Archive for the ‘SDSU’ Category

Troy Calhoun is an angry man.  I cannot recall a head coach yelling at officials as often as Mr. Calhoun.  As is heard at the beach, “Chill, dude.  Have a fish taco.”

For most of the game, I thought Cole Fagan, the Air Force fullback, would beat us single-handedly.  Mr. Fagan had a superb game.  Thankfully, he did not beat us.

The Aztecs played lucky football.  Ryan Agnew was showing his lack of experience with one bad decision after another.  The stumble into the Aztec end-zone for a safety was pure high school freshmen football.  I was waiting for Jeff Horton to pull him and re-introduce Christian Chapman to the offensive line.  Yet, while 9/25 with an interception is indeed awful, Mr. Agnew, through the good graces of his receivers, averaged almost 24 yards per completion.  Of course, a blocked punt via Kaelin Himphill scooped by Tariq Thompson for a touchdown is almost required to win ugly.

Among other low lights was John Barron finally missing a field goal.  Rare.  2/12 on third down conversions.  84 yards total rushing.  13 first downs.  The offensive line struggling to block the Air Force front seven the entire first half.  The lightning strikes and delays, delays, delays.

Winning ugly is better than any brand of losing.

5-1/2-0.  Go, Aztecs.

 

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Ugly was pretty.  Who knew?

The first half featured the Aztec offense wondering what game was played?  Hockey?  Softball?  Tennis?  Why is the ball weirdly shaped?  We could not have looked and played with more incompetency.  Bad is a compliment.  Seemingly, false starts were the order of the day.  We had, I don’t know, 14, 26, 37 false starts.  Sure, I exaggerate, but my point of an absent offense is well taken.  You are welcome.

The good news:  We won.  Fred Trevillion caught the first pass thrown to him.  And did not have a single drop the entire game.  New horizons for Fred.  Chase Jasmin gained the most grueling 78 yards of his life.  He left the game limping (not good news).  His pinball bounce move in the fourth quarter set up Jordan Byrd’s 72 yard run.  Without Chase reversing course, a different outcome emerges.  Kobe Smith can catch punts.  Luq Barcoo is good.  Depth charts don’t mean much to Rocky.  Darren Hall, Connor Mitchell and Damon Moore enjoyed many minutes on the field.  Darren recorded a pick and Damon a sack.  Zidane Thomas had two carries (his first carry was during our third offensive possession of the game.  You think I don’t notice).  He is the fifth running back on the almighty chart.  Who needs starters?

God bless, John Barron.  Without him, we are an average football team hanging our hat on fourth and whatever.

In addition to Darren Hall’s interception, I applaud Tariq Thompson and Ronley Lakalaka for good hands.  Kyahva Tezino will provide nightmares for Brett Rypien the remainder of the season.  Kyahva delivered many a body shiver.  Brandon Heicklen was booming the ball.  He averaged 44.9 yards on 8 punts.  Well done.

I was surprised by Boise not attempting an onside kick after the missed extra point with 5:07 remaining.  Thank you, Boise coaching staff.

As for the numbers, the Aztec defense held Boise to an average of 2.9 yards per play.  Boise had 2 rushing yards at the end of the first quarter.  At the half, they had a total of 72 yards of offense.  The Broncos ballyhooed passing game stalled at 8.1 yards per catch and a slight 178 yards for the game.  If I told you before kickoff that the Aztecs would have 9 first downs and 267 yards of total offense, you would have asked, “Did we lose by two or three touchdowns?”

Thank you, Rocky.

4-1/1-0.

Go, Aztecs.

 

 

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Darren Hall’s (fr-rs) interception during overtime sealed the deal.  Well done, Mr. Hall.

Yet, I remain concerned about the Aztec back 5.  All too often, Eastern Michigan had receivers two and three steps behind our safeties.  Shades of the Stanford game.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Guess how many rushing yards EMU had at the half?  20.  That’s all.  20.  Overall, the Aztec defense was superb.  The “bend, but do not break” phrase fits well.

