The Aztecs scored again in the third quarter, and Tennessee State spilled Turpen into his own end zone for a safety, but by then the smaller Aztecs had taken their toll on the likes of Tennessee Tackles Tommie Davis (271 pounds) and Claude Humphrey (254 pounds). Cliff Hancock and Fred Dryer slipped through repeatedly to drop Dickey and hurry his passes, while Linebackers Mike Meagher and Jeff Lancaster and Safeties Jim Crossley and Nate Wright clamped down hard on the Tiger receivers.
The game ended aptly with Dickey flat on his back, a trainer over him giving him smelling salts. Moments later Merrit was slouched on a bench in the locker room. "We blew it in the first quarter," he said. "We shoulda broke it open. We didn't, and it inspired them. They never really let us back in the game."
But next door the Aztecs were not exactly celebrating, either. While Coryell talked to reporters, his assistants quickly shook hands all around and then hurried to the door. "Flyin' to Ogden to scout Weber State," shouted Sid Hall in passing. Claude Gilbert and Ernie Zempese were right behind him, bound for Los Angeles and San Francisco.
This had been, after all, only the first game on a harsh schedule for the Aztecs, who cannot duck anybody these days. No. 1 San Diego State now has to make sure it stays No. 1.