Head football coach Gary Patterson has said it is his philosophy that a football team only needs to win a game by one point. On Saturday, the third-ranked Frogs (11-0, 7-0 Mountain West Conference) won by just five points, their smallest margin of victory all season, with a 40-35 win against San Diego State University.
“The one point is just to win,” Patterson said. “Because if we would have lost 42-40 I don’t think anyone would have been happy, so for us I think 40-35 was a win.”
Patterson said the medical status of offensive line coach Eddie Williamson put the team in disarray early.
Williamson suffered a heart attack at the beginning of the first quarter and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Williamson was released from the hospital on Monday in good condition, director of media relations Mark Cohen said.
Senior wide receiver Bart Johnson said the team said a prayer for 10-year coach Williamson at halftime, and the thought was always in the back of his mind.
“After that…we had to go out there and focus for sure,” he said.
Johnson said that SDSU was one of the best teams the Frogs played this season, and the margin of victory did not make a difference in the win.
“Any win for me is a good win…because the end of the day it says 11-0 up there, not 10-1,” he said.
Senior safety Tejay Johnson said SDSU was a great football team and that the Frogs were fortunate enough to come out victorious.
“We always talk about winning by one point, and the one point is we’ve got to win; that’s the only stat that really matters,” he said.
Though the team maintained its perfect record, the Horned Frog defense struggled to hold SDSU (7-3, 4-2 MWC), allowing 12 more points in just one night against the Aztecs than it had allowed in its six previous MWC games.
“We don’t very often give up 35 points in this house,” Patterson said.
During the game, the Frogs were behind for only the fifth time this season when they went down 14-0 early in the first quarter. The last time the Frogs trailed was against SMU in late September.
Bart Johnson said that the Frogs came out flat and weren’t playing how they needed to play.
“We just had to keep our heads up and keep chopping,” he said.
During the fourth quarter, SDSU got past the first-ranked TCU defense and scored two more touchdowns.
“We don’t really feel like towards the end of the game we played TCU football,” Tejay Johnson said.
Senior quarterback Andy Dalton was unavailable for comment after the game and said he didn’t want to talk, Cohen said.
The top four in the BCS remains the same this week, with Oregon and Auburn leading at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, and Boise State trailing closely at No. 4 behind the No. 3 Frogs.