No. 23 San Diego State holds off UNLV, 28-20

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Lucas Johnson completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 192 yards and threw three touchdowns, as No. 23 San Diego State survived a scare and defeated UNLV 28-20

LAS VEGAS — Lucas Johnson completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 192 yards and threw three touchdowns, and No. 23 San Diego State survived a scare to beat UNLV 28-20 on Friday night.

The Aztecs (10-1) led by just 21-20 before Johnson found Jesse Matthews for a 7-yard strike with 3:33 left in the game.

San Diego State linebacker Seyddrick Lakalaka intercepted UNLV quarterback Justin Rogers with less than 2 minutes left in the game to thwart the Rebels’ last-ditch effort.

Matthews finished with nine receptions for 75 yards and had three touchdowns, becoming the first San Diego State player to score three TDs in one game since Colin Lockett’s trio in the 2001 New Orleans Bowl.

Las Vegas product Elijah Kothe finished with five receptions for 84 yards for the Aztecs, while Greg Bell ran for 52 yards on 14 carries.

UNLV (2-9) outgained the Aztecs, 394-290.

UNLV lost starting quarterback Cam Friel midway through the first half and turned to Rogers, the original starter at the beginning of the season. Rogers looked nothing like the shaky quarterback who stepped in at times during the Rebels’ campaign.

Rogers finished 15 of 21 for 305 yards and two touchdown passes, while Steve Jenkins had five receptions for 176 yards.

Charles Williams, the Rebels’ career rushing leader, was held to 40 yards on 16 carries.

Instead, it was Rogers sparking the Rebels in the first half, going 6 for 7 for 126 yards and one touchdown, a 43-yard strike to a wide-open Zyell Griffin.

Griffin found his way behind San Diego State’s secondary and was alone when he caught the ball before waltzing in untouched.

The Aztecs would answer on their next drive, needing only 3:38 to travel 59 yards in 10 plays, culminating with a 4-yard TD pass from Johnson to Matthews to put San Diego State back on top, 14-10.

UNLV’s next drive started well but stalled when San Diego State stopped the Rebels on a 4th and 2 and got the ball back on its own 46-yard line with 49 seconds left in the half.

The Aztecs went right to work, fitting eight plays and 54 yards into a mere 44 seconds, as Johnson and Matthews hooked up a second time to push San Diego State’s lead to 21-10 at the half.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

At the very least, San Diego State will likely hold in the Top 25 discussion in this week’s poll with a possibility of moving down a spot or two after having trouble with the two-win Rebels. The Aztecs rank 19th in the College Football Playoff rankings.

UP NEXT

San Diego State: Hosts Boise State in the season finale Friday

UNLV: Ends its season at Air Force on Friday

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