The Star-News


Ex-SWC kicker Perez boots game-winning field goal against Army

Fri, Sep 16 2011 04:35 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents

Fireworks will explode over Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17. The unbeaten SDSU Aztecs football team is hoping to provide some fireworks of its own inside the stadium when they meet the undefeated Washington State Cougars.

Kick-off is 3:30 p.m. The game will be followed by a twilight fireworks extravaganza courtesy of the annual KGB SkyShow.

The Aztecs enter the game 2-0 following last Saturday’s 23-20 non-conference victory at Army. The trip to New York marked SDSU’s first football game in the Empire State. The Aztecs made the most of it as quarterback Ryan Lindley threw one touchdown pass, running back Ronnie Hillman scored two rushing touchdowns and kicker Abel Perez booted a 42-yard field goal midway through the final quarter to snap a 20-all tie.

Lindley (El Capitan) finished the game with 146 passing yards in admittedly not one of his best career performances. He did send shockwaves though the West Point stadium — and a national television audience — when he tossed a 68-yard scoring strike to receiver Colin Lockett on just the second play of the game.

The Aztecs led 7-0 with just 33 seconds elapsed in the contest.

Hillman carried the ball 17 times for 117 yards. He scored on runs of 16 and 20 yards as SDSU and Army fought to stalemates at 14-14 and 20-20.

Perez (Castle Park) had earlier missed an extra-point conversion, leaving the teams tied after Army quarterback Trent Steelman scored on a 17-yard run with 12:37 left in the fourth quarter.

Perez missed a field goal in the Aztecs’ 49-21 season opening win over Cal Poly San Luis Obispo despite tacking on seven PAT conversions. His kick with 9:29 to play in the final quarter proved to be the winner this week.

For the season, Lindley has passed for 349 yards and five touchdowns. He owns the SDSU career record with 72 touchdown passes.

Hillman has rushed for 306 yards and four touchdowns while Perez has converted nine of 10 PAT attempts.

SDSU benefited from eight fumbles by Army, recovering three of them, as the Black Knights rolled up 403 rushing yards via their triple-option offense.

Washington State is coming off a 59-7 victory over visiting UNLV. The Cougars defeated Idaho State, 64-21, in their season opener. WSU leads the nation in highest scoring offense (61.5 poins per game).

Extra points
Two Aztecs —senior defensive lineman Jerome Long and senior punter Brian Stahovich — earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors for their performances in the game against the Black Knights. 

Long recorded the first double-digit tackle game of his career, finishing with 10 stops, including a career-best seven solo effort. He also added a sack, which came on a critical third-down play that put the Black Knights out of field-goal range on their final drive of the contest. Army then failed to convert on fourth down to seal the win for the Aztecs. Long currently ranks first in the Mountain West among defensive lineman with 7.5 tackles per outing.

Stahovich also was instrumental in SDSU’s win against Army, as he dropped four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line and recorded a pair of kicks exceeding 50 yards.

He had a season-long punt of 59 yards in the first half, which is the second longest in the Mountain West this year. Of his four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them were inside the 12-yard line and three were not returned, helping the Aztecs limit the Black Knights to an average field position at their own 21-yard line.

For information on tickets to this Saturday’s game, call the Aztec ticket office at 283-7378, or visit the Aztec ticket office at Qualcomm Stadium window E. The ticket office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


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