Spartans top Aztecs in 4th quarter shootout

The San Jose State Spartans marched into Qualcomm Stadium and wrestled a 38-34 victory from the San Diego State Aztecs. Recap from the game...

The San Jose State Spartans marched into Qualcomm Stadium and wrestled a 38-34 victory from the San Diego State Aztecs.

The Spartans were down late in the fourth quarter, but David Fales found Chandler Jones for a 14-yard touchdown. Jones' touchdown gave the Spartans a 38-34 lead with just 50 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Ryan Katz was unable to engineer a miracle comeback drive, and the Aztecs lost a game in which they absolutely dominated.

The Spartans and Aztecs traded scores throughout the fourth quarter, but the Jones touchdown was the last of the back-and-forth between the teams.

The Spartans struck first in the fourth quarter when Noel Grigsby hauled in a 21-yard touchdown from Fales to tie the game up at 24.

Chance Marden broke the tie six minutes later with a career-long 41-yard field goal.

After Marden's field goal, the Spartans wasted no time marching down the field. Two minutes after Marden's field goal, Ryan Otten was on the receiving end of a 15-yard touchdown throw from Fales. Otten's touchdown put the Spartans up 31-27.

Just one minute after San Jose State took the lead, Katz found a wide open Colin Lockett for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Aztecs up 34-31 with 2:24 remaining.

On the heels of Lockett's touchdown, the Fales led the touchdown drive that resulted in the game-winning touchdown.

"We didn't execute [on] defense like were supposed to, and we were caught slipping," said cornerback Leon McFadden.

The Aztecs' defense was extremely disappointing in the fourth quarter, but they played well in the first three quarters.

Despite the Aztecs significantly outgaining the Spartans on offense, the Spartans were able to head into the locker room tied at 17 due to the Aztecs turning the ball over and allowing long kickoff returns.

In the second quarter, the Aztecs' kickoff coverage allowed a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to Tyler Ervin. Ervin's touchdown came on the heels of Adam Muema's exciting 83-yard touchdown, which completely helped turn the momentum around in favor of the Spartans.

Later in the second quarter, the Aztecs allowed the Spartans' other return man--Damon Ogburn Jr.--to return a kick for 67 yards. Ogburn didn't reach the end zone, but David Fales tossed a 1-yard touchdown to Ina Liaina shortly after.

"I think up until the last two drives it [the defensive effort] was pretty good, because they scored on a kickoff return, and they scored after a kick return to about our 18-yard line," said Rocky Long.

Part of the poor kickoff coverage can be attributed to the fact that strong-legged Seamus McMorrow did not play. McMorrow can boom kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, but he was unable to suit up.

"He [McMorrow] was suspended for the week because of violation of team rules." said Long.

McMorrow's suspension could potentially last longer than a week if he's not careful.

"He has things that he has to take care of before he's let back on the team," Long said.

Although the game had a disappointing result, there's no doubt that there's some good that came out of the game for the Aztecs.

Muema carried the ball 25 times for 202 yards and one touchdown. He became the 18th Aztec to rush for at least 200 yards in one game.

Muema picked up many of his yards on the previously mentioned 83-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Muema broke through the hole, maintained his balance despite getting tripped up and utilized his blockers downfield to reach the end zone.

Walter Kazee had a great game as well. Kazee finished the game with 96 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries.

In total, the Aztecs bulldozed their way to 325 rushing yards.

Also, the Aztecs made their first two field goals of the season. Marden knocked in a chip shot from 25 yards and another one from 41 yards out.

The Aztecs will attempt to bounce back next week against Fresno State. Next week's game will take place at 7:00 pm, and it will be broadcast in San Diego County on KUSI.

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