Air Force 13, SDSU 3

Posted: December 2, 2022 in Uncategorized
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The offensive line returned to pre-MWC form: Plenty of false starts. Five to be exact. If you wonder, “Is anytime a good time for a false start?”, the answer is no. Drive killers, long run snuffers and completed passes reconsidered. All the false starts derailed momentum.

Next, negative one. No, not I’m passing judgement on the emotional character of your friend who bitches about taxes, weather, traffic and parking. Rather negative one was the Aztec total rushing yardage as the game ended. We ran backwards.

Jaylen Mayden was an ineffective 16/31/188 with 2 interceptions (both in the end zone during the fourth quarter). Sleep walking while quarterbacking at best. Between Mr. Mayden and the running (cough) game, we totaled 187 yards. Yep, let’s see, 188 – 1 = 187. Thus our evening and result.

How many teams hold Air Force to 285 total yards and lose? We do.

How many teams allow 14 total yards passing and lose? We do.

How many opponents offer a lousy 36.2 yards per punt, yet the receiving team does nothing? That would be us.

0-10 was . . . ? SDSU on third down.

20:47 was . . . ? The Aztecs time of possession (meaning Air Force had the ball :47 shy of 40 minutes).

All the above on senior night to add insult to injury.

The good news, we travel to Hawaii for a bowl game.

Wait ’til next year.

Go Aztecs.

7-5/5-3

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Aztecs 43, Spartans 27

Posted: November 17, 2022 in Uncategorized
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Another “oh, no” start. 14-0 San Jose State early in the first quarter.

But, wait!

Jordan Byrd returns a Spartan kick for 95 yards. The Snapdragon crowd goes crazy. The Aztec offense finds life. A shot of naloxone, if you will.

Jalen Mayden offered an evening finish with 17/22/268 and 3 tds. Read the line again: 17/22 (including 7/7 in the second half) Only 5 incomplete passes. Impressive. Kenan Christon flashed for 28 yards on 5 attempts (5.6 ypc. Hey, I desperately try to find something positive about our running game. Don’t roll your eyes at me). Tyrell Shaver (4/111), Mekhi Shaw (5/64) and Jesse Matthews (4/57) each caught a touchdown pass. Jaylon Armstead, playing injured, ran for the other Aztec td.

The Aztec defense was once again stout. The boys held the Spartan offense to 28 total yards rushing, 195 yards passing for a total of 223 yards. Yeah, I know, giving up 27 points was at least 13 too many, but those additional 13 points were granted late in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter. Who cares?

45 lost yards via superb Aztec tackling coupled with 5 sacks (3 by Jonah Tavai) was a refreshing result which is never, ever boring. Dallas Branch’s interception was a moment of inclusion on behalf of the back five. At game’s end, Mr. Tavai decided to sack the SJSU qb in the end zone. Evidently, Mr. Tavai had a spare moment.

Go Aztecs.

6-4/4-2.

SDSU 14, UNLV 10

Posted: November 11, 2022 in Uncategorized
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Dallas Branch and Dez Malone each intercept a pass in the end zone. Two UNLV tds evaporate. Whew.

The Aztec defense was stout. 26 yards via tackles for loss, 3 sacks and the above mentioned 2 picks. Also consider, UNLV did not score during the first half. Dare I say, defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix has the attention of his 3-3-5 practioners.

As for the Aztec offense, oy vey. A poor oy vey.

The running game has all but disappeared. Without the return of Jaylon Armtsead, we would have registered 76 yards rushing. For the entire game. Thankfully, Mr. Armstead almost single handedly took the fourth quarter clock from 5:41 to quadruple zeroes by rushing for 56 yards on 6 carries (9.3 ypc!) and creating 3 first downs to cheer on the game clock.

Jalen Mayden was a serviceable, yet still light years better than Mr. Burmeister, 19/31/216 and 2 tds. On his behalf, getting sacked 5 times cannot stand. There’s a joke in there somewhere. Anyway, the offensive line needs to buy Mr. Mayden another couple of seconds. I will point out the o-line receiving only 2 penalties for 15 yards was dramatic improvement compared to any other game this season.

