© Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Aztecs Win Close Game Over Spartans 16-13

Maybe a little closer than people thought it would be.

October 21, 2018 - 8:13 am

In a game that saw Head Coach Rocky Long win his 100th career game, the first thing he said was “They (San Jose State) outplayed us tonight.” He was in disbelief his team won the game. 

But in the end, a 16-13 win over the San Jose State Spartans counts all the same. The Aztecs move to 6-1 on the year, while the Spartans fall to 0-7. 

And to put a cherry on top, the Aztecs have also clinched their 9th straight bowl appearance. 

This year, for some reason, the Aztecs have a tough time with inferior teams at home. Go back to the second game of the year - and the home opener, when they played Sacramento State. They escaped with a 28-14 win. I say escaped because it was a much closer game than the score reflects. 

Yes, that was the game that Christian Chapman was hurt in. But the Aztecs should have dominated that game. 

Then you had the game against Eastern Michigan. Again, at home, they were pushed to the limit by a team that is not terrible, but not great by any means. The Aztecs later won that game 23-20 in OT. 

Fast forward to last week. The Air Force came to town, and the Aztecs survived with a 21-17 win. The Falcons are the best of the three teams mentioned, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt there. 

Then there's this week. As I wrote in my preview of the game, the Spartans are statistically at the bottom of 129 teams. I thought there was no way this game would be close. 

I even thought long and hard about whether or not the Spartans would hang tough. But I thought there was no way. The void was just too much for the Spartans to handle. 

I couldn't have been more wrong because the Spartans came ready to play. Throw the 0-6 record out of the window, they played much better than that. 

The Aztecs defense came up with two early turnovers, but the offense had a tough time in the red zone. That was the theme for the Aztecs on the night. Long, time-consuming, drives that ended up with a field goal. 

How about drives of:

  • 14 plays, 74 yards, 6:27 
  • 9 plays, 85 yards, 4:29

John Baron II has already proven he might be the best kicker in the country, and after tonight, I think he DID prove it. He hit field goals of 36, 23, and 52 yards. The 52 yarder barely got over, but it was the game winner. 

The Aztecs have another tough Mountain West matchup next week in Reno, when they take on Nevada Saturday night.