Archive for November, 2015

Who knew?

After a horrible, expectation deflating 1-3 start, we run the Mountain West table to finish 8-0 in conference.  Never thought this would or could happen.  Did not cross my mind (but not much does).

Nevada arrived ready to play even in light of the poorly managed announcement of their offensive coordinator accepting the Hawaii head coaching job.  Best to keep such changes quiet until after the game is played.  Maybe next time.  The first half was tit for tat.  The SDSU defensive backs, less Malik Smith (a stellar first half effort), gave up far too much yardage via Wolf Pack passing schemes that reminded me of Air Force’s sneak-behind-the-defensive-backs strategy.  Regardless, Nevada scored 14 points.

Long before the second half arrives, along with improvement, so does my much called for replacement of Maxwell Smith.  But not in the fashion delivered.  Christian Chapman played well.  6/9 for 44 yards and handing the ball off with extreme abandon (kidding) while rushing for 29 yards himself gives pause for thought.  Dual threat?  We will know more after December 5th.  However, on Mr. Chapman’s behalf, he played the entire game from the 7+ minute mark in the first quarter forward.  Only 7 of the eventual 31 points were scored prior to his arrival.  Donnel Pumphrey (23/157) was certainly irked by comments from a Nevada defensive back.  I want to thank that young man for angering Donnel to another great game.  Chase Price (19/118) ran like a player who knows the end is near.

The Aztec defense had 4 sacks and 2 picks.  Just another day at the office.  The notable Wolf Pack running duo of Don Jackson and James Butler were held to 3.1 and 2.5 yards per rush respectively.  The Nevada offense gained a mere 10 first downs.  Perhaps most telling was the 1 for 6 effort in third down conversions during the fourth quarter.  A tip of the helmet to the Aztec defense for finding itself in the second half.  Also, no second half points allowed.  All this without the injured Christian Heyward.

We will host Air Force for the first Mountain West Conference championship game and rightfully so.  Undefeated teams should host games, not teams with two conference defeats.  I feel better.  Air Force is always a concern given their offensive sets and general intense play.  A tough bunch.  For the moment we enjoy an overall record of 9-3 to accompany the 8-0 MWC record.  First place in the West division.  An eight game win streak.  What shall December 5th bring?

Advertisements

I’m in Pacific Beach at a dive bar formerly known as The Green Flash restaurant which was once a nice place to eat, but I digress.  The reason I’m in the dive bar formerly known as The Green Flash is because finding an Aztec football game in a bar in Pacific Beach (San Diego) is evidently a tough trick.  I left my hotel room (okay, the Pier) just after 7pm because past experience dictates finding a bar in Pacific Beach with the Aztecs on one of how many televisions blasting away is a tough trick.  Do not consider the fact that we were 7-3/6-0 prior to broadcast.  Doesn’t matter.  After wandering up and down Garnet and Mission for twenty minutes peering into various drinking establishments in hope of catching C-CBS on a television screen, I decide to hit the board walk.  Lo and behold said dive bar that was once The Green Flash restaurant holds my beloved Aztecs on a couple of their wall hung (don’t go there) television sets, monitors, whatever.  I’m five minutes late, but nothing’s happened.  The bartender cheerfully informs me that if I want a drink, wander over and let her know.  Quality joint.  But, they had C-CBS.  Or were at least willing to admit as much.

Now for the game.

Five rushing touchdowns.  The Aztec front-five were marvelous.  Complete domination of the UNLV defensive line.  Hats off to our tight ends as well.  The UNLV linebackers were as ineffective as their defensive line.  Countless moments of UNLV front seven running into each other because of being pushed backed by SDSU blockers.  Donnel averaged 9.9 yards per rush.  Enough proof?  I hope so.  Our average field position during the first half was somewhere in the UNLV locker room.  Maxwell Smith had another serviceable game:  11/17/107 and game nine without an interception (perhaps the best stat of all).  7/7 in the red zone continues a trend of scoring when expected.  I believe we are 94% for the year in the sacred red zone.

The defense allowed 80 yards rushing.  Great.  But, the 270 yards passing was shockingly bad, especially against a team without their starting quarterback.  Something to work on this week prior to Nevada arriving.  Seven sacks was impressive as was 21 points off turnovers.

8-3/7-0.  Nevada arrives after giving away their game to Utah State.  Play for pride?  I don’t know.  The Wolfpack coach doesn’t strike me as a motivator.  The Aztecs can finish the season undefeated in MWC play with a win over Nevada.  That is motivation.  Air Force waits for us in the MWC championship game.  To think that this would have happened after a 1-3 start is frankly stunning.  Reversal of fortune through hard work, belief and a quality coaching staff.

 

38-3, Aztecs Over the Cowboys

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

The dominance continues.  The Aztec defense is a close to perfect as a defense can get.  Wow-wee.  62 rushing yards (less than 2 yards per rush) allowed.  129 passing yards allowed.  5 sacks.  Wyoming was 1 for 13 on third down conversions.  All Aztecs played well.  “Flying to the ball” was in full force.

The tone was set in the first quarter as San Diego State had the ball for better than 10 minutes.  The tone was reset in the fourth quarter as the Aztec offense had the ball for 9+ minutes.  Refreshing to see mostly mistake free football given the 3 penalties for 40 yards.  Much better than recent games.  Keeping our wits about us and not letting emotions drive bad decision-making.  6 for 6 in the red zone.  25 SDSU first downs compared to 12 for the Cowboys.  Well done.  Maxwell Smith registering 12/19/138 and 3 scores is further proof of maintaining a sense of consistency.  By the way, another game without an interception.  Of course, the running game was another fine version of pound and ground.  Chase Price scoring twice and generally running over Wyoming defenders was a pleasant sight.

7-3/6-0.  A bowl awaits.  I don’t care which one.  May the bowl chosen pay well.

Oy, the first half was ugly.  Or to paraphrase Redd Foxx, so ugly, we were hit with the ugly stick.  Why was Jeff Horton running the majority of plays to the Aztec right?  One stuff after another.  We could not block on our right side the entire half.  No momentum was developed less the opening drive (which was nice).  Malik Smith loses his mind during the second quarter.  Rocky should have removed him from the game.  Mr. Smith was completely out of control.  Shame.

Speaking of shame, 13-10 at the half.

We finally arrived to play in the second half.  Maxwell Smith produced his best game as an Aztec quarterback.  11/14/180 yards.  No interceptions.  Plus, he averaged just shy of 13 yards per completion.  Not bad.  Donny Hageman nailing a 54 yard field goal was a team boost.  Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny both averaged 6 yards a carry.  Mr. Penny looked especially impressive against the CSU defense.  Dakota Gordon rumbled (all fullbacks rumble) for 52 yards on 4 carries.  The offense provided the most  balanced performance of the season.

The Aztec defense started poorly, but ended well.  Three picks.  Damontae Kazee returning his interception for a touchdown was a spear to the Rams offensive heart.  The back seven allowed the Rams a paltry 7.3 yards per completion.  A solid second half effort.  During the first half, I’m wondering “who are these guys?”  Thankfully, they disappeared.

Next week is our off week.  Soak the bumps and bruises.  Enjoy next Saturday.  Grab some sand.  Three MWC games remain.  5-0 in conference play is stellar.  Wyoming rolls into the Q Saturday, November 14.  The Cowboys feature an above average running game.  However, as long as Rocky keeps the boys focused, I’m leaning towards a 6-0 Mountain West result.