Archive for November, 2020

Such a promising start. Two first downs during our first possession. Then, the old backward, not quite forward, pass does us in, but the Aztec defense kept the Wolfpack out of the end zone and they settled for a field goal. Our next possession featured a march downfield and a Lucas Johnson run for a touchdown. Not bad.

The remainder of the first half was Aztec touchdowns followed by Nevada field goals less their lone touchdown. 21-16 us at the half was feeling quite winnable.

Until our offensive line decided blocking was optional. You want proof? Here is the proof: 5 (!!!!!) consecutive three and outs during our first five possessions in the second half. Punt city. Zero push from our offensive line into and beyond the Nevada defensive line. Not a single Nevada linebacker required laundry service at game’s end. No stains here.

Among other second half shortcomings, consider (1) Lucas Johnson’s fall down sack (nobody touched him) early in the fourth quarter; (2) Carson Baker’s return, which resulted in the fifth consecutive 3-0. Mr. Baker’s body language featured all the energy of a snail on a cold day; (3) Nevada’s four down, first and goal that resulted in the go-ahead score (and final score) courtesy of a missing Aztec defense (who, by the way, allowed the Wolfpack a lovely line of 5/5 in the red zone and 4 whole yards in tackles for loss).

Hope reared its ugly head with Darren Hall’s interception (as a side note, Mr. Hall simply could not keep up with Romeo Doubs the entire afternoon). The Aztec offense lined up on the Nevada 26 with a minute plus remaining. Nine plays later, the game ended. Nine plays to find 26 yards plus one more. Nope. Not happening.

Final damning evidence of an offense flawed and missing: Both Bells (Greg and Chance) averaged less than 4 yards per carry. Jordan Byrd averaged 1 yard per carry. We were 2/11 on third downs. A performance worthy of a pair of crutches.

3-2. Go, Aztecs.

SDSU 34, Hawaii 10

Posted: November 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

Return to Aztec normal.

The TV broadcast was not available. I happily returned to the voice embrace of Ted Leitner. Dear Uncle Teddy. Any football broadcaster who uses the phrase, “What the bleep is going on?” deserves praise. Sure, I missed watching the spectacle of whomping Hawaii, but the listening pleasure is salve enough.

The first touchdown was a two play beauty featuring Jordan Byrd (61 yards/8.7 per rush) sprinting to the end zone. The second score, courtesy of Greg Bell (175 yards/8.4 per rush), took one play. Defensively, Kurt Mattix was firing one blitz after another resulting in a fumble (recovered by Hawaii) and impossible field advantage with a sack for -9 yards with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Good times.

Thus the tone was set. Run, run, run, run coupled with jaw smashing defense. Segun Olubi’s interception returned for a score, and a 28-0 lead, reminds us that the scoring burden does not rest solely with the Aztec offense. Thank goodness, because Carson Baker was awful. 4/13/30? Yep. Disappointing, but true. Do recall with a 28-3 lead in the fourth quarter, we had a first and goal courtesy of a Hawaii fumble at their 10 yard line. Brady and Jeff decided to run once, run twice, run a third time before trotting out Matt Araiza to kick the field goal. Not a single pass. I believe Mr. Baker needs to rebuilt as quickly as possible. Yes, Lucas Johnson (51 yards rushing/11.8 per rush) provided direction the last 12 minutes of the game, but he did not attempt a single pass. ’tis not a recipe for a healthy offense. Quick! Name the sole wide receiver/tight end with a catch. Elijah Kothe. Further proof of required repair.

Returning to Mr. Mattix’s defense, please digest the following: Hawaii averaged 1.9 yards per rush, 6 yards per reception, less than 4 yards per play, 3/17 on third down and 8 punts. Almost forgot the 7 sacks for a total loss of 64 yards. You are welcome, Aztec offense.

3-1. Go, Aztecs.

Spartans 28, Aztecs 17

Posted: November 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

Guess what happens when the o-line finds blocking to be optional? We lose. Sure, Caden McDonald knocked out the Spartan starting quarterback the fifth play of the game. I welcomed his replacement, Nick Nash (cool name), with full knowledge that the Aztec defense would torment him deep into the Carson night. Wrong. He did the tormenting. Who knew that a #2 qb finishing with a line of 16/25/169 would be the second coming of offensive glory. 169 yards in the air was all it took to keep our defense on the field and San Jose State in the end zone. Which team is supposed to lose: The on that gains a total of 298 yards (them) or the one with 392 total yards (us)? We were feeling generous.

Returning to our offensive line, one rushing attempt after another yielded little to nothing. Greg Bell finding, stumbling, falling forward for 111 yards was pure torture. Chance Bell fared worse averaging 2.6 yards per carry. Carson Baker was sacked not once, not twice, but three times. Further proof a lost job description courtesy of our o-line. Candidly, scoring 17 points was an achievement.

Jordan Byrd needs to retire as our punt returner. Please.

Tanner Kuljian was one of the few bright spots with 4 punts for an average of 45.8 yards. Jesse Matthew (6/139) and Daniel Bellinger (4/49) also deserve kudos.

2-1. Go, Aztecs.

An old fashioned butt kicking.

10-7 at the half was cause for hand wringing and cursing (plenty). Matt Araiza missed consecutive field goals! What the hell? Okay, the first miss was partially blocked, but c’mon, Superman never fails. Mr. Araiza proves to be human. How dare he. Regardless of Mr. Araiza’s misses, we were first half incompetent when attempting to deliver the football to the end zone.

Behold! The second half begins and the Aztec offense arrives with a blistering performance. 28 points are added to the score board. Greg Bell (161 yards, 7.1 per carry), Chance Bell (98, 9.8) and Jordan Byrd (1 carry for a 78 yard sprint touchdown. My, that will inflate the old yards per carry) enjoyed the hard work of the Aztec offensive line. Carson Baker improved on his UNLV performance with a line of 18/27/163 with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kobe Smith (seemingly a good half foot taller than the Utah State cornerback assigned to stop him) had 6 receptions to lead the other seven who had at least 1 catch. Game’s end featured 570 yards of offense! Of course 71% of those yards were courtesy of the run. Dare I say, the offense has returned.

Utah State did little to nothing all night. Zeroes were notched for the first, third and fourth quarters. The Aggies registered small numbers in passing (112 yards) and rushing (103 yards). They were 3 and done on 6 separate occasions. Their punter was busy (7 punts) and weary. During the first and third quarters, USU did not move the ball to the 50 yard line meaning the Aztec defense was top notch consecutive games. Kurt Mattix calls an excellent game from the booth. May he be Rocky Long II.

As a side note, congrats to Tanner Kuljian on his first punt as an Aztec. 58 yards in the thin air of Logan, Utah. Lucas Johnson also stepped on the field for the first time during the last drive for the obligatory hand-off parade to end the game.

2-0. Go, Aztecs.