Winning a bowl game is the absolute best way to end a season. As Texans say, “Yee haw!”

The first quarter the Roadrunners of UT San Antonio were as advertised. Lots of offensive spark and a decent defense. The Aztecs first offensive series was a quick 3 and done. Thankfully, that sequence did not set the tone. Proof, you ask? In addition to the 38 points, I offer 488 total yards of offense.

Lucas Johnson had the game of his life: 24/36/333 with 3 passing touchdowns (2 to Jesse Matthews, who also had the game of his life to date, and 1 to Tyrell Shavers). Mr. Johnson also found time to run for 1 td. 5 appearances in the almighty red zone resulted in 4 touchdowns and 1 field goal.

Greg Bell had his first above average game since the New Mexico game (October 9th for those of you wondering). 101 yards on 26 carries. Good, but not great, though he did assist greatly in running out the clock in the fourth quarter. Mr. Bell ran 9 consecutive carries without mishap leaving the final 2 rushes to Chance Bell, thus eliminating the final 7:13 in the game. Well done.

Returning to Mr. Matthews, wow. 11/175 and above mentioned 2 td catches. He was everywhere. His facial expression was intolerant of loss. Thank goodness.

Next to the win, the highlight of the night was Kaegun Williams making a surprise appearance during a UTSA kickoff which he took for a healthy 52 yards.

The Aztec defense had a bit of an off night. Rare was the hit on Frank Harris, the Roadrunner qb. Giving up 388 total yards was indicative of a slow start generally improved upon as the game continued. CJ Baskerville’s third quarter pick at the SDSU 31 yard line was the defensive moment of the game. Good bye, UTSA drive.

The officials struck me as flag happy. They were quite fond of the little yellow hankie. 14 penalties for 124 yards? C’mon. We were not a band of pirates having a collective bad night.

2021 is a year to remember: 12-2.

Go Aztecs.

USU 46, SDSU 13

Posted: December 8, 2021 in Uncategorized
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We were awful. Worse than the Fresno State game. Far worse.

Twenty players sidelined by C-19 provided a shaky start. Sure, losing Daniel Bellinger and Tyrell Shavers made the offense less impactful. However, starting Jordon Brookshire had more of an impact or non-impact or impact similar to a fender bender all your fault.

Not a single player of note on the Aztec defense was among the twenty C-19 players. The SDSU defense was solid and sound. Allowing Utah State to score 46 points has nothing to do with the Aztec offense. Our defense was somewhere far away from Carson. We dropped four potential interceptions. By the fourth drop, the protestation of the dropee was as old as rotten fish. Catch the damn ball. Of course, not catching passes is why you are not a wide receiver.

The Aztec special teams resembled Clown College: Blocked punts, dropped punts, missed field goals and running about with no apparent purpose was as unwelcome as cold soup.

Returning to my favorite scowl, Mr. Brookshire reverted to his specialty of throwing at shoe laces or far above outstretched hands. The first quarter featured three 3 and outs. He truly set the tone. 11/23/117 was mediocre, and mediocre does not stand during a conference championship game. May he sit during the Frisco bowl.

Watching Jaylen Mayden play (at last) bodes well for next year. 5/6/50 yards and the lone SDSU touchdown coupled with 4 runs for 36 yards is the stuff of effective dual quarterbacking.

Did I mention 120 yards handed to USU via penalties? No? We handed 120 yards to USU due to bad decisions and ill-timed emotion. Great timing for dysfunction. I will not mention the 1/14 on third down conversions. Opps.

We go bowling in Frisco, Texas against UT San Antonio. We finish 11-2. Candidly, at the beginning of the 2021 season, an 8-4/5-3 finish would have thrilled me. I can’t complain. But I do.

11-2/7-1. Ranked #24 in the CFP final tally. Not bad.

Go Aztecs.

SDSU 27, Boise State 16

Posted: November 27, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

A great game for a double digit win (the most recent was October 9 vs. New Mexico, 31-7).

The first half smelled and resembled the Fresno State game. The second half was another story.

