SAN DIEGO — For the third straight game, San Diego State played both its quarterbacks Saturday night.
And for the third straight game, the Aztecs lost.
As with the week before, however, the quarterbacks could not be blamed for the defeat. SDSU's defense was defenseless as the Aztecs lost to Oregon, 49-37, before 15,432 fans in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Jim Plum started at quarterback for the first time this year, completing 8 of 15 passes for 72 yards and 1 touchdown with 1 interception. Todd Santos replaced Plum with 6:55 left in the first half and SDSU trailing, 14-7.
Santos, normally the starter, completed 32 of 44 passes for 398 yards and 4 touchdowns with 3 interceptions.
In last week's game, Plum had rallied the Aztecs from a 21-3 deficit in an eventual 39-37 loss to Utah. However, SDSU is finding it impossible to win with a defense that allows nearly a point a minute.
Oregon's Chris Miller picked apart the Aztecs, completing 26 of 37 passes for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception. Lew Barnes from San Diego's Lincoln High had 9 receptions for 183 yards and 1 touchdown for the Ducks.
Both teams have 3-4 overall records.
At the outset, defense was actually keeping SDSU in the game.
Oregon got a second chance on its first possession because of a roughing-the-kicker penalty, but the Aztecs held. Then, after Oregon's Jerry Mikels, from Poway High, intercepted a pass, SDSU turned around and regained possession when Steve Lauter recovered a fumble.
The Aztecs took the lead, 7-0, on an eight-yard pass from Plum to Vince Warren on the second quarter's first play. Mikels deflected the pass, only to have it directed to Warren.
Oregon rebounded to march 71 yards, scoring on Miller's 19-yard scramble.
The Ducks took their first lead, 14-7, on their next possession as Tony Cherry scored on a 21-yard screen pass from Miller. Mario Mitchell of SDSU had been penalized for a late hit on an incomplete pass the play before the touchdown.
Santos was inserted with 6:55 left in the half, but his first play did not go as planned. Chris Hardy fumbled, Oregon's Scott Kozak caught the ball in the air, and he returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
SDSU pulled to within 21-14 on a 66-yard drive that took four plays. Santos culminated the drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Warren in the left-hand corner of the end zone.
Oregon took four plays to score again on a 24-yard pass from Miller to Barnes. On the first two plays of the drive, Barnes had caught passes of 33 and 20 yards.
Again, it was time for SDSU to rebound from a two-touchdown deficit. Hardy scored on a 30-yard screen pass from Santos with 27 seconds left in the half. Guard Dave Audick made the touchdown possible, blocking Oregon's Don Brown to the ground at the 11.
The Ducks decided to go for a halftime lead of more than seven points, and it cost them. Miller had a pass intercepted at the Duck 35 by Lauter, who returned it five yards.
After one more play, Chris O'Brien cut the halftime deficit to 28-24 with a 40-yard field goal. It was the 17th straight successful field goal attempt for O'Brien.
The second half began as the first half ended with plenty of offense and little defense.
SDSU went 80 yards in nine plays, scoring on a six-yard pass from Santos to Webster Slaughter that gave the Aztecs their last lead at 31-28.
Oregon took 13 plays to go 80 yards, getting its touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Miller to Bobby DeBisschop. Barnes had receptions of 10, 15 and 31 yards on the drive as Oregon took a 35-31 lead.
When SDSU regained possession, Santos was sacked for an eight-yard loss by Will Stipanovich on second down. On third down, Anthony Newman intercepted Santo's pass at the Oregon 41. Before the interception, Santos had completed 18 of 20 passes for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The game's next touchdown belonged to Oregon on a one-yard dive by Cherry, providing the Ducks a 42-31 lead with 1:14 left in the third quarter.
SDSU threatened to trim its deficit early in the fourth quarter, driving to Oregon's 28. However, Santos was intercepted by E.J. Duffy on a third-down play with 12 minutes remaining.
The Aztec defense later had a major breakdown on a second-and-28 from the Oregon 44. Scott Holman was left wide open for a 51-yard pass from Miller, and Kevin Willhite scored on Miller's 5-yard pass the next play to give Oregon a 49-31 lead.
SDSU was not finished--at least offensively. Slaughter caught a 5-yard touchdown from Santos the next drive, one play after a 48-yard pass from Santos to Kenny Moore.
While trailing, 49-37, Plum was brought on for a two-point conversion attempt. However, his pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
At least there was something for Aztec fans to cheer about. The loudest ovation came when it was announced that Texas El Paso had beaten Brigham Young, 23-16.
However, there was no cheering the final Aztec score--except for Oregon boosters in attendance.