Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
September 7, 2019 (Pasadena) - Ryan Agnew passed for a career-high 293 yards and a touchdown, Matt Araiza kicked three field goals and San Diego State defeated UCLA 23-14 on Saturday, marking the Aztecs' first win over the Bruins.
It is San Diego State's fifth victory over a Pac-12 team since 2016, but it was 0-21-1 against UCLA coming into the game.
Agnew completed 23 of 31 passes, while Kobe Smith had seven receptions for 131 yards and a score.
"We wanted to make history and be the first team to beat UCLA," Agnew said. "We came out prepared, we were excited, we were happy. We got to play in a monumental stadium in the Rose Bowl. Offense, defense and special teams brought it. It was a good team win."
The difference in the game was time of possession and turnovers. The Aztecs controlled the ball for 38:16 and scored 10 points off a pair of UCLA turnovers.
San Diego State (2-0) took a 10-7 lead during the final minute in the first quarter when Araiza hit a career-long 43-yard field goal. The Aztecs got the ball on their own 45 when Tariq Thompson recovered a Mike Martinez fumble.
The Aztecs then took a 10-point lead with 12:50 remaining in the third quarter when Agnew connected with Smith for a 36-yard touchdown. Smith caught the ball at the Bruins 6 and dragged defensive back Jay Shaw into the end zone.
The TD came two plays after Caden McDonald recovered Dorian Thompson-Robinson's fumble following a sack by Kyahva Tenzino.
Greg Dulcich brought the Bruins within 17-14 midway through the third quarter when he caught a 20-yard touchdown from Thompson-Robinson. That would be as close as they would get though as Ariaza added a pair of field goals.
"San Diego State beating UCLA, if it had been two or three times, I would say it wouldn't be unusual. But since it was the 23rd meeting and finally winning one that kind of makes it a special day," San Diego State coach Rocky Long said.
Thompson-Robinson completed 24 of 35 passes for 191 yards and a TD. Joshua Kelley, who missed last week's opener at Cincinnati due to a knee injury, had 57 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.
Things looked good for UCLA (0-2) early. It scored on its first series when Kelley ran around left end from 5 yards out. San Diego State responded on its next possession as Chase Jasmin’s 2-yard TD capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive that lasted 7:13.
"I thought there were opportunities to make plays and we didn't," UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. "The fact we haven't lost to them before means absolutely nothing. We weren't before. We lost to them now and it hurts."
The Aztecs now have more wins in the Pac-12 the past four seasons than Oregon State.
San Diego State travels to New Mexico State next Saturday. The Aztecs have won seven straight in the series.