I admit I rolled my eyes when Jordon Brookshire entered the game. On behalf of Jeff Hecklinski and Brady Hoke, they didn’t have much of a choice given Lucas Johnson’s poor first quarter and worse second quarter. Mr. Brookshire provided immediate hope with a 30 yard completion to Jesse “I Catch Most Anything” Matthews. The 29 yard td pass to Mr. Matthews quickly followed. I’m walking toward the light of briefly becoming a Jordon Brookshire fan. Briefly.

Jordon’s final passing numbers (11/15/192 and a td) and rushing numbers (9/46 and a td) emerged from dream becoming reality. He and Lucas combined for 20 completions for an average of 14.5 yards per completion. A true partnership.

Plays of note not immediately resulting in a touchdown: Our second possession featuring Daniel Bellinger in motion, then stopping under center to take the snap on third and one to plunge forward for a first down. Next up, our failed attempt at a fake punt with Garret Fountain taking the long snap for a whopping 4 yards. The Brookshire pass to Bellinger in the third quarter on fourth and one resulting in Mr. Bellinger rumbling to the eleven yard line which did set up Greg Bell’s go-ahead td. A few snaps later, Caden McDonald tips Hank Bachmeier’s pass into the hands of Patrick McMorris for his second interception.

Speaking of Mr. Bachmeier, the Aztec defense smacked him about and limited his day to 21/40/222 including Mr. McMorris’ two picks (Dallas Branch sealed the game with an interception of Jack Sears with less than a minute remaining). When Mr. Sears entered the game I had visions of Nick Nash in 2020 and Justin Rogers last week. Thankfully, he performed under duress given the fantastic three man Aztec rush.

Jonah Tavai was absolutely dominant with 3 sacks resulting in 18 lost Boise yards.

Jesse Matthews same as Mr. Tavai, but on the other side: 9/133 and a touchdown.

A few more numbers to consider: The Aztec defense shutout Boise in the third and fourth quarters, and held Boise to a total of 319 yards. The Aztec offense tallied 408 yards for the morning (the start time of 9:00 a.m. was insane). The Aztec defense set a record (I’m guessing) for most offsides in a game. Brady rolled the dice three times on fourth down and succeeded twice. We held the ball for 34:17 to Boise’s 25:43. Most helpful.

Utah State at Carson next Saturday for the MWC championship.

7-1/11-1. Quite the surprise.

Go Aztecs.

UNLV’s defense was to be admired. They played well and then some. They stuffed our run game for a total of 98 yards (if Jordan Byrd does not break off his second half sprint, our run game would have been less than 50 yards). The Rebel defense kept the Aztec offense to 290 total yards. Yet, we won. At times I wonder how and why.

Speaking of defense, the Aztecs gave up a whopping 394 yards of UNLV offense. We made Justin Rogers look like Nick Nash II. Mr. Rogers tormented us coming off the bench. He finished with a line of 15/21/305 and threw two touchdowns. Charles Williams did not torment us. The Aztec defense stuffed him for a line of 16/35 (2.2 yards per rush). Andrew Aleki returning an interception for a first quarter td and Seyddrick Lakalaka picking off Mr. Rogers at the 1:53 mark in the fourth quarter provided the defensive highlights for SDSU. And, yes, Keshawn Banks was offside prior to the snap that led to Mr. Lakalaka’s pick. Win some, lose some.

Lucas Johnson (look at his eyes and facial expression and tell me he does not look like a beach stoner) posted a 18/24/192 and 3 td evening. All while enduring 3 sacks and 1 interception. Jesse Matthews rose from the dust of little use the last few games and caught all three of Mr. Johnson’s td passes. Greg Bell gaining 2 yards on a fourth and one at the UNLV thirteen with 5:35 in the fourth quarter ultimately set the stage for Mr. Matthews third td. Sometimes football is ugly before beautiful. By the way, great call Brady Hoke.

6-1/10-1.

Go Aztecs.

Another pace and worry game. Yeah, I’m one of those guys. Nothing beats a two point win to sooth the mind. Not to forget that Nevada had the ball with 1:21 remaining before Noah Tumblin (who had a rough night) and Patrick McMorris batted down Carson Strong passes that would have resulted in first downs.

