Carson, CA — When quarterback Nick Starkel was knocked out of the game on the first series, San Jose State’s destiny was thrust into the hands of Nick Nash.
Nash, a sophomore listed as a dual-threat quarterback attempted only 17 passes last season. He was thrust on the biggest stage of his collegiate career.
San Jose State defeated San Diego State 28-17 at Carson’s Dignity Health Sports Park for its third straight victory to start the season. The last time SJSU was 3-0, the coach was Jack Elway.
Nash threw 25 passes, completing 16 of them for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score. He was steady all the way.
Five of his completions went to Derrick Deese Jr, who had 76 receiving yards and a touchdown. Five more, for 70 yards, went to Tre Walker, who stretch the field in the second half.
SJSU finally got their offense on a roll on their sixth drive, mixing the run and the pass before tight end Derrick Deese Jr. made a one-handed, 10-yard catch for a first-and-goal at the SDSU 10-yard line.
Two plays later, the Spartans faced a third-and-goal from the 4-yard line when Nash spotted Deese again for a touchdown.
Both offenses were sluggish all game long but there were some big plays in the game on both sides.
When the offense couldn’t get anything going, Aztecs punter Tanner Kuljian came out and provided a little spark.
Standing at the back of his own end zone, Kuljian boomed a 70-yard punt.
That turned the field position for the SDSU, who stopped the San Jose State offense again and got the ball back near the 50 yard line.
A second Aztecs drive stalled, but this time SDSU’s Araiza’s field goal to made it 3-0.
The kick extended Araiza’s streak of field goals to 16 straight games — every game he has played — over two seasons.
San Diego State quarterback Carson Baker looked comfortable for most of the game until the Spartans ramped up the pressure in the fourth quarter.
His throws were highlighted by a 51-yard completion to wide receiver Jesse Matthews that led to Araiza’s field goal.
Baker was 9-for-13 passing in the first half for 110 yards. He finished the game 21-for-30 passing for 261 yards.
The Spartans took a 21-17 lead four minutes into the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run by running back Tyler Nevens. It came two plays after SJSU recovered a backward pass by the Aztecs’ quarterback Carson Baker that was ruled a fumble at SDSU’s 17-yard line.
San Jose State offense looked good in spurts. SDSU had almost 700 yards on the ground in its first two games. The Spartans held the Aztecs to 101 for the game.
SJSU linebacker Kyle Harmon tied his career-high of 14 tackles for a third consecutive week. Safety Tre Jenkins had a key interception in the fourth quarter with San Diego State in the red zone.