Archive for October, 2015

Dominating.  Absolutely dominating.  Both sides of the ball.  Firing on all cylinders and all other similar analogies apply.  Utah State’s first three offensive possessions:  3 and out, lost fumble, 3 and out.  The tone was set.

The defense was punishing.  Kent Myers was crushed, slammed and treated badly by the Aztec defense.  After Fely’s hit in the second quarter, Mr. Myers took a while to return to form.  He was playing with, um, great hesitancy.  Mr. Myers finished 8/19/93 yards.  The SDSU defensive line was camped in the Utah State backfield.  Keeping the lid on the USU offense to the result of 14 points was testament to a job well done.  The Aggies were a mere 3/11 on third down conversions.  Na’im McGee had his best game of the year with 10 tackles.  Domantae Kazee’s first half hit that removed the USU player’s helmet was an early exclamation point.  So much to enjoy.

Donnel Pumphrey (23/181), Chase Price (21/97), Rashaad Penny (10/38) and Dakota “I Don’t Like To Be Tackled” Gordon (3/18) enjoyed great blocking on behalf of the Aztec offensive line and receiving corps to the total of 336 rushing yards.  As mentioned in the San Jose State post, the return of Darrell Greene has solidified the o-line.  He was missed.  The Aztec offense scored three of four quarters including 14 fourth quarter points.  7 of 8 red zone opportunities resulted in scores.  Solid football.

Yes, I’m giddy.  Especially contrasted against the horrible 1-3 non-con start.  4-0 and sitting in first place in the West division.  Ah, what a view.  Bowl game number 7 in a continuing series seems (never assume too much) to be close enough to touch or at least contractually say “yes”.  Colorado State on Halloween awaits.  Fort Collins’ psychotic weather enters the equation along with the altitude.  Will we be greeted by snow?  Blizzard conditions?  Fifty mile an hour winds?  A balmy afternoon in the mid-50s?  Game time in Fort Collins is always intriguing.

 

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Three consecutive games of unbelievable defense.  Comprehensive in every sense of the word.  Less idiotic penalties, dare I say, perfect?  Perhaps I’m gushing, but the complete shut down of the offenses of Fresno State, Hawaii and San Jose State is impressive, awe-inspiring and downright wow.

Let us review the complete San Jose State beating:  35 yards rushing.  The much mentioned Tyler Ervin was held to 31 yards in 17 carries.  Mr. Ervin certainly had his opportunities.  SJSU rushing attempts yielded 1 yard per rush.  1 yard.  36 inches of grass and dirt.  As for the air, 113 yards passing.  That equates to barely 8 yards gained per completion.  Whether by foot or by air, the Spartans averaged less than a first down.  4 sacks (16 for the year), 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.  Applause, and lots of it, for the Aztec defense.  An Aztec defense without Dakota Turner and Trey Lomax.  An Aztec defense that featured J.J. Whitaker losing his mind via assaulting a Spartan wide receiver, thereby receiving the obligatory personal foul (this stuff must stop.  9 flags for 76 yards is stupid).  An Aztec defense featuring true freshman Ronley Lakalaka subbing for Jake Fely in the second half.  148 yards of total offense allowed by this stellar defense.

Darrell Greene’s return to the offensive line was notable.  Nothing against Robert Craighead, but Mr. Greene knows the business of blocking and pummeling his defensive opponent.  Addressing the obvious, Mr. Greene’s presence related directly to Maxwell Smith’s comfort.  While I continue to find astounding Mr. Smith’s lack of air production, he was much more a quarterback than any prior game.  10/14/144 is, again, serviceable.  No picks is extra nice.  The running game was almost as phenomenal as the SDSU defense.  Donnel Pumphrey (20/153) and Chase Price (10/47) led the way to the end zone and impressive drives.  However, I found at least one of Donny Hageman’s field goals should have been a touchdown (okay, two of his kicks should have been touchdowns), but I find confidence in his 3/3 evening via his foot.

Speaking of feet, Tanner Blain was NFL good by landing all three punts inside the fifteen, two of which were inside the ten.  Well done.

3-0.  Utah State is next.  The Aggies destroyed Boise State.  Not a team to be taken lightly.  Thankfully, at the Q is helpful.  The run continues.

 

Having roundly criticized Maxwell Smith for better than a month, I now congratulate him on an unspectacular, yet solid effort against Hawaii.  11/15, 1 touchdown, no interceptions and 184 yards is serviceable.  However, my call for change continues.

Donnel Pumphrey was stellar especially playing with the dread high ankle sprain.  3 touchdowns cures a lot of injury.  218 total yards rushing is testament to the offensive line getting a whole lot of push.  Congrats to Curtis Anderson, III for leap frogging four teammates to receive playing time and make his first catch of the year.

The Aztec defense was superb.  4 sacks, 2.5 by defensive linemen (Jon Sanchez, Christian Hayward and Noble Hall), was a job well done.  Ending the last two Hawaii drives in the fourth quarter with interceptions (Damontae Kazee and J.J. Whitaker) took what little momentum and/or hope retained by Hawaii.  The Rainbow Warriors (we can do better in the nickname/mascot category) were held to a total of 53 rushing yards and 251 total offensive yards.  Nice job, Aztecs.

2-0 in MWC play.  Change nothing.  Except the quarterback.

Yeah, a win is a win is a win.  But, the San Diego State offense remains a memory.  Distant memory.

You’re asking yourself, why so glum?  305 total rushing yards.  400+ total offensive yards.  Do the math.  Therein lies my complaint.

Congrats to Donnel Pumphrey prior to injury for 23/129.  Chase Price certainly delivered as much with 27/151.  Dakota Gordon had a fullback kind of game with 5/34.  Well done.  The offensive line was pushing the Bulldog front four off the line the majority of the game.  8/18 on third down conversions is definite improvement.  As was having the ball for better than 37 minutes.

The Aztec defense was marvelous.  6 Fresno State first downs.  89 total offensive yards including an unheard of 12 yards rushing.  Wow!  1.9 yards per play.  0/12 on third down.  10 punts.  The defense was stellar, almost perfect and a sight for sore eyes.  Thank you.

However, not mentioned in the offensive summation above is another stale and unimpressive performance delivered by Maxwell Smith.  5/12.  Yuck.  How and why Rocky Long and Jeff Horton continue to purposefully turn a blind eye to Mr. Smith’s lack of quarterbacking skills is beyond me.  Candidly, at this point in the season, I wonder how he ever threw for significant yardage during his Kentucky days.  Again, please escort Mr. Smith to the sideline . . . permanently.  Christian Chapman needs a chance to display the ability to avoid a sack as well as connect with an open receiver on a regular basis.

If Aztec faithful want smash-mouth football, we have exclusively that brand of football.  Those of us who remember the days of footballs flying downfield for 50+ yards at a time are feeling rather lonely and uncomfortable.  Especially during the game in our near future during which the running game is corralled.

1-0.  The MWC table run begins.  I hope.