14 points and 4/14 on third down is a meager result for holding the ball 34 minutes. To repeat, a poor oy vey.

Also not helpful was Jack Browning missing his only two field goal attempts. Perhaps he is human.

Go Aztecs.

5-4/3-2

Two games in one. Only one mattered.

Yes, we played a fine first half (21-10). The Aztec defense sacked Jake Haener four times. The Aztec defense corralled Jordan Mims to the point of complete irrelevance. Hard to do given the fact he was a one-man wrecking crew against us in 2021. Fresno at the end of the first half sported 13 total yards rushing, 137 yards passing (150 total yards). The Aztec quarterback Jaden Mayden passed for 78 more yards than the entire output of Fresno State in the first two quarters.

However, we froze in the second half.

Mr. Mayden’s second half passing numbers totaled a disappointing 63 yards. Three first half Aztec scores melted to one in the third quarter and zero, zilch, nada in the final quarter. Pain.

The Aztec defense suddenly found Mr. Haener to be a mystery unsolvable as he finished the game 34/45/394 and 3 tds. The boys continued to hold Mr. Mims to account, but the flying football undid us.

Candidly, any SDSU defense that surrenders 32 points makes the case for woefully unprepared for four quarters of football. Especially the back five who gave two Fresno wide receivers a total of 20 receptions for 269 yards and 3 tds. Yep. Sad, yet true.

Returning to the SDSU offense, the running game continues to border on ineffective and dances close to why-bother? 4.2 yards per carry is the stuff of stale. Remove Mr. Mayden’s 43 yards of scampering, and the Aztec running backs fall far below the pale 4.2 ypc.

Imagine posting 449 yards of total offense, 6/13 on third down and 2/3 on fourth down, then wondering, “How the hell did we lose?” Indeed.

My thoughts exactly.

Go Aztecs.

4-4/2-2

The Aztec defense arrived with a vengeance. The Nevada starting qb was 2/8/11 before sitting down for the remainder of the game. The vaunted Wolf Pack running game finished with 35 yards rushing. The Aztec back eight kept the Nevada passing game below 200 yards (192). Nevada was an awful 3/14 on third down and had the ball for only 25:43. A mere touchdown on blown coverage was the lone Nevada score. Jonah Tavai sacked Nevada qb’s twice. Michael Shawcroft once.

As for the Aztec offense, well, once again mostly missing in action via six false start penalties. Plain old dumb. Hold your water boys. Game seven should (dangerous word) feature an almost flawless offensive line regarding self-inflicted wounds.

As usual, Jack Browning’s foot rode to the rescue. 3/3 and 9 points which should have been no attempts and no points, however the SDSU offense flamed out repeatedly inside the 20.

Jalen Mayden’s 12/25/156 was scattered about to seven different receivers. A step back from his Hawaii line score. One offensive td versus Hawaii was sadly replicated against Nevada. Remove Patrick McMorris’ scamper to the end zone with a Nevada fumble, the final score turns disappointingly tense at 16-7.

Chance Bell was the shining light of an otherwise dim running back performance averaging 4.6 ypc. Jordan Byrd and Cam Davis were 3.1 and 3.0 ypc. Yawn.

How I long for an Aztec game with more kickoffs than punts. Maybe someday.

Go Aztecs

4-3/2-1

Whew!

Nail biter! I can’t believe this is happening! Hawaii scored?! No!!!

Yet, we won. By two. With seven seconds remaining.

Jalen Mayden was as I advertised . . . last year. Me. I said (wrote) so. He is the guy. He was cool, calm, composed, crafty, cagey and cerebral. Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton made enough minor tweaks to route running to allow Mr. Mayden to hit the jersey numbers of his receivers time and again. None of the former throwing to sidelines with a ten percent chance of a reception, thank you very much.

