Aztecs Rally for Win Over
|Number of Plays
||3 of 14
||9 of 16
||2 of 3
||0 of 3
|Kick Return Yards
|Punt Return Yards
|Time of Possession
USAFA, Colo. (AP) - Quinn Kaehler threw two touchdown passes in
the fourth quarter and Donnel Pumphrey scored on a 10-yard run with
1:39 remaining, helping San Diego State rally for a 27-20 victory
over Air Force on Thursday night in a contest that was played
despite the partial government shutdown.
Down by 14 heading into the fourth quarter, the Aztecs (3-3, 2-0
Mountain West) scored 21 straight points to escape with the win
after missing two extra points and a field goal. San Diego State is
2-151-1 in program history when trailing by 14 or more points in the
Kaehler finished 15 of 26 for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
Pumphrey had 117 yards rushing along with another 43 receiving and a
Backup Nate Romine scored on a 16-yard run and threw a 71-yard TD
pass for the Falcons (1-6, 0-5) in a game they didn't know would
even be staged until it was given the official go-ahead about 27
hours before kickoff.
Will Conant made two long field goals, including a 52-yarder that
bounced in off the left upright. His counterpart, Wes Feer, had a
field goal and an extra point clang away no good off the same left
When Kaehler hit Pumphrey for a 20-yard TD early in the fourth
quarter to begin San Diego State's comeback, coach Rocky Long sent
out backup kicker Seamus McMorrow, who made the extra point.
A few plays later, Kaehler found a wide open Ezell Ruffin for a
62-yard score. But McMorrow had his point-after attempt blocked by
Troy Timmerman, making it 20-19.
After forcing the Falcons to punt, Kaehler marched the Aztecs down
the field and Pumphrey punctuated the winning drive with a run up
the middle for a score. Kaehler threw a pass to Tim Vizzi for the
The Aztecs have now won three straight to even their record.
According to San Diego State, of the 45 schools that opened 0-3
since 2010, the Aztecs join only Houston (2012) as the only teams to
even its record at 3-3 after six contests.
Just 40 days ago, Romine was buried deep on Air Force's depth chart.
He moved up when Kale Pearson suffered a season-ending right knee
injury in the opener and again after backup Jaleel Awini was
declared ineligible by the academy.
Romine received the call to go in shortly after starter Karson
Roberts came off the field in the first quarter with an undisclosed
injury. Romine directed a scoring drive in his first series, capping
it off with a 16-yard TD run early in the second quarter.
His 71-yard TD pass to Sam Gagliano was the longest by a Falcons QB
in four years.
San Diego State controlled the clock and outgained the Falcons in
the first half, only to trail 10-6 when Conant connected on a
48-yard field goal on the last play before halftime.
The Aztecs took an early lead after Kaehler found a wide open Eric
Judge for a 44-yard score. But Wes Feer's extra-point attempt hit
the left upright and bounded away. Earlier in the quarter, Feer's
37-yard field goal try clanged off the left goal post.
It was that kind of half for San Diego State. Adam Muema had a
fumble, Kaehler threw an interception off the hands of Muema and
Pumphrey was stopped at the 1 on fourth down by Air Force safety
For a third straight week, the Falcons let a halftime lead slip
Hours before the contest, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the
decision that football games and other sports will go on at the
military service academies through the end of the month. The issue
will be reassessed later this month if Congress has still not passed
a budget to fund the federal government.