The University of Arizona (#13) overcame a 22-point deficit with 17 minutes remaining to defeat #12 San Diego State on a windy Saturday afternoon in Tucson.
The win improves Arizona’s record to 5-1 on the season.
After San Diego State took its largest lead of the game at 34-12 in the second half, Stephen Salazar began the Wildcat rally with a try to cut into the Aztec lead. Just three minutes later, Jeremy Brown added another try for the Wildcats and Mike Getzler’s successful conversion kicks after both tries trimmed the Aztec lead to eight points.
In the final five minutes of the contest, Getzler converted a penalty kick to make it a one possession game at 34-29. The highlight of the contest was Brett Thompson’s long run for a try to tie the game at 34 in the closing minutes. Getzler again converted on his kick to give Arizona its first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
"U of A wanted it more in the second half," said San Diego State coach Craig Hartley. "We gave up a 20-point lead, and they deserved the win."
Oddly, on a windy day neither team did an awful lot with the breeze at their backs. Forced to keep the ball in hand against the wind, teams scored tries. The difference, in the end, was Arizona's more accurate goalkicking.
“This was a fabulous game between two great teams,” said Arizona head coach Dave Sitton. “Every one of our players will remember this team effort whenever they think of their athletic careers for the rest of their lives.”
In the first half, Matt Coughlin got the Wildcats on the board first with a try in the game’s opening minutes. SDSU responded with three straight tries to take a 15-5 lead, before Jack Arnold had a try to cut the lead to 15-12.
The Aztecs padded their lead in the closing portion of the first half with two tries to take a 27-12 lead at the half. San Diego State opened the second half scoring with a try, which extended their lead to 34-12 and was the final Aztec score of the game.
Later in the afternoon, the Wildcats and Aztecs “A” squads competed against each other with Arizona winning the contest 31-21.
Arizona’s next contest will come next Saturday, February 26, when they take on the New Mexico Lobos in their final game before CPL play begins.Next up for SD State is the CPL opener against Cal March 5 on the San Diego State campus.