Offense comes alive as San Diego State gets first win

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
By: MIKE SULLIVAN - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- That famous battle cry used by San Diego State coach Tom Craft when San Diego State lines up against the UCLAs and Ohio States of the college football world shifted hands on Saturday night.

It was San Jose State's turn to use the "we were outmanned" refrain as the Aztecs turned the Spartans into their personal punching bag, pummeling San Jose State 52-21 before 55,868 at Qualcomm Stadium.

The large throng, the third biggest in Aztecs' history, primarily came to see the postgame KGB Sky Show but got to see the Aztecs unveil an aerial show of their own. The scoring output was San Diego State's highest since a 56-8 victory over Hawaii in 1996.

Sophomore quarterback Kevin O'Connell set career highs with 271 yards and four passing touchdowns and senior receiver Jeff Webb caught eight passes for 133 yards as the Aztecs (1-3) finally notched their first victory of the season.

"It feels great," Webb said. "We were like sharks smelling blood."

O'Connell was cutting up the Spartans the entire contest until leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.

"I thought as an offense we did some things with the vertical passing game," said O'Connell, who completed 23-of-29 passes. "The wide receivers played real well. It was a good night for us."

It was certainly a change from just one week earlier when the Aztecs were powerless on offense against Ohio State. Against the Buckeyes, San Diego State ran just 41 plays, accumulated just three first downs and had 80 of its 179 offensive yards come on one play.

The final numbers against San Jose State (1-2) were much better. The Aztecs ran 90 plays, had 28 first downs and totaled 513 yards of offense.

San Diego State rolled off 24 unanswered points after a rollicking first quarter that ended tied at 14. From that point on, the defense repeatedly stymied the Spartans ---- 111 of San Jose State's 233 yards came in the first quarter ---- and the offense clicked better than at any time this season.

O'Connell, a La Costa Canyon High graduate, avoided mistakes and repeatedly located Webb and Robert Ortiz open downfield. The two receivers combined for four catches of 20 or more yards, equaling the output of the entire team over the first three games.

Webb had three such catches, including a 33-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. Ortiz had a 25-yard TD reception on the Aztecs' first drive of the game.

"It was just us throwing it downfield; I don't think it was their defense," said Ortiz, who had six receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. "We took the opportunity tonight. We saw on film that teams had thrown deep on them."

The Aztecs led 28-14 at halftime. Lynell Hamilton's 4-yard touchdown run with 8:33 left in the second quarter put the Aztecs ahead, and O'Connell's third first-half TD pass, an 18-yarder to Ortiz, made it a two-touchdown margin seven minutes later.

Sophomore tight end Lance Louis caught his first career touchdown pass, a 2-yarder, in the third quarter, and sophomore kicker Garrett Palmer kicked a 33-yard field goal to make it 38-14 with 8:24 left in the game.

The Aztecs added two late touchdowns: backup quarterback Darren Mougey teamed with DeMarco Sampson on a 23-yard scoring play and backup safety Brett Sturm returned an interception 44 yards for a score.

Craft's take was quick and to the point: "We need to keep working and keep improving."

Neither team could stop the other in a first quarter that resulted in four touchdowns, two by each team.

The Aztecs opened the game by going 78 yards on six plays. O'Connell hit Webb for 34 yards and later hit Ortiz for a 25-yard touchdown.

The Spartans answered by driving 72 yards on seven plays in just 92 seconds. Patrick Perry scored the touchdown on a 7-yard run.

It took the Aztecs less than three minutes to regain the lead. An eight-play, 80-yard drive was culminated on O'Connell's 33-yard scoring pass to Webb.

San Jose State was forced to punt on its next drive but good fortune came from Waylon Prather's wobbly punt. Aztecs returner Michael Franklin was smart enough to stay away from ball but Sampson, had the ball carom off his left foot and it was recovered by the Spartans' David Bowen at the Aztecs' 34.

Ten plays later, Perry scored on a 2-yard run to tie the game at 14 with 3:51 left in the opening quarter.

The Aztecs defense dominated from that point on. San Jose State's next first down came with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.