Lucas Johnson Dominant as No. 24 San Diego State Beats UTSA in 2021 Frisco Bowl

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 22, 2021

FRISCO, TX - DECEMBER 21: San Diego State Aztecs quarterback Lucas Johnson (7) passes during the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl game between UTSA and San Diego State on December 21, 2021 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Lucas Johnson completed 24-of-36 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 24 San Diego State Aztecs football team beat the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 38-24 in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl on Tuesday from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Wide receiver Jesse Matthews caught 11 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns for the Aztecs, who scored 17 unanswered points to turn a 14-7 first-quarter deficit into a 24-14 third-quarter lead.

Running back Greg Bell added 26 carries for 101 rushing yards and one score. Johnson also added 15 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. The final TD was courtesy of wideout Tyrell Shavers.

UTSA quarterback Frank Harris completed 22-of-36 passes for 271 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He found frequent targets in Zakhari Franklin (eight receptions, 89 yards) and De'Corian Clark (six catches, 72 yards), both of whom scored touchdowns. Brenda Brady rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

San Diego State maintained position for nearly 38 minutes as its successful ground game and explosive passing attack led to 489 yards from scrimmage. The Aztecs also managed to get 31 first downs without committing a turnover.

Clark opened the scoring with this leaping grab to put UTSA up 6-0:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl @FriscoBowlGame

A better look at <a href="https://twitter.com/UTSAFTBL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UTSAFTBL</a> 1st TD in the 2021 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. <a href="https://t.co/yu3RiDCKPp">pic.twitter.com/yu3RiDCKPp</a>

Matthews' first TD helped tie the game at seven, and he earned the 20-yard score after successfully diving for the pylon:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl @FriscoBowlGame

A better angle at <a href="https://twitter.com/AztecFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AztecFB</a> 1st TD. <a href="https://t.co/dXlKjFmRPP">pic.twitter.com/dXlKjFmRPP</a>

UTSA countered with a two-yard Brady run:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl @FriscoBowlGame

2nd TD for <a href="https://twitter.com/UTSAFTBL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UTSAFTBL</a>. <a href="https://t.co/2yRkuHxpeX">pic.twitter.com/2yRkuHxpeX</a>

However, Johnson went right back to Matthews for his second score of the game. Following the PAT, this one was tied up at 14:

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl @FriscoBowlGame

2nd TD for <a href="https://twitter.com/AztecFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AztecFB</a> in the 2021 Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl. <a href="https://t.co/M1Y3Me9EjC">pic.twitter.com/M1Y3Me9EjC</a>

The Aztecs went up for good when Matt Araiza kicked a 33-yard field goal to end the first half.

SDSU got the ball to start the second half and ended a six-play, 48-yard drive with a one-yard run from Bell.

UTSA answered with a Hunter Duplessis 41-yard field goal, but the relentless SDSU attack responded when Johnson found Shavers for a 24-yard touchdown and a 31-17 lead post-PAT.

Harris found Franklin for a three-yard touchdown to make it a one score game as time expired in the third quarter, but the Aztecs closed the scoring in the fourth when Johnson ran it in from two yards out with 9:51 in regulation remaining.

San Diego State ended its season with a 12-2 mark. It was an excellent year for the Aztecs, whose accolades include a 33-31 triple overtime win over eventual Pac-12 champion Utah.

UTSA capped its tremendous season, which saw the Roadrunners win its first 11 games and earn a Top 25 Associated Press poll ranking for the first time in the program's short history, which runs back to 2011. The Roadrunners finished the season at 12-2.