Aztecs Defense too strong for Rams

The Rams came in as prohibitive favorites, but it was the Aztecs that controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball from start to finish.

Larry Ned rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and a stifling San Diego State defense almost completely shut down the CSU Rams Saturday evening, as the defending conference champions dropped their MWC opener to the Aztecs 14-7 in front of almost 30,000 Homecoming fans at Hughes Stadium.

The Rams came in as prohibitive favorites, but it was the Aztecs that controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball from start to finish. CSU did not score until late in the game, when back-up quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt scrambled, and found Pete Rebstock on a 48 yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. The Rams had one more chance, but a Dallas Davis punt return - which looked like it would set CSU up inside the Aztecs 25 yard line - was called back after an illegal block. On the ensuing drive, the Rams moved the ball some behind Van Pelt, but could not convert a fourth down play in Aztec territory, and turned it over on downs.

Rams starting QB D.J. Busch struggled the entire game, completing just 4 of 16 passes for 19 yards. A strong SDSU pass rush harassed him on every attempt. The Rams had very little success on the ground, either, rushing 29 times for just 93 yards in the game - much of that during a last ditch drive in the closing moments. It was actually a trick play - a 23 yard pass completion from tailback Duan Ruff to tight end Joel Dreessen - that set up the Rams only score. On the next play, Van Pelt bought some time against the rush and hit Rebstock to pull the Rams to within seven. They would get no closer.

That was largely because Ned was able to become the first Aztec rusher in 14 games to reach the 100 yard mark on the ground - and he did that by halftime. The Aztecs margin of victory could have been larger, had Ned not fumbled (CSU recovered) while trying to lunge over the goal line in the second period.

The Rams lost for the first time at home in eight games - since a 1999 loss to San Diego State. CSU travels north for the "Border War" with Wyoming (43-42 winners over Utah State) next week.


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