The Aztecs final drive started at the 30 and fizzled at the Nevada 17. Close enough for Matt Araiza to hit the winning field goal. Also, a timely catch by T.J. Sullivan for a first down at the Nevada 22 ultimately made Mr. Araiza’s attempt more manageable. I was quite pleased with his evening of three makes, all desperately required.

The halftime stats of 20 yards rushing for the Wolfpack shrunk to 8 by game’s end. Yep, 8 total yards rushing. A spectacular job by Kurt Mattix, his defensive staff and the guys on the field. The Aztec defense “contained” Carson Strong to a night of 34/48/350 for “only” 3 touchdowns. Cameron Thomas and Jalil Lecky chased Mr. Strong thoughout the game and did grab him for 3 sacks resulting in 19 yards backward.

Lucas Johnson continues to improve: 21/34/176 and most importantly no interceptions. Greg Bell returned from a third quarter injury to complete a line of 16/104 (6.5 yards per carry). Elijah Kothe (6/71) and Daniel Bellinger (5/26) were the best of the receivers.

Two games remain. Winning one of the two by double digits would do wonders for me. Think about that idea fellas.

5-1/9-1.

Go Aztecs.

SDSU 17, Hawaii 10

Posted: November 7, 2021 in Uncategorized

We were so-so. Hawaii was less than so-so.

Not many teams win while accumulating a meager 227 yards of total offense. Or featuring 99 yards passing. Or an anemic run game. Or 3.8 yards per play. Or suffering 9 penalties for 90 yards (yep, 10 yards shy of a football field).

Possessing the ball for 34 minutes was handy. As was 4 sacks and 6 tackles for loss that equaled 45 yards. Well done, Aztec defense.

A dreary game in paradise. Though, I’ve visited Hawaii and gave the state a “B”. Sure, the outrage and riots took awhile to quell.

Next week is Nevada. A tough game awaits. If we repeat the above the one repeat missing will be the win.

4-1/8-1.

Go Aztecs.

Bulldogs 30, Aztecs 20

Posted: October 31, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Our first loss. Cold comfort is game eight was our first loss. Nonetheless, boo.

Less time of possession, the Aztec offense for the most part was step for step with Fresno. Consider 165 rushing yards (us) to 179 (them). 23 first downs (us), 24 first downs (them). Red zone touchdowns registered 3/3 (us) and Fresno 3/5. Of course the passing game was no contest. Jake Haener’s 306 yards was far and away superior to Lucas Johnson’s 220. While displaying an ability to throw downfield, Mr. Johnson had the shame of 2 interceptions. Will Haskell piloting the last SDSU drive for a score was a peek into the near future. Jordan Mims ran, walked and skipped through the Aztec defense to the tune of 186 yards rushing. We made him a Heisman candidate.

Fresno outplayed the Aztecs. The first half especially. Not playing four quarters of defensive football was the root of our loss. Kurt Mattix will surely have a meaningful practice Monday morning.

I trust the the boys will be in a bad mood stepping off the plane in Honolulu next weekend.

3-1/7-1.

Go Aztecs.

We had no business playing past game 162. Seattle, Oakland and Toronto were more deserving by playing better baseball the entire month of September. Contrast the Sox’ anemic hitting and bullpen explosions. Yet, we beat the Evil Empire and somehow squeezed past a superior Tampa team before falling to the Astros. Not bad.

What did we learn in 2021? Alex Verdugo is one of the few, and I do emphasize few, hitters who hits opposite the shift. He loves left field and left field loves Alex. J.D. Martinez is a guaranteed whiff on low and away breaking balls. At his age with his success, I find this malady ridiculous. Hunter Renfroe is indeed one of the better right fielders in MLB. Christian Arroyo injures himself while waking up. Rafael Devers is Yaz II with his back breaking swing. While successful, far too many pop ups. Bobby Dalbec should receive a 10-year deal and play first base and only first base. Xander Bogaerts is an 81 game offensive wonder, then becomes an 81 game offensive shoulder shrug. Kiki Hernandez can play almost anywhere. Christian Vazquez needs to lay off 3,000 calorie days. He is a chunk by the end of May and his defense (mainly too many passed balls) suffers into the the late summer.

