The Coast News Group

North County connection paces Aztecs win

On nine different occasions during San Diego State University’s football game against the University of Nevada at Las Vegas on Oct. 7, SDSU quarterback and Carlsbad High School graduate Christian Chapman connected with Aztecs wide receiver and Oceanside High School graduate Mikah Holder. 

Those passes accounted for 144 of Chapman’s 172 passing yards for the game in which he completed 14 of 24 passes. He also scored his first collegiate rushing touchdown on a 14-yard draw play.

“He’s probably the player on the team who doesn’t get enough credit,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said of Chapman, who has junior status at SDSU and improved his record to 19-3 as the Aztecs’ starting quarterback. “He made a couple of throws that were really nice throws in critical situations.”

All five of the Aztecs’ touchdowns in the team’s 41-10 victory over UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas were on rushing plays. The first of those was Chapman’s score with 3:03 elapsed in the second period.

“I thought it was a nice run,” Long said.

“They called the perfect defense to prevent a quarterback draw,” Long said. “That play never should have worked against the defense they called.”

The touchdown, in conjunction with the extra point kicked by John Baron II, gave SDSU a 10-3 lead and put the Aztecs ahead for the rest of the game.

“We’ve been practicing the draw play a little bit last week,” Chapman said.

“We probably knew we were going to call it with the way they play on second down. I’ve been practicing a bit and finally got to show a little bit in the open field.”

Nine yards would have gained a first down when the ball was snapped.

The nine receptions were a career high for Holder, a senior. The 100-yard receiving game was his second as an Aztec; he caught four passes for 160 yards in the 2016 season opener against New Hampshire.

“I think he was in the right situations,” Chapman said. “The matchups looked good.”

“He’s one of our playmakers, so any time he’s open you’ve got to get the guy the ball,” Chapman said.

“He’s smart, too,” Chapman said. “He’ll go out of a route to be open.”

Chapman completed passes to five different receivers in Las Vegas. “We’re trying to do that more. We’re not trying to focus on Mikah,” Chapman said of connecting with multiple receivers.

Carlsbad High School graduate Troy Cassidy, who is currently a sophomore at SDSU, had one solo tackle and two assisted tackles against UNLV.

The Aztecs improved their season record to 6-0, including 2-0 in Mountain West Conference play, with the victory.