FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Donovan Lewis and Jamal Ellis intercepted consecutive fourth-quarter passes and Fresno State pulled away to beat San Diego State 24-13 on Friday night in "The Battle For The Oil Can" game.
Lewis corralled freshman Nick Bawden’s errant pass at the Fresno State 28 with 6:15 left after a series of deflections. After San Diego State forced a punt, Ellis intercepted Bawden’s next pass and returned it 5 yards to the 7 to set up Marteze Waller’s clinching 5-yard touchdown run.
Fresno State (3-3, 2-0 Mountain West) won its third straight game after opening with losses to Southern California, Utah and Nebraska. The game was the 1,000th in program history, with the Bulldogs improving to 580-393-27. They are 23-27-4 in the rivalry series against San Diego State (2-3, 1-1).
San Diego State cut it to 17-13 on Bawden’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Adam Roberts with 10:20 left. Bawden made his first start after Quinn Kaehler sprained his right shoulder last week in a victory over UNLV.
Fresno State opened a 17-6 lead late in the third quarter on Josh Quezada’s 2-yard run, taking advantage of a series of San Diego State penalties. After keeping possession on a roughing-the-punter call on a kick that appeared to be partially blocked, Fresno State got a first down at the 2 after two pass-interference calls and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Fresno State led 10-3 at the half. The Bulldogs opened the scoring on Rudy Kroening’s 37-yard field goal and took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on Brandon Connette’s 1-yard run.
Donald Hageman kicked a 24-yard field goal for San Diego State in the second quarter. The Aztecs’ Sam Meredith blocked Kroening’s 38-yard attempt on the final play of the half.
Hageman cut it to 10-6 with a 36-yarder midway through the third quarter on a drive set up by Fresno State quarterback Brian Burrell’s fumble.
Burrell was 14 of 28 for 143 yards. Waller ran for 67 yards on 16 carries, and Josh Harper had five catches for 76 yards.
Bawden was 9 of 24 for 84 yards for the Aztecs. Donne Punphrey ran for 94 yards on 24 attempts.