San Diego State used a smothering defense and a methodical offensive approach to record its first-ever victory over UCLA, 23-14 on Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The Aztecs had been 0-21-1 against the Bruins in a series that dates to 1922.
San Diego State (2-0) scored 10 points on two takeaways, capitalizing on short fields. A Mike Martinez fumble near midfield late in the first quarter became an Aztecs field goal, giving San Diego State a 10-7 lead it never relinquished.
The visitors extended their edge in the third quarter, converting another fumble — this one by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson on a Kyahva Tezino sack — into a touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Agnew found Kobe Smith on a 34-yard strike for the score two plays into the ensuing drive that began at the UCLA 36-yard line.
Smith caught seven passes for 131 yards, surpassing San Diego State’s total passing output in an ugly, 6-0 win over Weber State in Week 1. Agnew bounced back from his 108-yard showing in the opener, finishing with 293 yards on 23-of-31 passing .
Smith’s outstanding work in the passing game balanced a grinding rushing game that totaled only 80 yards but proved effective enough to give the Aztecs 38 minutes, 16 seconds in time of possession. Running back Chase Jasmin added a touchdown run of 2 yards in the first quarter.
Aztecs coach Rocky Long spent four seasons as UCLA’s defensive coordinator in the 1990s, crafting the 3-3-5 odd stack scheme that has become his calling card. The aggressive style limited UCLA (0-2) to 261 yards and ended 9-of-11 Bruins possessions in one stretch on either punts, turnovers or turnovers-on-downs.
UCLA scored on its opening drive when Joshua Kelley went five yards to cap a 41-yard drive. A 30-yard Kyle Philips punt return set up the Bruins with a short field.
UCLA scored again in the third quarter when Thompson-Robinson found Greg Dulcich on a 20-yard pass that cut the gap to 17-14. The Bruins never got any closer.
The San Diego State defense snuffed any hope of a UCLA rally when it stopped the Bruins on fourth down on consecutive possessions. In both cases, UCLA failed after it faced third-and-1.
—Field Level Media