Written by Pat Clifton    Monday, 16 April 2012 01:04    PDF Print Write e-mail
Aztecs Win Rematch Big, Take PMW
Colleges - Men's DI College

San Diego State avenged its only loss of the Pacific Mountain West season Saturday against UC-Santa Barbara, downing the Gauchos 29-6 to take the conference title and earn an automatic bid to the DI-AA Sweet 16.

SDSU started the match with a stiff wind at their backs and took a 12-3 advantage into halftime. UCSB thought it was in a good position to take advantage of the wind in the second half, but a fierce Aztec defense spoiled all attack.

“They were very aggressive and did a great job defensively and frustrated us,” said UCSB coach Kevin Battle of SDSU.

“We just couldn’t string any phases together, and any time we did gain momentum, San Diego’s defense was there to double team in tackles and somehow create a turnover. All credit to them. The best team on the day won, without a doubt.”

When the Southern California rivals met in the regular season (a 21-14 win for UCSB), SDSU hadn’t had much time under new coach and Eagles 7s captain Matt Hawkins. Saturday, said Battle, it was apparent what more time under Hawkins  meant for the Aztecs.

“They certainly have improved dramatically, without a doubt. You can see Matt Hawkins’ influence all over. They play just the way he plays -- with confidence, with grit, with tenacity. You can certainly see the influence he’s had on the team, and the guys are really charged up. They kind of reminded you of the San Diego State of old -- once they get going forward they’re difficult to slow down.”

UCSB will likely receive an at-large bid to the Sweet 16, which would ship them to Palo Alto, Calif. April 28-29 along with SDSU.