Chase Jasmin (so) had a fine game.  He’s better than I thought (at least this early in the season).  Chad Woolsey (sr) played a number of snaps at the fullback spot.  Joining Mr. Woolsey for playing time with the football was Elijah Kothe (fr) and Kobe Smith (fr).  Both caught a couple of passes for 16 and 27 yards respectively.  Looking forward, Fred Trevillion is the only receiver to leave at season’s end.  I believe we will finally enjoy both depth and talent at the wide receiver spot this year forward.

Ryan Agnew (jr) was serviceable.  Or less delicately, he did not stink, though the interception before halftime was ill conceived.  I remain impressed with his ability to tuck the football and run.

And, of course, I must not be remiss about John Barron’s night (granted, the one field goal he missed would have been the margin of victory at the end of four quarters).  Three makes including the ot shot not only created the win, but kept us in the game.  Mr. Barron is one of the best in the nation.

The three game homestand ends.  Not a single game was pretty, but 3-0 is no cause for complaint.  By the way, the middle of the field was mostly dirt by game’s end.  Time to break out the green paint.  Organic, of course.

3-1 into the bye week.  Not bad.

Go, Aztecs.

 

The Cardiac Kids are alive and well.  This year’s team is exhausting.  Couple our need to take the last two games to the wire with a start time of 7:30 p.m. (this game), and I’m whipped.

The offensive line was in fine shape.  Sure the occasional breakdown and holding call (we would have scored 35 points!  Keep your hands to yourself, big guys) flared.  When Zach Thomas went down during the second quarter causing Dominic Gudino to take the right guard spot, I’m thinking, “Well, let’s see if the o-line firms or collapses”.  Firm was the outcome.  Juwan Washington averaged 5.1 per carry, Chase Jasmin (definitely the #2 guy behind Juwan) averaged 5.9 per carry and Ryan Agnew (he has speed Christian Chapman can only dream of ) averaged 4 yards per carry.  No other proof is required as to the effectiveness of the big guys.  The second half was 21 plus minutes of pushing, shoving and being generally unpleasant with the Arizona State defense.  The Sun Devil defensive line and linebackers were torn and frayed.

Ryan Agnew’s 12/24/129 seems paltry, but his three consecutive completions to B.J. Busbee (welcome to the field of play) and Ethan Dedeaux (twice) was part of a 6/9/77 sequence which tied the game at 14.  Not bad for a first start.

John Barron from 54 had enough on the ball to have nailed a 65 yard attempt.  WOW!  17-14 will never be as impressive again.

Kyahva Tezino had a fantastic game.  He was everywhere less the stands selling popcorn.  I must admit concern about Kyree Woods.  He gave up too many completions.  Without improvement, I see either Luq Baarcoo, Jeff Clay or Darren Hall taking his spot.  ASU was picking on Mr. Woods for a reason.

The Aztec defense, less my concerns about Mr. Woods, gathered momentum during the second half.  ASU had the ball in the third and fourth quarters for a total of 8 minutes and 54 seconds.  At the half, the Sun Devils had 254 yards of total offense.  At the end of the third quarter they tacked on an additional and whopping 13 yards (yawn).  Well done, Aztecs.

Kudos to SDSU administration for the SDSU West presentation so kindly aired by CBS during the game.  I choose to believe this notice was especially effective coupled with a win over a ranked rigged 5 school.

In addition to B.J. Busbee (fr-rs), congrats to Jordan Byrd (fr), Shane Coleman (fr-rs) and Keshawn Banks (fr) on substantial play time and bright futures.

2-1.

Go, Aztecs.

 

Where to begin.

The first half had a pall.  Sure, 7-0 was pleasant, but the inability of the Aztec offensive line to block outside the tackles, especially to the left, was forcing Juwan Washington to run up the gut (with gusto), and nowhere else.

