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Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico Attendance: 14,646
Washington's 2 TDs help San Diego St. beat New Mexico 31-23
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By GLEN ROSALES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Juwan Washington had 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 carries to help San Diego State beat New Mexico 31-23 on Saturday night.
A John Baron II field goal put the Aztecs ahead for good at 24-23 with 2:56 to play.
"Obviously when we you don't play very well and you win the game, you feel very fortunate," San Diego State coach Rocky Long said. "But, guess what, that's who we are. We're not going to change it. That's the way our whole season has been and that's who we are. So we'll just have to keep playing that way and see if we can pull it out at the end.'
San Diego State (7-2, 4-1 Mountain West) trailed 23-14 after the Lobos (3-6, 1-4) only sustained touchdown drive of the game with 10 minutes remaining.
But Aztecs quarterback Christian Chapman rallied his squad with a 75-yard scoring drive.
"In those situations, you don't want to get flustered," Chapman said. "As a quarterback you don't want to make stupid decisions."
After the San Diego State defense held New Mexico on the next possession, Garrett Binkley returned the punt 35 yards to the Lobos 41.
New Mexico was then called for its first penalty, roughing the passer, with 5:25 left, pushing the Aztecs to the Lobos 30. Three plays later, Baron hit the go-ahead 32-yard field goal.
Following a San Diego State interception, Washington went 50 yards for a touchdown to seal it.
"I think we've been doing it all season," Chapman said. "It's been a fight. Every game has been a fight. They're always close. That's the theme for this team this year. We're fighters and we're going to grind to the end. That's how are games are going to be this season.
The Lobos finished the first half with two complete passes, both of which went for negative yards. They didn't get into the positive yardage column until late in the third quarter and finished with 41 yards passing.
New Mexico's 10 first-half points, however, were the direct result of two fumble recoveries by Adebayo Soremekun, including one that he returned 44 yards for a touchdown. The Lobos also had a short field in the third quarter thanks to a third fumble recovery, leading to another touchdown.
"I thought our defense, as beat up as we are, played pretty physical," New Mexico coach Bob Davie said.
GIVETH & TAKETH
That the Aztecs lost the turnover edge is not really news - at least this season. San Diego State entered the game with 11 turnovers and eight takeaways, quite a contrast from the previous three seasons when the Aztecs averaged 27 takeaways versus 13 turnovers.
"It's a huge concern because anytime we turn the ball over, it gives the other team momentum," Long said. "And in this case they even scored off a turnover and had a real short field off of turnovers."
New Mexico recovered three fumbles on the night, giving them six in the past two games after three in the first seven games.
Chapman, who missed six games with a knee sprain, entered the game in the second quarter and went the rest of the way, finishing 13-for-19 passing for 182 yards and one touchdown. Washington also was an injured returnee, coming back from a fractured clavicle that cost him four games.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE
New Mexico was outscored 99-26 in its previous two games to Fresno State and Utah State.
The win keeps alive San Diego State's drive to reach win 10 wins for a fourth straight season, which would be a program record. Only six other schools have accomplished that feat, all from the Power 5 conferences.
New Mexico's loss means it needs to sweep its final three games to become bowl eligible for the third time in four seasons.
San Diego State is at home Nov. 10 to meet UNLV, which is in last place in the conference's West Division.
New Mexico plays at Air Force on Nov. 10. The loser of that game will drop into sole possession of last place in the Mountain Division.
Updated November 4, 2018