The following should never wear a Red Sox uniform again and if found in Boston immediately escorted to the city limits: Adam Ottavino (at times, I thought he would weep after a difficult 2/3’s of an inning), Darwinzon Hernandez (I cringed when he would stand in the bullpen), Phillips Valdez (he hit 7 batters in 40 innings) and Austin Davis (why did Chaim Bloom trade a living baseball player for this guy?).

The 2021 Winter To Do List includes saying good-bye to J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber (he is a defensive travesty at first base), and Eduardo Rodriguez, acquiring a large bat (preferably Kris Bryant or Jose Ramirez) and at least one starter of import and not necessarily a free agent. Trades are nice, especially one including Matt Barnes. As for my focus on Mr. Bryant and Mr. Ramirez, I want to see Rafa gently nudged off third base and become more of a dh. Sure, he can play third every now and then, but his true talent lies with a bat in both hands rather than a glove on one hand. 2022’s starting pitching should feature Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck and a couple of guys who didn’t play in Boston in 2021. The 2022 bullpen has Garrett Whitlock closing. Hirokazu Sawamura and Hansel Robles need a lot of company.

Have a swell winter.

What a game, what a game, what a game.

Both defenses were pound city. Smack, hammer, slam and repeat. Get up. More is on the way.

As for the Aztec offense, meh. But, meh was good enough to win. Lucas Johnson was a serviceable 11/13. Though his 72 yards was poor. Yet, I will not complain. Greg Bell did not make an appearance until the 12:30 mark in the third quarter. In his place, Jeff Hecklinski proved a rotation of Kaegun Williams, Jordan Byrd and Chance Bell was more than effective: We gathered the occasional first down, scored now and then, and kept the ball. 229 yards of total offense was bland, but enough.

The SDSU defense was stellar plus. Kurt Mattix is a man with a plan. Swarm to the ball. Hit hard and often. Air Force had a total of 259 yards. Only 192 rushing yards. Wow-wee. Oh, yeah, 4/16 on third down. A deep bow to the Air Force receiver, #0, who dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown. Luck and talent are hard to beat. Keshawn Banks’ second quarter ankle grab of the A.F. quarterback was brilliant. Mr. Banks introduced a new form of “gotcha!”. Dallas Branch’s one-handed interception set the tone for the game. Air Force had the ball with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter and did nothing. By the way, congrats to Mr. Branch, Vai Kaho and Desmond Bessent for joining the starters.

3-0/7-0. Who knew?

Go Aztecs.

SDSU 19, SJSU 13

Posted: October 17, 2021 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

In a word, ugly. Yet, a win is a win.

San Jose arrived ready, willing and able. We arrived waiting for the game to end. The Spartan defense held the Aztec rushing company to 70 yards. Ugh. As in ugly. 240 yards of total offense as well. No more. Thank goodness, Lucas Johnson entered the game to throw two balls to Jesse Matthews for the overtime win (another sign of a lackluster effort by our beloved Aztecs).

I trust Jeff Hecklinski and Brady Hoke have concluded that starting Jordon Brookshire at quarterback is a waste of time, motion, effort, tides, gravity and asking repeatedly “why?”. While Lucas Johnson is a mere step above Mr. Brookshire, he is not Mr. Brookshire, therein lies the advantage.

If you were wondering about the tenacity of the Spartan defense, please consider the following: No Aztec running back averaged more than 4 yards per carry. Greg Bell averaged 2.2. ypc. The Aztec offense averaged barely 3.5 yards per play. However, the Spartans were most generous with various penalties totaling 101 yards in grass and dirt. Thank you.

Matt Araiza saved the day with 7 punts (another sign of poorly played offensive football) for 52.9 yards per whack.

The SDSU defense was a collective “meh”. Yielding 345 yards to San Jose State was unremarkable, boring and grim. Boo.

Yet, we won. Yet, I complain. About a team which has yet to lose. Life is good.

2-0/6-0.

Go Aztecs.