Fri, Sep 23 2011 01:10 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The SDSU football team is off to a 3-0 start for the first time in 30 years after the Aztecs defeated Pac-12 member Washington State, 42-24, Sept. 17 at Qualcomm Stadium. A record regular season crowd of 57, 286 took in the non-conference victory.
The Aztecs tacked on the final 28 points of the game after trailing 24-14 early in the third quarter.
Alpine’s Ryan Lindley threw two touchdown passes in the victory, both to tight end Gavin Escobar, and finished the game with 273 passing yards. The senior quarterback called the win “probably the greatest” since he’s been with the SDSU program. He labeled it alongside last December’s Poinsettia Bowl victory over Navy as among the most memorable in his Aztec career.
Ronnie Hillman rushed for four touchdowns to lead the SDSU running game while racking up 191 yards on a career-high 32 carries.
Former Grossmont College and St. Augustine standout Larry Parker keyed the Aztec defense with two interceptions to earn recognition as the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week.
Hillman earned honors as the MW Offensive Player of the Week.
Lindley’s touchdown passes to Escobar went for 25 and 21 yards. Lindley’s first TD pass made the score 24-21 in WSU’s favor with 9:32 left in the third quarter while his second scoring toss closed out scoring with 2:49 left in the game to clinch the Aztec win.
Lindley became only the second player in SDSU history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in a career. The El Capitan High School alum still trails Aztec passing leader Todd Santos (11,425 yards).
The victory was the first by SDSU over a Pac-10/Pac-12 school in 19 years and ended a cumulative 23-game losing streak to BCS teams.
“The way we came back, that’s tough,” Lindley said. “It takes a team with will and a team with heart to come back and play the way they did, especially when our defense got the ball. They really hunkered down the second half. It was a great team effort.”
Parker, who shared the MW defensive award with Wyoming’s Josh Biezuns, was instrumental in forcing three turnovers, including two fourth-quarter interceptions.
The interceptions were the first of his career and came on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter with less than six minutes remaining. His first interception was on a fourth-down play with the Cougars driving at the SDSU 45-yard line.†
Parker ended WSU’s following offensive possession by intercepting a pass at the Aztec 48-yard line and returned the ball 32 yards to set up his team’s final touchdown drive.
Parker is the first Aztec to collect two interceptions in a single game in five years and also added five solo tackles leading to a career-high seven tackles (tied for the team lead against WSU).
Parker said his game mentality is to “just stay focused and never get out of the game.”
“No matter what happens, just focus on the next play — make every play your best play,” he said. “I just kept going, kept playing and never gave up."
Hillman, who scored on runs of 13, 12, 1 and 59 yards, shared the MW offensive award with Boise State’s Kellen Moore.
Former Castle Park and Southwestern kick Abel Perez had a busy night by kicking six extra-point conversions. In three games, he has successfully converted 15 of 16 PAT kicks to go with a game-winning field goal against Army.
Next up for the Aztecs is a much anticipated road contest at Michigan, which is also 3-0, and guided by former SDSU coach Brady Hoke. Kick-off is Saturday, Sept. 24, at 9 a.m. PDT.
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