No. 22 San Diego St. builds lead, holds off Air Force 20-14


San Diego State cornerback Dallas Branch runs for a short gain after intercepting apass against Air Force in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Air Force Academy, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — Matt Araiza kicked two field goals, Kaegun Williams and Chance Bell and ran for touchdowns and No. 22 San Diego State withstood Air Force’s comeback bid to win 20-14 on Saturday night.

San Diego State (7-0, 3-0 Mountain West) beat Air Force for a ninth straight time. Air Force (6-2, 3-2) had its four-game winning streak snapped.

The Aztecs led 13-0 at half, with Williams’ 1-yard TD run between Araiza’s field goals of 22 and 51 yards following Air Force turnovers.

San Diego State added to the lead on its first possession of the second half. Bell broke a 32-yard run before scoring from 3 yards out to make it 20-0.

The Falcons got on the board late in the third quarter on Warren Bryan’s 13-yard pass to Dalton King on fourth down. Initially ruled incomplete, the call was overturned on review when it was determined King had possession when he crossed the goal line before the ball came out on the hit by Patrick McMorris.

Air Force pulled to within six after Dane Kinamon took a fourth-down pitch from Bryan and ran 3 yards for a touchdown with 3:59 left.

The Falcons got the ball back with 2:18 to play and punted after a fourth-down conversion was negated by a penalty. San Diego State ran out the final 1:35.

Araiza, who also punts for the Aztecs, got off an 81-yarder in the first quarter. It was the second consecutive week Araiza had an 80-plus yard punt and a 50-plus yard field goal. He had an 86-yard punt and a 53-yard field goal in the Aztecs’ double overtime victory over San Jose State last week.


San Diego State’s top-ranked rushing defense bottled up Air Force’s ground game most of the game. The Aztecs held the Falcons to 192 rushing yards, well under Air Force’s average of 336.4 per game.

Air Force dropped to 4-19 against Top 25 opponents under coach Troy Calhoun. The Falcons’ last win over a ranked team was in 2016.


The Aztecs stand out as the lone unbeaten team in the Mountain West and figure to improve their ranking.


San Diego State: Returns home to take on Fresno State on Saturday night.

Air Force: The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy will be on the line when Army plays the Falcons on Nov. 6 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.


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