San Diego, CA (Sports Network) — Ronnie Hillman ran for 151 yards and a touchdown as he helped lead the San Diego State Aztecs to a 24-19 win over the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Qualcomm Stadium.
Hillman, who surpassed 1,000 rushing yards on the season, became just the third freshman in SDSU (7-2, 4-1 MWC) history to reach that plateau following Marshall Faulk (1991) and Lionel Hamilton (1994). Quarterback Ryan Lindley converted 14-of-23 for 171 yards and a score, but he was also picked off two times in the meeting.
The Rams (3-7, 2-4) were led by Pete Thomas who converted 22-of-40 passes for 266 yards in the setback. Thomas was picked off once and sacked five times as the SDSU defense came up with more than a dozen tackles for loss.
Colorado State kicker Ben DeLine started off the night's scoring as he booted a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter and then knocked through a 33-yard effort with five minutes left to play in the first half to give the visitors a 6-0 advantage.
On the ensuing possession the Aztecs moved the ball 60 yards on 11 plays, capped by a one-yard TD run by Brandon Sullivan to give the hosts a slim 7-6 lead at the break.
San Diego State kicker Abel Perez made good on a 31-yard field goal to make the score 10-6 in the third period.
With SDSU inside the red zone later in the frame it appeared the Aztecs would be building on their lead, but Mychal Sisson broke in on Lindley and slapped the ball out of his hand, scooped it up and ran 88 yards to the end zone to give the Rams a 13-10 edge.
Lindley and the Aztecs bounced back immediately, moving the ball 56 yards on five plays and getting a 26-yard rushing touchdown out of Hillman to put them back on top at 17-13. Lindley then combined with Sullivan on a nine-yard scoring pass to lift the team to a 24-13 advantage.
Thomas managed to guide the Rams back down the field and into the end zone with a 28-yard TD pass to Zac Pauga, but a two-point conversion attempt was thwarted and CSU eventually ended up with the five-point setback.
The win for the Aztecs was just the second at home against Colorado State since 1993 and the current four-game win streak for the squad is the longest since 1998, the team's 7-2 record matching the squad's best in the last 33 seasons as well. Now with 11 victories since Brady Hoke took over as head coach, the team has matched the number of wins they had in the 39 games prior to his arrival.