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Fresno State’s Jordan Mims runs past San Diego State safety Patrick McMorris. Mims rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 30-20 victory over the Aztecs on Saturday, Oct. 30. | FRESNO STATE ATHLETICS/SAMUEL MARSHALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Aztecs, No Longer Perfect, Fall to Fresno State 30-20

San Diego State dug an early hole against Fresno State on Saturday, Oct. 30, and couldn’t climb back, dropping its first game of the season, 30-20.

With the loss, SDSU (7-1, 3-1 in the Mountain West) falls behind the Bulldogs (7-2, 4-1 MW) in the conference divisional race. The Aztecs now share second place with Nevada (6-2, 3-1 MW).

Fresno State (7-3) dominated early, building a 20-0 lead before the Aztecs broke through with just over two minutes to go in the second quarter.

After Kaegun Williams returned a kickoff 17 yards, Lucas Johnson completed passes of 16 and 31 yards to Elijah Kothe. He rushed for 14 yards before throwing a 19-yard pass to Tyrell Shavers for the score.

With 13 seconds left in the third quarter, SDSU drew closer, scoring on a Greg Bell 3-yard run, but they squandered opportunities due to turnovers, including two Johnson interceptions.

“I hurt us tonight,” Johnson said after the game.

The Bulldogs, though, thoroughly shut down San Diego State’s running game early, limiting them to just 38 yards in the first half.

Meanwhile, Fresno State had a commanding second quarter, building on their early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Jake Haener threw a 16-yard pass to Keric Wheatfall to make the score 14-0, before Cesar Silva added two field goals.

The Bulldogs also flummoxed Aztec defenders, as Haener threw for 306 yards and Jordan Mims rushed for 186 yards.

The defense re-asserted itself after the break, holding Fresno State to just a field goal until Johnson’s interception with five minutes remaining. Two plays later, Mims added a touchdown to give the Bulldogs’ a commanding 30-13 lead.

The Aztecs hit the road to play Hawaii at 8 p.m. Nov. 6. A showdown with Nevada looms the following week.

(This report first appeared in Times of San Diego and was made available as part of the CalMatters Network.)