SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The wait is finally over for new coach Chuck
Long and San Diego State.
Garrett Palmer kicked a 30-yard field goal with 2 seconds left
to lift the Aztecs to 19-12 victory over Air Force on Saturday,
giving San Diego State its first win of the season.
"I told the guys, let's not wait until October 21 next year to
get our first win," joked Long, who was hired from the University
of Oklahoma to turn around a program that has not had a winning
season since 1998.
"I'm elated for them more than anything," Long said. "Just a
wonderful victory for the guys."
San Diego State (1-5, 1-2 Mountain West) also snapped a six-game
losing streak dating to last season and avoided setting a record
for the worst start in the school's 86-year football history.
The Aztecs scored a touchdown with no time remaining when Air
Force, trailing 13-12, tried to lateral the kickoff after Palmer's
field goal. Marc Hull recovered the loose ball in the end zone.
Air Force (3-3, 3-1 MWC) took a 12-10 lead with 3:06 left in the
game on a 38-yard field goal by Zach Sasser after facing 4th-and-1
at the Aztecs' 21-yard line.
"I didn't know if we would get the ball back," said Air Force
coach Fisher DeBerry on his decision to kick the field goal. "I
thought we could make it (first down), but if we didn't, you'd be
asking why we didn't kick."
Palmer, who gave San Diego State a 3-0 lead on a 35-yard field
goal in the second quarter, said he never had a doubt about the
"I loved it," Palmer said. "Before I kicked the ball, I knew
it was good. I had already kicked it in my head."
Redshirt freshman Kevin Craft hit Chaz Schilens with a 49-yard
touchdown pass to give San Diego State a 10-3 lead midway through
the third quarter. The play was the Aztecs' longest from scrimmage
Freshman Atiyyah Henderson gained 142 yards on 25 carries for
San Diego State, which overcame its first fourth-quarter deficit
since November 2002.
The Falcons had a chance to tie the game after Jacobe Kendrick
scored on a 9-yard run early in the fourth quarter. But Sasser
missed the extra point. The Falcons were called for a false start
on the first PAT try.
Sasser, who also missed a 49-yard field goal in the first
quarter, tied the scored at 3-all on a 24-yard field goal at the
9:49 mark of the third quarter.