San Diego St. 42, Army 7
SAN DIEGO (AP)
The Aztecs played tough defense, had no trouble running their offense and returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in overwhelming Army 42-7 Saturday night.
''I think our players were ready to play,'' coach Rocky Long said. ''And I thought they played very, very well. I think they were excited, I think they were physical and think they flew around and acted like the football team I thought they could be. We're not near as good as we're going to be, but that's a good start.''
The Aztecs scored three touchdowns in a span of 2:45 in the third quarter, capped by Colin Lockett's 96-yard kickoff return. Walter Kazee scored twice in the first half for the Aztecs (1-1), who bounced back from an opening loss at Washington.
It was a dreadful opener for Army, which is trying to bounce back from a 3-9 record in 2011. The Black Knights couldn't get anything going with their triple option against SDSU's aggressive defense until it was too late. Trent Steelman was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, with two of the turnovers setting up Aztecs scores.
''I am stunned,'' Army coach Rich Ellerson said. ''I didn't anticipate or couldn't visualize us playing like that. I don't want to take anything away from San Diego State. It's a good football team and they played well. They were precise, they were physical and we were not.
''Yes it was our first game and all that, but there are so many veteran football players that were doing things that we can do in our sleep and we looked like we were trying to do it in our sleep. I'm just stunned.''
Long returned to conventional thinking a week after raising eyebrows by trying for two two-point conversions rather than PATs - both failed - and going for it on fourth down rather than trying a late field goal against Washington. With Long apparently regaining his trust in his kicker, Chance Marden made all six PATs against Army, although he missed both of his field goal attempts, from 40 and 37 yards.
Long has a chart that tells him when to go for it on fourth down rather than kick.
''We had the chart with us. I'm not going to talk about it anymore because it takes away from the game,'' Long said.
Leading 21-0 at halftime, the Aztecs scored 21 more in a span of less than three minutes in the third quarter.
Four plays after Ezell Ruffin's 57-yard catch-and-run, Adam Muema scored on a 1-yard run to cap SDSU's first possession of the second half.
Army avoided the shutout when Terry Baggett scored on a 10-yard run with 5:54 left in the third quarter, making it 35-7.
Lockett scored on the ensuing kickoff, breaking clear of the coverage at midfield and racing down the left sideline. It was his second career kickoff return for a score.
Kazee scored on runs of 4 and 22 yards in the first half and Adam Dingwell scored on a 7-yard run. Dingwell's touchdown was set up when Derek Largent recovered Steelman's fumble.
Last year, SDSU won 23-20 at Army.
''We knew they were going to be a tough team, so we had to play harder than we did last year,'' Aztecs linebacker Jake Fely said. ''We just had to play harder than they did.''
Army's Raymond Maples had 107 yards on 19 carries and Baggett had 100 yards on 13 carries.