By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
CARSON, Calif. (AP) – Jordon Brookshire led San Diego State’s No.22 to 24 unanswered points after replacing Lucas Johnson at the end of the first half, and the Aztecs took home the title. Mountain West’s West Division with a 27-16 victory over Boise State on Friday.
Brookshire had 192 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 46 yards and another score for the Aztecs (11-1, 7-1), who celebrated their temporary home in suburban Los Angeles after completing their first regular season of 11 victories in 99 years of football.
The Aztecs, who have never had a 12-win season, will host the Mountain West title game next Saturday, Dec. 4, against Air Force or Utah State.
San Diego State wiped out an early 13-point deficit with a rebound effort from its vaunted defense, which shut out the Broncos (7-5, 5-3) in the final 38 minutes.
Brookshire also turned San Diego State’s struggling offense when he took over in the penultimate first-half practice. In their next four outings, the Aztecs turned a 13-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
Jesse Matthews caught nine passes for 133 yards and Greg Bell rushed in for a touchdown.
Kurt Rafdal and Khalil Shakir caught Hank Bachmeier’s first TD assists for the Broncos, whose four-game winning streak ended. Boise State is having its first five-game losing streak since 2013 under first-year head coach Andy Avalos, from nearby Corona, Calif.
Patrick McMorris made two of the Aztecs’ three interceptions and Jonah Tavai got three of their four sacks as the defense harassed and punched Bachmeier throughout the second half, forcing substitute Jack Sears into the final two series.
Brookshire started the season as the Aztecs’ starting quarterback, but Johnson took over after two games when Brookshire suffered a foot injury. Brookshire returned and had two more starts before Johnson returned to the starting position for the next six games, with Brookshire falling to the third string behind Will Haskell.
Brookshire hadn’t threw a pass since Oct. 15 and hadn’t threw a TD pass since Sept. 11.
Bachmeier led a 69-yard TD early on, capped off by a 20-yard TD pass to Rafdal for Nebraska’s tight first touchdown transfer during his five-year college career. Boise State was leading 16-3 midway through the second quarter.
Johnson was 9 of 20 for 98 yards when Brookshire picked him up and immediately led the Aztecs to 78 yards for their first touchdown on Matthews’ 29-yard catch-and-run. Brookshire had another quick practice ending with Matt Araiza’s 37-yard field goal 3 seconds before halftime.
The Aztecs took a 20-16 lead to open the second half on a 75-yard drive that included a third-and-11 conversion and two down fourth conversions, including Bell’s 2-yard TD run. McMorris’ second interception then led to a drive ending in a 16-yard TD from Brookshire into the heart of the Boise State defense.
Boise State: A team that has scored 128 points in their last four games got off to a good start against the best defense in the conference, but couldn’t keep it up. The Broncos aren’t the only ones battling the Aztecs’ heavy hitters, but it’s a late-regular-season disappointment after an encouraging streak under Avalos.
San Diego State: The Aztecs won one more game at Dignity Health Sports Park, located 116 miles northwest of their campus. San Diego State has spent the past two seasons playing on the LA Galaxy field while the $ 310 million Aztec Stadium is under construction for a 2022 opening at the site of the demolished Jack Murphy Stadium in Mission. Valley in San Diego. The Aztecs are 9-2 at Carson, including 6-1 this year.
Boise State: Probable bowling.
San Diego State: Mountain West title game on December 4.
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