SAN DIEGO – On the night the lights went out in San Diego, No. 19 Stanford suffered its own power shortage Saturday night.
San Diego State quarterback Christian Chapman threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Wells with 54 seconds left to give the Aztecs a 20-17 win.
Kameron Kelly’s interception salted the game away as Keller Chryst tried a deep pass with 48 seconds left.
Rashaad Penny, the nation’s leading rusher, had 175 yards on 31 carries for the Aztecs (3-0), who upset a Pac-12 team for the second straight week. They beat Arizona State last week.
Stanford’s Bryce Love had 184 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, but the Cardinal fell to 1-2 after their second straight loss. He had TD runs of 51 and 53 yards and set up a field goal with a 47-yard run.
It had the makings of a high-scoring game with two of the top running backs in the country, but a defensive duel ensued. Instead of lights-out scoring, the power in San Diego Stadium went out with just under four minutes left. Many in the crowd of 43,040 held out their cell phones but quickly tired of that. About 20 minutes later, the stadium lights came back on, and play resumed. Penny and the Aztecs rolled to the 8, and Wells caught the winner.
Love broke free for his 53-yarder on the first play of the fourth quarter. That gave the Cardinal a 17-13 lead.
Penny countered with a 36-yard run to the Stanford 20 on the next possession, but the Aztecs missed a chance to close the lead when John Baron was wide right on a 50-yard field goal try.
The Aztecs increased the lead to 13-7 in the third quarter on Baron’s 36-yard field goal. They hurt themselves with a substitution penalty on 4th-and-1 at the Stanford 13. That moved the ball back to the 18, forcing the field goal try.
A 47-yard run by Love, who skirted the right end and broke back across the field. Cornerback Kameron Kelly made a saving tackle at the 13. Rather than go for it on 4th-and-1 foot at the San Diego State 4, however, head coach David Shaw opted for a 20-yard field goal by Jet Toner, which cut the lead to 13-10.
The first half turned out to be an unexpected defensive duel, ending with the Aztecs up 10-7. The Cardinal didn’t muster a first down for the first 17 minutes and had just four in the half. They had just 88 yards of total offense in 44 plays.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Aztecs took the lead on a 44-yard field goal by Baron. A running-into-the-punter penalty against Justin Reid allowed the drive to resume, and the Aztecs ground out the yardage with its rushing attack. A 14-yard run by Penny on 3rd-and-3 at the Stanford 40 was the key play on the series.
An 11-yard pass from Chryst to Irwin delivered the long awaited first down early in the second quarter. Two plays later, the previously bottle up Bryce Love swept left end for 51 yards and a 7-3 lead.
But the offense struggled the rest of the first half. When Chryst tried to hit Donald Stewart late in the half, it was picked off by cornerback Ron Smith, who returned it 22 yards to the Stanford 15. Three plays later, Penny scored from four yards to out to put the Aztecs back in front 10-7 with 43 seconds left before halftime.
Even then the Cardinal had a golden chance. A 15-yard penalty against Penny for unsportsmanlike conduct pushed the kickoff back to the 20, and Dorian Maddox returned it 27 yards to the Stanford 44.
With 36 seconds left, a Chryst pass to Dalton Schultz gained 16, and another unsportsmanlike penalty against San Diego State’s Sergio Phillips put the ball on the Aztecs’ 25. But Chryst fumbled when he was sacked by Noble Hall and Damon Moore recovered for San Diego State.
The Holder twins – Stanford cornerback Alijah and San Diego State’s Mikah — were matched against each other several times. Mikah had seven catches for 85 yards, many of them critical. Alijah was covering Mikah on his first catch for 16 yards, and Alijah broke up a pass intended for Mikah late in the first half. Alijah did it again to force a punt in the third quarter. Mika was drilled by Brandon Simmons in the final minutes but came right back with an 18-yard reception.
Briefly: Stanford’s defense lost starting linebacker Sean Barton to a right leg injury in the second quarter. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. … Ryan Burns took over at quarterback for Chryst fon three occasions, never for more than two plays. He didn’t run once and completed his only pass, an 8-yard pass to Connor Wedington. Burns was the lead blocker on three runs.