The Cougars couldn’t continue their hot start to the season as they surrendered 191 rushing yards to San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman.
Hillman finished the game with four touchdowns in the Aztecs’ 42-24 victory which pushed the Cougs to 2-1 on the season.
The Cougars’ began the game with a bang, as they forced a punt by the Aztecs and proceeded to score on their first play from scrimmage. Redshirt senior Marshall Lobbestael lobbed a pass to sophomore Marquess Wilson which went for 80 yards and a Cougar touchdown.
The touchdown marked the first time the Cougs scored on the first play since 2005, when former Coug Jerome Harrison hit an 80-yard touchdown run. Wilson didn’t end his day there as he also had a 78-yard touchdown reception later in the game. The two touchdown catches were the longest of his career. Wilson finished the game with six catches for a career-high 236 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougs.
The 236 yards are the fifth most in WSU single-game history. Lobbestael highlighted Wilson’s impact after the game.
“He’s a great player, made a lot of good plays tonight,” Lobbestael said.
WSU had the 17-14 lead at halftime after Lobbestael hit Isiah Barton over the middle of the field for a 23-yard touchdown pass. After the break, the Cougars capitalized on the 78-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 24-14.
The score would change again after San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley executed a six play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Cougs were forced to punt on their next two possessions, and San Diego State wasted no time as they scored touchdowns on two of their next three drives.
Hillman was the catalyst for the Aztecs’ offense for the majority of the drives as he punched in two touchdowns, including a 59-yard scamper that pushed the lead to 35-24.
Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Chris Ball noted the Cougars’ inability to capitalize in the second half.
“They made plays and we didn’t,” Ball said. “We didn’t make the plays we needed to make. We were in good shape, we just didn’t make the plays.”
The Cougars sealed their fate after the next three Cougar drives ended with turnovers, as Lobbestael fumbled on a botched screen play and threw two interceptions.
Lobbestael said the turnovers caught up to WSU, especially in the second half.
“We didn’t execute at as high of a level that we did in the first half,” Lobbestael said. “You know, there were times when we had opportunities to make plays, but when you turn the ball over too much, it catches up with you in the second half when it’s a close game.”
The turnovers would cost the Cougs as the Aztecs ended the game with another passing touchdown to finish the game at 42-24. The win snapped the Aztecs’ 19-game losing streak to Pac-12 schools.
The Cougars will have a bye week this week, and will take on Colorado two weeks from now on Oct. 1.