No. 23 San Diego State holds off UNLV, 28-20

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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LAS VEGAS – Lucas Johnson completed 18 of 24 pass attempts for 192 yards and threw three touchdowns, and No. 23 San Diego State survived a scare to beat UNLV 28-20 on Friday night.

The Aztecs led just 21-20 before Johnson found Jesse Matthews for a 7-yard strike with 3:33 left in the game.

San Diego State linebacker Seyddrick Lakalaka intercepted UNLV quarterback Justin Rogers with less than 2 minutes left in the game to thwart the Rebels’ last-ditch effort.

San Diego State, which finished with a 5-0 road mark, improved to 10-1 overall, matching its best 11-game start since starting 10-0 in 1969. The Aztecs are one of five teams in the country currently with 10 wins, joining Cincinnati, Georgia, Houston, and UTSA.

Matthews finished with nine receptions for 75 yards and had three touchdowns, becoming the first San Diego State player to score three TDs in one game since Colin Lockett‘s trio in the 2001 New Orleans Bowl.

Las Vegas product Elijah Kothe finished with five receptions for 84 yards for the Aztecs, while Greg Bell ran for 52 yards on 14 carries.

While San Diego State improved to 21-10 all-time against the Rebels (2-9), UNLV outgained the Aztecs, 394-290.

“I didn’t think we played Aztec football, especially on the defensive side,” San Diego State coach Brady Hoke. “We’ve got to do a better job. We can’t give up big plays thrown over our heads. We’ve got to coach better. We as a staff, we got to look at some things.”

UNLV lost starting quarterback Cam Friel midway through the first half and turned to Rogers, the original starter at the beginning of the season. Rogers looked nothing like the shaky quarterback who stepped in at times during the Rebels’ campaign.

Rogers finished 15 of 21 for 305 yards and two touchdown passes, while Steve Jenkins had five receptions for 176 yards.

Charles Williams, the Rebels’ career rushing leader, was held to 40 yards on 16 carries.

Instead, it was Rogers sparking the Rebels in the first half, going 6 for 7 for 126 yards and one touchdown, a 43-yard strike to a wide-open Zyell Griffin.

Griffin found his way behind San Diego State’s secondary and was alone when he caught the ball before waltzing in untouched.

The Aztecs would answer on their next drive, needing only 3:38 to travel 59 yards in 10 plays, culminating with a 4-yard TD pass from Johnson to Matthews to put San Diego State back on top, 14-10.

UNLV’s next drive started well but stalled when San Diego State stopped the Rebels on a 4th and 2 and got the ball back on its own 46-yard line with 49 seconds left in the half.

The Aztecs went right to work, fitting eight plays and 54 yards into a mere 44 seconds, as Johnson and Matthews hooked up a second time to push San Diego State’s lead to 21-10 at the half.

It marked the first time the Aztecs scored more than 23 points since Oct. 9.

“I feel like we still have a lot of work to do,” Matthews said. “We knew we had to points on the board for our defense. It was our time to step up.”

SACK MAN

UNLV’s Jacoby Windmon had a career-high three sacks, tying a program fourth-highest for a single game. Windmon now has 6 1/2 sacks on the year and 12 in his career.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

At the very least, San Diego State Will Likely hold in the Top 25 discussion in this week’s poll with a possibility of moving down a spot or two after having trouble with the two-win Rebels. The Aztecs rank 19th in the College Football Playoff rankings.

UP NEXT

San Diego State: Hosts Boise State in the season finale Friday

UNLV: Ends its season at Air Force on Friday

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.