Tyrell Shavers (8/149) , Jesse Matthews (6/68), Brionne Penny (4/54) and Mekhi Shaw (4/28) had a spectcular evening featuring well timed and much needed catches. If the above numbers can be duplicated the remaining six MWC games, the future is bright.

Chance Bell was the only effective running back (7/53) which was disappointing and surprising. Kenan Christon has been a mere blip to date. Jordan Byrd had an off night while Jaylon Armstead continued to nurse an unspecified injury. Cam Davis ran backwards for a three yard error.

Returning to Mr. Mayden, an evening composed of 24/36/322 and no interceptions was exceptional. I believe Braxton Burmeister officially has competition. Thank goodness.

The Aztec defense was meh. They allowed Hawaii 6.1 yards per carry, yet completions averaged less than 10 yards, however those two numbers averaged 5.9 yards per play. Boo. But wait. Hawaii was a poor 3/10 on third downs. Yet the SDSU defense created only 11 yards lost. Meh.

Jack Browning was 3/4 from the grass. He missed a 31 yard attempt with less than five minutes remaining, but hit the one that won the game. Human after all.

Go Aztecs.

3-3/1-1

By all accounts, a nice guy.

However, Mr. Hecklinski’s idea of a quality offensive possession was equivalent to two runs, one pass and a booming punt. A stale result by any measure.

The Aztec offense scored eight touchdowns (five rushing, three passing) in the first five games of the season. Math heads know 56/5 is a weeping 11 points per game. I was kind and included the extra point. Cumulative total offense per play averaged only 4.4 yards. Yes, passing included.

Mr. Hecklinski developed a self-destructive passion for running on third down. This fatal flaw was on full display during the Boise game when he repeatedly called for runs on long third downs to seemingly set up a quality punt to pin Boise as deep as possible on their half of the field. A strategy much appreciated by defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix, but not so much by Aztec faithful . . . and Brady Hoke.

I dismiss the argument that he did not develop quarterbacks. He never had much of a quarterback to develop. Carson Baker (2020) had a lot of quit in him. Jordon Brookshire (2021, 2020) and Lucas Johnson (2021, 2020) were inconsistent on a good day. Will Haskell decided (2022, 2021) he was the man without notifying the coaching staff (though pulling Mr. Haskell after one offensive series against Utah was extreme. And another sign of a lack of self-confidence on Mr. Hecklinski’s part). As for this year, the seven of you who read my posts know my thoughts and feelings about Braxton “Happy Feet and I’m Injured, Again” Burmeister.

Jeff Horton is once again the offensive coordinator (he was Rocky Long’s long time o.c.). Don’t assume the inclusion of Ryan Lindley as quarterbacks coach will ignite a pass happy offense. On the contrary, Mr. Horton loves to run the football. Ask Donnel Pumphrey, Rashaad Penny and Ronnie Hillman. I expect more of a mix of quick passes of the seven to ten yard variety (and not so much towards the sidelines which was another point of ill-preference from Mr. Hecklinski resulting in incomplete passes flying over sideline coaching staffs) along with run, run, run. Will the Aztec offense blossom and average 30+ points per game? Of course not. But, we will have a functioning offense that provides hope in close games.

Go Aztecs.

A tale of two games.

We looked marginally incompetent at the conclusion of the first half enjoying a score of 13-0. The Aztec defense was superb. Our offense was missing in action. We were somewhere over eastern Washington.

Behold, the fiasco of allowing 35 unanswered second half points. The banished Boise qb returned, full of knowledge and ability. Our defense turned to stone. Too much? How about immobile and a step late? Better?

The death knell of Jeff Hecklinski was delivered at volume ten. Braxton Burmeister’s smack to the head (pure targeting. What the hell were the officials watching? Did someone dare utter, “The Boise defender didn’t mean to lower his head in a vicious manner. Plus, he has a kitten”) was intentional, thus knocking Mr. Burmeister out of his third game of five played. Kyle Crum duly had his collarbone broken, thus hurling his fellow true freshman, Lui Aumavae, into the swirling cauldron of inept offense.