To speak of “to the left”, Tyler Roemer (left tackle) and Daishawn Dixon (left guard) were repeatedly unable to hold blocks during the first half.  Boo.

So, Jeff Horton calls up the gut plays . . . and we score.  Juwan ran for 20+, 10+, 40+, 6-ish, then a td.  Kudos to Dominic Guidino, Keith Ismael and the afore criticized Mr. Dixon for plowing openings galore for Mr. Washington.

Stanford goes three and out.  We follow with seeming momentum until Isaac Lessard is flagged for a chop block, thus we punt.  Boo.  However, during this sequence, Ethan Dedeaux (r-fr) catches a pass (in other receiving news, Fred Trevillion dropped his first opportunity, thus enhancing the legend of Hit Me On My Number And I Drop My First Pass Trevillion).  Mr. Dedeaux is one to watch  and offers Christian Chapman dreams of 60% completion rates.

Stanford scores two points via a hesitant safety by the officiating squad.  The head ref (forgive my lack of football referee knowledge) seemed to need a tutorial in signaling the safety call.  Perhaps because the call was crap.

Prior to this bit of neighbohood football officiating, Chase Jasmin spelled Mr. Washington, thus received his first dose of competitive, non-wipe out football.  He did so the next set of downs as well (and gathered a rushing first down).  Yes, this is Jeff Horton taking a look under the hood for future reference.  Howl all you want about why-was-Juwan-not-in-the-game.  I don’t care.  Many Aztec fans deplore this side of Mr. Horton, but I offer my inestimable support (incredibly valuable.  Much like your drunken friend cheering you on during a fight . . . that you are losing) in preparation for the MWC schedule.  You know, what really matters.

Then comes the Noble Hall moment.  Mr. Hall catches a batted football and decides to emulate Juwan Washington (mistake).  Rather than tucking the ball with both arms securely against his midsection, he assumes the spirit of Mr. Washington, and has the ball poked out of his arms into Stanford possession, which allows the halftime score of 9-7.  However, I disagree with Rocky that this moment was a game changer or momentum shift.

The first possession in the third quarter features Mr. Dedeaux catching another pass from Mr. Chapman.  Unreal.  Based off of last year.  And the year before.  However, we punt.

Stanford scores by and large because of consecutive penalties on the Aztec defensive backfield.  Boo.

Coach Horton then displays what could be an actual passing game.  The one where receivers catch passes from Christian Chapman.  I offer, Mr. Trevillion, Mr. Dedeaux, and Tim Wilson, Jr making consecutive catches.  Mr. Trevillion makes another catch.  John Barron hits a field goal.  16-10.  Not bad.

As Stanford works towards another score, I find comfort with the fact that Bryce “Heisman” Love has done nothing.  The Aztec defense has face stuffed him all game long.  When Stanford goes horizontal, they do so with nothing to show.  Yet, when they throw vertical, our defensive backfield is at risk.  The Stanford receivers stepped in front and made catches.  They out jumped us and made catches.  Thus, the Aztec defensive weakness.  But, better to have one weakness than many.

Remaining Aztec highlights of the third and fourth quarters feature another 40+ run by Mr. Washington and catches by Mr. Dedeaux and Mr. Wilson, plus a nine yard run by Chase Jasmin.  We had a chance to score during the Dedeaux-Wilson-Jasmin sequence, but our o-line gave up consecutive sacks of Mr. Chapman.  Again, boo.

As we move forward, the Aztec offensive line needs to ignore the media praise.  The big guys need to prove their collective worth.  Sustain your blocks and protect your quarterback.  The defensive secondary must stay stride for stride with taller wider receivers or face similar results via this 31-10 loss.  And, STOP WITH THE PENALTIES ALREADY!!!!.  Over 100 yards?  C’mon.  Parker Baldwin had a career game.  Juwan Washington is the real deal.  We seem to have the beginnings of a passing game.

