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San Diego State defeated Arizona 30-12 in a non-conference clash this weekend. The Aztecs used strong defensive pressure and a trio of second half tries to upset the Wildcats at home on Saturday.
The Aztecs did not find the try zone in the first half but managed to go into the break with the lead. San Diego State converted three penalties while Arizona got the lone try leading to a 9-7 game halftime score.
“We had some good continuity early on and they took some penalties and we went up early,” said San Diego State coach Alex Lichtig.
San Diego State pulled away in the second half, scoring three tries. The Aztecs extended the lead to 30-7 before Arizona scored a try at the death to end the match 30-12.
“We knocked on a couple in the try zone but finally we were knocking on the door and we finally put one in,” Lichtig indicated of his team’s second half performance.
The Aztecs added two more scores after breaking the seal, thanks in large part to solid forward play. Adahir Aguilera, Johnny Abdulahad, and Jake Jorstad all had strong days up front for the home side.
"They put in an A level performance in the scrum,” Lichtig said of his two front rowers Aguilera and Abdulahad. "It was really what helped us put it over the edge.”
While the Aztecs did well to punch in a few tries, it was really their defense that won the day. Arizona was held scoreless until the final minute due to a bend but not break San Diego State defense.
“They played pretty expansive and we had some mistakes. They were able to take a lot of territory," Lichtig said of Arizona. "In the end our defense held, even when they got within the five meter line."
The result was disappointing for Arizona, who was coming off some quality wins. The Wildcats will take some lessons from this game and try and go back to PAC play a better team.
“It was a great opportunity for us to be tested in a road environment so all credit to San Diego State. They played really well and have some good athletes. It gives us a nice wake up call going into the rest of conference play,” Arizona coach Sean Duffy said of the loss.