When you play in a conference that is considered outside of college football’s elite you have no margin for error. For the Aztecs was had the potential to be a magical season ended on Saturday night in a 31-14 loss to Boise State at SDCCU Stadium.
After their sensational start there was real hope for a perfect record, something that is indescribably difficult to do.
“I've said this a thousand times,” said Head Coach Rocky Long, “but I will say it one more time. There wasn't one team in Division I football that went undefeated last year, not one. So the chances of that happening aren't very good, and you realize along the way there is a chance you're going to stumble and have a bad night and lose the game, even though you don't want to, and you prepare and try really hard not to.”
SDSU’s bad night started with uncharacteristic mistakes. They allowed a 53-yard punt return touchdown to Avery Williams and then junior quarterback Christian Chapman, who has been very careful with the football, was pressured and tried to get the ball out to avoid a sack. He threw it backwards, making it a fumble, and Kekaula Kaniho took it 34 yards for another Broncos touchdown.
The Aztecs have come from behind to win a few times in 2017 but this time the early 14-point deficit was too much to overcome.
“I hate losing more than I like winning,” said Chapman. “This was a big loss. We had a goal. We were trying to go undefeated. That's out the window now. They beat us fair and square, man. You've got to tip your hats off to them. They were more physical than us. They just beat us at the line of scrimmage.”
The Broncos defense spent a lot of time in the San Diego State backfield. Chapman was sacked four times and all-world running back Rashaad Penny couldn’t find room to run. Penny finished with 21 carries for 53 yards, more than 100 yards less than his season average.
So hopes of appearing in a coveted and prestigious New Year’s Six Bowl game are very likely gone. But San Diego State’s stated goal of winning another Mountain West Conference championship are still very much alive. If they win their division they will earn a spot in the title game and very likely another date with the Broncos.
“The goal still remains the same, trying to win a championship out here,” said Chapman. “I'm hoping to get there, too. I want to play them again. I want another shot at them.”
The Aztecs can take another step towards doing just that next week when they host Fresno State.