Next is Sacramento State at home.  Fireworks await.  I want a shutout (okay, I’ll accept a single digit) of Hornet offense.  Pound and ground, then stretch the field.  May Fred Trevillion catch the first ball thrown to him (I may pass out.  Get it?).  Deliver good basic football without a field’s worth of penalties.

Aztecs, 0-1.

Eleven to go.

 

 

This game was Catch-22.  Nothing made sense, but the outcome . . . because this game was Catch-22.

One team generates 429 total yards in 86 offensive plays while the other crawls to 263 total yards.  One team holds the ball for 34+ minutes.  The other 25:33.  One team is an impressive 8/17 on third downs.  The other a pathetic 1/14.  And, for further consideration, that team with 263 yards, 25 minutes of possession and 1/14 on third down punts the ball 10 times.  That team wins.  How?  Why?  Who cares?  We won.  But, we should have lost.

What saved us was 3 interceptions for 127 yards (almost half of what the Aztec offense, um, created) and 1 touchdown along with 4 sacks for 30 yards.  That is 157 yards of defense which is far more than half of what the guys with the football are supposed to do.  Do note, the defense kept NIU out of the end zone in the fourth quarter.  A great time to be effective.

We went from zero penalties against Air Force to a staggering 10/126.  The refs were not pro-Aztec.

Congrats to Dominic Gudino starting in place of Antonio Rosales at right guard.  Congrats to Andrew Aleki covering the NIU fumble in the first quarter that led to a Rashaad Pennuy touchdown the next play.  Congrats to Collin Andrews for joining Tim Wilson and Isiah Macklin in the redshirt-freshmen receiver rotation.

Dakota Turner returns as if he had never missed a snap.  Well done, Mr. Turner.  Jay Henderson had the game of his Aztec life.  And did we need that game.

35,717 in attendance.  Not bad when the opponent is a MAC team.  By the way, if Northern Illinois does not win the MAC, I will be most perplexed.  These guys are good.  A bowl game awaits.

5-0/1-0.  Go Aztecs.

 

No excuses for the absence.  Wasn’t too busy, too distracted, too anything.  After the Boise game, meh took over.

Meh to not scoring touchdowns.  Meh to field goals instead of touchdowns.  Meh to watching the Broncos run wild in the fourth quarter.  The Aztecs should have been north of 40 on the score board, but our inability to find the end zone once inside the twenty was more than obvious.  Said shortcoming was painfully obvious.  With this loss, bowling looks highly unlikely.

As for Air Force, a little better.  Just a little.  Two more offensive touchdowns at a minimum.  30 points should have been 44 points.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda.  I don’t know how Rocky Long and Bob Toledo solve this inability to score six rather than settle for three (or nothing).  Bowl eligible, sure.  Bowl invite, I do not believe.  Even with a lopsided win over San Jose State this Saturday, bowling seems like whistling in the wind or dark or underwater.

The Aztec defense was superb.  Holding Air Force to 3.4 yards per rush, 329 yards in total offense, posting zeros three of four quarters and forcing 3 (!) fumbles and 1 interception was incredible and proof of a great team effort.  Calvin Munson was having a fantastic game long before the interception returned for a touchdown.  A couple of nice moves as well.  Perhaps Pump was paying attention.  Christian Heyward filled in nicely for Alex Barrett.  Between Barrett and Munson, we have the anchors for the 2015 Aztec defense.

One last thought on a bowl game:  In a perfect SDSU world the final weekend of MWC play yields a UNLV upset of Nevada (battle for the state of Nevada and all that, plus the Rebels would love to blow up what is left of the Wolfpack’s season), Hawaii stuns Fresno State (Norm Chow is out the door.  I’m no fan, but maybe the Hawaii players give him a good-bye gift of a win) and, to make us look as good as possible, Colorado State pounds the Cadets (a final line of 8-4/4-4 for Air Force might make a bowl committee think twice?  I’m reaching.  I know).  First and foremost, we beat the Spartans, hopefully, by an impressive margin, and the rest takes care of itself.  Never a dull moment with the Aztecs.