`Dogs Fall in Final Minute at SDSU
Dec. 3, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - Ronnie Hillman ran for 178 yards and four touchdowns, including a two-yard score with 1:09 remaining to lift San Diego State past Fresno State 35-28 Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium in the Bulldogs' season finale.
Fresno State led 21-0 in the second quarter, but saw that lead disappear when the Aztecs scored 28 unanswered points over the second and third quarters. The Bulldogs tied the game at 28 early in the fourth on a two-yard touchdown run from Robbie Rouse, but SDSU drove down 66 yards in the final two minutes to get the game winning score.
The `Dogs end the year with a 4-9 record while San Diego State finishes bowl eligible at 8-4.
"I thought our kids played with great effort tonight and give San Diego State credit," head coach Hill said. "We had our opportunities to win that football game and just didn't get it done tonight."
Fresno State appeared it would have a chance to tie the game in the final minute.
Isaiah Burse returned the kickoff after the Aztec go-ahead score 47 yards to the SDSU 47-yard line. Following a nine-yard completion to Josh Harper and an incomplete pass, Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr was intercepted by Larry Parker on a deflected pass at the 24-yard line to end the game.
Carr and the Bulldog offense enjoyed a strong opening half to jump out to the 21-0 lead. He had 213 yards passing and two TDs in the first 30 minutes where the `Dogs had 213 yards, but Hillman and the Aztecs battled back at the end of the half to cut that lead down to 21-14.
Carr finished with 336 yards on 19-of-35 passing and those two TDs. It was his fourth 300-yard game this year and he finished the season with 3,544 passing, the third most in a year in school history.
"It's [the loss] definitely going to weight on my shoulders this offseason," Carr said. "I'm going to go out there this offseason and work as hard as I can - I'm going to outwork everybody - and get ready for next year. I'm going to come out 10 times better than I was this year."
Hillman finished with the 178 yards rushing on 29 attempts to lead the Aztecs who racked up 496 yards of offense. SDSU quarterback Ryan Lindley had 281 yards on 21-of-40 passing.
The Bulldogs had a number of big plays early.
Saunders became the seventh Bulldog in program history to go over 1,000 yards receiving. He had three catches for 105 yards - his fifth 100-yard receiving game this year - and he had a TD reception in each of the last seven games. On the year, Saunders caught 50 passes for 1,065 yards and 12 scores.
Junior running back Robbie Rouse only had 56 yards on the ground, his lowest output of the season. He finishes the year with a single-season school record 329 carries for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns. His rushing total is the third-best in school history and with one year of eligibility remaining, Rouse only needs 317 yards to become the school's all-time leading rusher (has 3,157 yards in his career).
"This loss should hurt and we all should not want to feel this anymore, so going into this offseason we all should be hungry and ready to take on next season," Rouse said.
Rouse was asked after the game if he had any inclination to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.
"I would like to get my degree and also I wouldn't want to end on this note, it wouldn't feel good ending like this, so I'll be back next year," Rouse said.
Defensively, junior Cristin Wilson led the Bulldogs with 11 tackles. Senior defensive tackle Logan Harrell had three tackles, including one for a loss, giving him 17 tackles for a loss on the season, which ties for the third most in Bulldog history.