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(Saturday, October 20)
Final Score: San Diego State 39, Nevada 38 (OT)
Reno, NV (Sports Network) - A surprising two-point conversion in overtime was just what San Diego State needed as the Aztecs slipped by Nevada, 39-38, in Mountain West Conference action at Mackay Stadium.
After trailing by double figures midway through the fourth quarter the Aztecs (5-3, 3-1 MWC) battled back to tie the game at the end of regulation and then, after the Wolf Pack (6-2, 3-1) scored a touchdown on their first possession of overtime, SDSU head coach Rocky Long decided to go for the win after Gavin Escobar made it into the end zone on a 21-yard pass play.
Quarterback Adam Dingwell, who was in for the injured Ryan Katz after the starter exited early in the meeting, found Adam Roberts in the corner of the end zone all alone to give the visitors the thrilling one-point win.
Dingwell, who was celebrating his 21st birthday, finished the night 14-of-23 for 177 yards and three touchdowns in place of Katz who was 3-of-4 for 20 yards before heading to the sidelines. Escobar tied for the team lead with five catches, resulting in 39 yards and a couple of scores as the Aztecs delivered their third win in a row.
Nevada, which entered the week riding a five-game win streak, was paced by Cody Fajardo who converted 29-of-40 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in defeat. Stefphon Jefferson, the nation's leading rusher with an average of 162.7 ypg, managed 108 yards and a score on 32 rushing attempts.
Points were hard to come by in the early going for both teams as Nevada kicker Allen Hardison accounted for the only scoring in the first quarter on a 36- yard field goal.
In the second frame SDSU's Chance Marden knocked through field goal tries of 39 and 46 yards to give the visitors a brief lead.
With just five seconds remaining before intermission, Fajardo locked up with Aaron Bradley on a 10-yard TD pass play to provide the Pack with a 10-6 edge at the break.
Fajardo opened the scoring in the second half by way of a five-yard TD run, but the Aztecs responded five minutes later with a three-yard TD run by Walter Kazee to make the score 17-14 following a successful two-point conversion.
Nevada's Brandon Wimberly answered the call later in the third when he capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard TD catch from Fajardo to move the advantage to double figures.
San Diego State refused to go away as Dominique Sandifer reeled in a 19-yard TD pass from Dingwell at the 11:57 mark of the fourth to again draw the visitors to within three points.
However, on their next possession, the Pack drove right back down the field and pounded the ball into the end zone on a one-yard by Jefferson.
Trailing by 10 points yet again, Dingwell systematically moved SDSU down the field, 75 yards in just over four minutes, and the team was rewarded with a four-yard TD reception by Escobar.
Unable to run out the clock, Nevada killed slightly less than three minutes on eight plays before having to punt the ball back to San Diego.
Without any timeouts, the Aztecs moved the ball into field goal range in the final minute of regulation, thanks in part to a questionable pass interference call, and from 34 yards out Marden tied the game as time expired.
Fajardo and Wimberly responded in the extra session with a three-yard TD pass play to put the hosts up by seven points at 38-31.
After Dingwell and Escobar hooked up for a TD of their own it was assumed the Aztecs would set up for the PAT in order to send the game into a second overtime, but instead coach Long went for the win and it paid off.
The last win for Nevada over the Aztecs was back in 1946, a 26-0 triumph at Balboa Stadium. A year earlier the Pack posted a 44-6 win at home in Reno over SDSU.
Prior to tonight, the last overtime game for the Aztecs was back in 1998 when the team put up a 21-20 victory over Utah at home. Ironically, the team won in overtime just a week earlier as well, 36033 versus New Mexico.
10/21 03:24:18 ET
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