Wyoming 34, No. 25 San Diego St. 31
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Every time San Diego State has something at stake, Wyoming is there to ruin it.
Cory Wedel’s 33-yard field with 29 seconds left gave Wyoming its fourth straight victory over No. 25 San Diego State, a 34-31 upset Saturday night that snapped the Aztecs’ six-game winning streak.
The loss almost certainly ruins San Diego State’s Western Athletic Conference title hopes, dropping it to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the conference. SDSU had been tied for first with Brigham Young, which defeated New Mexico and is alone in the lead at 5-1.
And the Cowboys (4-5, 2-4) spoiled SDSU’s first appearance in the national rankings since 1992.
``To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know they were in the Top 25,″ said Jermaine McDowell, one of three Wyoming running backs who rushed for more than 100 yards. ``We just came out and outplayed them today.″
``This hurts,″ Aztecs senior offensive lineman Chris Finch said. ``I thought this was going to be the year.″
Wyoming wins in 1992 and 1993 helped keep SDSU out of bowl contention, and the victory in 1993 got coach Al Luginbill fired and ended Marshall Faulk’s college career on a sour note.
``I don’t think we got overconfident,″ wide receiver Ray Peterson said. ``We got outplayed. Wyoming has had our number the last couple of years.″
The Cowboys, who had lost three straight, moved 64 yards in 14 plays for the winning kick, forcing San Diego State to use all three timeouts. The Aztecs got to the Wyoming 34 with six seconds left, but Peter Holt’s 52-yard attempt was wide right.
Wyoming survived four turnovers by gaining 547 yards in total offense, including a season-high 372 rushing. Len Sexton (151 yards), McDowell (122) and Marques Brigham (117) all rushed for career highs. Sexton wasn’t even supposed to play; he was listed on the injury report as being out with a sprained ankle.
Among the turnovers were a bad punt snap that resulted in an Aztec touchdown, and a fumble at the SDSU 3.
``I was kind of numb, to tell you the truth,″ Wyoming coach Joe Tiller said. ``I felt like we certainly couldn’t stomp around. Our team has not had a lot of luck, if you will. And I do believe, having been in football as long as I have, there is an element of luck involved to it.
``I just kind of ignored it as a play we’d have to live with and work our way through. I tried to go over and encourage the kids that were involved.″
Playing despite a broken jaw, San Diego State’s George Jones rushed for 133 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. Jones, the No. 3 rusher in the country, has 1,591 yards this season and is 40 shy of Faulk’s season school record of 1,630 set in 1992.
Jones broke his jaw last week and had it wired shut on Monday. His helmet was fitted with a bigger, heavier facemask that covered the ear holes.
``They were determined to stop the run,″ Jones said. ``They did a pretty good job of it tonight. We should’ve passed more, but that’s in the past now.″
Neither team led by more than a touchdown the entire night. San Diego State seemed to gain momentum when, with the score tied at 17, Wyoming backup deep snapper Stuart Hanson sent the ball over punter Brian Gragert’s head. Freddie Edwards outraced Gragert into the end zone and recovered for a touchdown that gave San Diego State a 24-17 lead.
Wyoming’s regular long snapper, Brent Leu, injured a shoulder earlier in the game.
Sexton pulled the Cowboys back into a tie when he broke several tackles on a 28-yard touchdown run with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
Jones gave San Diego State a 31-24 lead when he ran an 8-yard draw untouched with 12:45 to play. The Aztecs got the ball right back when John McCartney recovered Marcus Harris’ fumble after a reception at the Wyoming 44. But Az Hakim then fumbled after an 11-yard catch, with Je’Ney Jackson recovering at the Wyoming 46.
On Wyoming’s next play from scrimmage, Brigham raced off left tackle for a 54-yard touchdown run that tied it at 31-31.
Wyoming took a 17-14 halftime lead thanks to some quick thinking by Gragert, the holder for Wedel. Wedel lined up to try a 34-yard field goal on third down with 6 seconds left, but the snap was bad and Gragert spiked the ball to stop the clock. Wedel got another try, and the kick was good as time expired.
The teams alternated touchdowns in the first half, with quarterback Josh Wallwork scoring on a 1-yard run and McDowell on a 3-yard run for Wyoming. Billy Blanton threw touchdown passes of 25 yards to Will Blackwell and 17 yards to Daryl Hawkins.
Jones had a 47-yard run to set up the TD pass to Blackwell, who caught the ball at the 5 and put a spin move on the defender.
Each team had a turnover inside the opponent’s 20 in the first half.