson to set up the first Bell touchdown. Then Tayler Hawkins intercepted a Charlie Brewer pass and returned it 34 yards to set up another Bell touchdown on a one-play drive.

After Bell scored his second touchdown to go up 24-10, the Aztecs shut down offensively. Their longest drive after leading by two scores went 30 yards on seven plays that resulted in a missed field goal. In the fourth quarter, the Aztecs ran ten plays, all runs, and gained 26 yards.

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In overtime, they did what was necessary to get the program’s seventh win against PAC-12 opponents in their last nine games.

San Diego State will host the Towson Tigers next Saturday to conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule.

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