My personal highlight was Chance Bell looking skyward to the coaches box after, yet another run up the middle on third and horizon, shrugging his shoulders and mouthing “Really?” Amen, Chance.

Returning to Mr. Aumavae, I sensed a certain spunk, a-la no hesitation from the first snap forward. I hold hope that he will serve well once Mr. Burmeister is again injured and forced to leave each and every remaining 2022 game. Also, I am all in on Jalen Mayden returning to quarterback status. He was my odds on favorite to win the job at the conclusion of the 2021 season. I barely missed.

Finally, another great effort by Jack Browning (10 punts/49.5 per). Without him, tack on a couple of additional touchdowns on behalf of Arizona, Utah and Boise.

Go Aztecs.

2-2/0-1

SDSU 17, Toledo 14

Posted: September 27, 2022 in Uncategorized
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After Toledo scored their second touchdown to go up 14-10, I’m wondering, “When was the last time we started 1-3?”.

2-2 is pure relief.

How many football teams win games when forced to punt 9(!) times? Jack Browning is quickly becoming my favorite Aztec. 6 of his 9 boots landed inside the 20. Pure quality.

I accept the fact we cannot effectively throw the football. My hope that Braxton “Happy Feet” Burmeister would transfer his V. Tech numbers will not see the light of day. He flees far too soon. Alas, he ignores my pleas to stay in the pocket an additional couple of seconds. Jeff Hecklinski needs to emphasize the run. Ground and pound takes the forefront. Stop with the fantasy of Mr. Burmeister completing anywhere near 20 passes. The run game created many a successful year for Aztec football the last dozen, so reload and run, run, run. Jordan Byrd, Jaylon Armstead, Kenan Christon and Mr. Happy Feet collectively ran for 217 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Numbers Aztec faithful can live with. Want to argue? Mr. Burmeister averaged 5 yards per completion. At half time, he had 11 yards passing. Sit down. No more talking. Shhh.

The defense was generally spectacular. 3 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery stuffed many a Toledo hope. Sure, the boys wilted in the fourth quarter, however on their behalf spending almost 32 minutes on the field is less than conducive to sustained perfection. Congrats to former qb, Jalen Mayden who registered 8 tackles while assuming the Aztec position in place of Patrick McMorris. Ta da.

The final SDSU drive with 2:51 remaining was testament to intestinal fortitude and holding one’s water. The two false start penalties with the ball on the 6 yard line was mind blowing. I was expecting the offensive line to line up backwards to enhance the challenge. Note: 11 Aztec penalties for 103 yards of gifts to Toledo is stupid and undisciplined.

I offer a new word: wugly. Winning ugly. You are welcome.

Go Aztecs.

2-2/0-0


Utah 35, SDSU 7

Posted: September 21, 2022 in Uncategorized
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Little to like. I was surprised Utah did not score north of 42 points. 21-0 at the half. Two more Ute touchdowns in the third with 7:30 on the game clock. All signs pointed to butt-ugly. Game’s end, we achieved simple ugly.

The Aztec offense is wheezing. Three games yields north of 20 points once. We are an asthmatic running with cramps on a long jog.

7 points is all we can scrape together in 60 minutes of football. Kyle Crum or no Kyle Crum, the result is wretched. 3.1 yards per offensive play is indeed offensive. Braxton Burmeister seems to have a talent for quick exit against P12 teams. Unfair? Perhaps. I would love to see a repeat performance sooner rather than later of his Idaho State result. Enough of this coulda, shoulda, woulda. Time to score lots of points. Lots would be better than 30 points.

The SDSU dbs were beaten like a slow moving midget in a buffet line. Giving up 4 passing tds is uninspired, confused football. Utah was 8/15 on third downs. 68 offensive plays averaged 6 yards a play for Utah which translates into far too many first downs.

Good news: Jack Browning had another fine game punting the football. 8 boots for 45.6 yards per. 3 inside the 20 yard line.

Go Aztecs

1-2/0-0