12:00 PM ET, November 23, 2002
Falcon Stadium, Usaf Academy, CO
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) _ A fourth consecutive losing season. A brutal schedule that includes eight teams that could be headed for bowls. Injuries to key players. No one would have faulted San Diego State for giving up against Air Force, but the Aztecs would have none of it. James Truvillion scored on a 1-yard run with 58 seconds left, and T.R. Tolver and Kassim Osgood combined for two NCAA receiving records as San Diego State rallied to beat Air Force 38-34 Saturday. San Diego State (4-8, 4-3 Mountain West Conference) took an early 10-0 lead, struggled for two quarters then scored 21 points in the final 9:54 to end a three-game losing streak. ``It was tough for our guys now,'' said San Diego State coach Tom Craft, whose team ended a four-game losing streak to Air Force. ``We're a little worn down from a 12-game stretch, a lot of it on the road. We weren't 100 percent healthy, but we just kept battling, and our players showed a lot of heart and resiliency.'' Air Force (8-4, 4-3) all but clinched its first national rushing title with 413 yards _ 538 total _ but struggled on special teams. The Falcons missed a field goal and an extra point, and had three mistakes on punts that led to 17 points for San Diego State. ``I think there were times we probably should've put them away and we never did,'' Air Force's Chance Harridge said. ``We gave them opportunities to believe and they started believing in themselves, and there at the end they made the plays they needed to win the game.'' Air Force seemed in control after Harridge's second touchdown run late in the third quarter, but Joey Ashcroft missed the extra point. Ashcroft also shanked a 30-yard field-goal attempt early in the fourth that kept San Diego State within reach at 27-17. San Diego State followed Ashcroft's missed field goal with an 80-yard scoring drive, capped by Truvillion's 2-yard TD run that cut the lead to three points. Air Force then gambled and failed on its next drive. Wanting to take the momentum back, DeBerry went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Air Force 42. Steve Massie appeared to have enough for the first down, but Kirk Morrison stripped him, then recovered the fumble at the 42. ``When somebody wants to go for it on fourth down against us, we take offense to that. That's a challenge to us, and the guys rose up,'' Craft said. Osgood scored four plays later on a spectacular touchdown that put the Aztecs up 31-27 with 5:23 left. Lon Sheriff appeared to throw the ball up for grabs in the corner, but Osgood leaped over two defenders, grabbed the ball with one hand and still managed to get his feet down in the back of the end zone. Harridge scored on a 35-yard run on an option right to put the Falcons up 34-31 with 3:16 left, but San Diego State moved 58 yards in 2:09 for Truvillion's game-winning run off right tackle. ``The offensive line basically dominated that last drive,'' said Sheriff, who threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns in place of injured starter Adam Hall. ``That's why we were able to move down the field like that just, with the quick passing game and mixing some runs in there.'' Tolver had 13 catches for 126 yards, and Osgood had 12 for 123 yards. The duo has 213 catches this season, one more than the NCAA record for teammates. Nevada's Damond Wilkins and Geoff Noisy (1996) matched the record set by Tulsa's Howard Twilley and Neal Sweeney (1965). Tolver and Osgood also have 2,928 yards, eclipsing the record of 2,774 set by Nevada's Trevor Insley and Cleavon Brooks in 1999. Tolver has 110 receptions and Osgood 103, making them the 23rd and 24th players in NCAA history with 100 receptions in a season. ``Obviously, their two wide receivers, like we'd feared coming into the game, were a big difference in the ball game,'' said Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry, who has 149 career victories. Harridge ran for 117 yards and broke the NCAA single-season record for touchdowns by a quarterback with 22. He scored on runs of 6, 2 and 35 yards to break the previous record of 20 set by Navy's Chris McCoy in 1997.