Posts Tagged ‘Aztecs’

And thus the regular season.  And thus the conference season.

Juwan Washington averaged 9.3 yards per carry.  Rashaad Penny averaged 9.2 yards per carry.  Well done offensive line (most of the runs were in between the tackles, so the o-line gets the bulk, pun intended, of the credit).  By 2019, this group of biggies should be one of the best in the nation.

On the other side, a fine game delivered by both Kyahva Tezino (14 tackles) and Tariq Thompson (2 picks for a season total of 5).  A tip of the hat to Bandon Heicklen who had his best game as an Aztec (41.6 yards per punt).

Almost 29,000 in attendance which is not bad given the game was the day after Thanksgiving and the student section empty due to closed campus.

Now a bowl designation awaits.  This will be the eighth consecutive bowl game for the football program.  Dizzying heights.  Sure, playing in the MWC championship game is ideal, but consider our second place finish in the West division as motivation for next year.

10-2/6-2.  Go Aztecs.

 

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As mentioned during my MWC football preview, San Jose State has a lot to fix.  A lot.  New coaching staffs are usually (with Fresno State the exception) a recipe for a long year.  San Jose State’s 1-9 record is proof.  But, Spartan faithful, your new coaching staff will right the football program.  Patience will pay.  Trust me.

Where to begin?  The Aztecs took the words “run” and “rush” to new definitions.  554 total yards rushing is, as an acquaintance says, “bat shit crazy”.  Indeed.  Rather than lob the usual acclaim at Rashaad  Penny and Juwan Washington, I want to applaud the play of Chase Jasmin (14/86, 5.9 yards per rush), Tyler Wormhoudt (7/45, 6.4 yards per rush) and Chad Woolsey (5/23, 4.2 yards per rush).  This trio rushed for 154 yards combined.  Well done.

Our run game allowed us a shining 11/13 on third down.

We did not punt.  Not once.

SDSU had 31 first downs (SJSU had 8).  Christian Chapman and Ryan Agnew were a combined and meager 6/7, yet averaged 15.7 yards per completion.  Thank you, wide receivers and Nick Bawden (nice catch while wearing a catcher’s glove).

The Aztecs had the ball for 43+ minutes.  In case you forgot, 60 minutes makes a game.

On behalf, of the San Jose State punter, he is a draft pick.  Almost 49 yards per punt.  As often as he punts, I’m guessing he suffers from leg fatigue.  Shame on me.

8-2/4-2.  Go Aztecs.

 

 

The simplistic thought process of Kevin Acee’s 6/23/17 UT piece is astounding.  Mr. Acee, long a Soccer City supporter at the expense of SDSU, suggests that Aztec football coach Rocky Long lead the school to the light known as Soccer City (beware of train tracks and tunnels).

Per Mr. Acee’s musings, he insists that Mr. Long must rise in Aztec Warrior gear and smack SDSU administration on its collective helmet to knock sense into all things Aztec.  Key to this dream is Mr. Acee’s reference to Mr. Long once loudly disagreeing with a former athletic director.  A coach, not just football, who speaks his mind?  Who knew?  Believe the vision or else prepare for shouting.

As the article unfolds with alarms, sirens, flashing red lights and general call for panic, Mr. Acee obviously wants SDSU to return to the fleecing of Soccer City whereupon the university would underwrite the annual operating expenses for an MLS squad per agreement with FS Investors.  I think not.

Mr. Acee forgets that FS Investors is under no obligation to pursue an MLS franchise.  Also, MLS has never guaranteed granting a San Diego franchise.  Attaching the future of Aztec football to a potential MLS franchise has all the surety of fog.  Since when does a stadium ranging in capacity from 22,500 to 30,000 satisfy the desire to move up the college football money ladder?  FS Investors development plan physically surrounds the proposed stadium with various forms of development that would make impossible the false promise of stadium expansion.   Moving a multi-story office building slightly to the left to expand the end zone is a non-starter.  SDSU would guarantee itself the proud owner of the smallest MWC football stadium.  The best football team in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.  The most populous city in the MWC gets the smallest stadium.

As Mr. Acee writes of solutions, then he immediately dismisses said solutions.  No viable alternative exists.  All is lost.  The end is, oh, so near.  Only Soccer City saves.  Amen.  Soccer City accepts checks and credit cards.  Tell a loved one.

But, don’t tell Rocky Long.  Rocky will smack you upside your helmet.

 

The inevitable finally arrives.  Dean Spanos leaves San Diego and takes the Chargers with him.  This was as likely as a slow commute on the 5.

Mr. Spanos is worth approximately $2.5 billion.  That is a lot of millions to get to those billions.  Yet, Mr. Spanos refused to gather his bankers, use his lines of credit and reach into his deep, cavernous wallet to self-finance the stadium of his choice.  Rather, Mr. Spanos insisted that San Diego’s hotels and motels finance his downtown dream stadium via a tax increase to be demanded of visitors flocking to America’s finest city.  Of course, the San Diego voting public said, “Nay”.  After all, Arizona folk need an affordable place to stay during the summer.

Mr. Spanos’ best bet was to remain in Mission Valley, knock down the Q and build a shiny new stadium a few feet away.  Alas, this practical resolution was not his dream.  Now the moving vans and trucks are full of football gear, Spanos’ household goods and the disappointment of Chargers’ fans.  The last item is quite heavy.

56 years and adios.  Love ya, miss ya, bye.

Mr. Spanos chose to pay a $550 million relocation fee, host NFL football in a 30,000 seat soccer stadium for a minimum of two years, pray that Chargers fans motor north for three hours to watch bad football and three hours south to complain about bad football, become a tenant-renter-occupant of the Rams for who knows how many years and in the end fail as a L.A. franchise, thus forced into some forsaken section of Orange County.

Now for the good news.

San Diego State University football is no longer attached to the coattails of the San Diego Chargers.  Aztec football journeys alone and is relieved to do so.

SDSU has long embraced the proposal of reshaping Mission Valley.  166 acres of cracked asphalt can at last be transformed into SDSU West, livable space and sizable green belt.  As for the Q, renovate or build a smaller version.  Either option works.

Regarding the expansion of SDSU as a university, I dismiss the morons who have yet to discover or acknowledge that the university engages in biological research, embraces engineering and interdisciplinary sciences and has risen in national academic stature dating back to the days of Dr. Stephen Weber as president of the university and carried forth by Dr. Elliot Hirshman.  SDSU entering Mission Valley offers substantial opportunity to the city, county and regional economy.

Yet, let me not drift from Aztec football.  Whether we partner with the rumored Major League Soccer franchise (paraphrasing the MLS commissioner Dan Garber, “San Diego is more attractive to us” given the Chargers exit) or enjoy the support (money) of the city and county of San Diego accompanied by the influence of CSU and the state legislature leading to an exclusive SDSU football stadium, one is the other.

As for athletic director John David Wicker’s concern regarding seating capacity of 30,000 in the instance of MLS partnership in a new or renovated stadium, let me remind him that portable seating sections have been in use at the Q for decades, so employ that, um, technology to boost Aztec seating to 35,000.  Revolutionary.

The Chargers bolting (sorry, could not resist) provides a rare opportunity for Aztec football.  The long-held complaint of we-need-a-campus-based-football-stadium is soon to be addressed and solved.  The reality of an Aztec football stadium also opens doors long closed to, at the very least, actual consideration of joining another conference.  No, I’m not stating that any such invitation is in the near future.  But, the business of conference realignment is nowhere near complete.  The photo of division one football in 2016 will not resemble the near future reality of division one football as ESPN, FOX, CBS and NBC broadcasting contracts begin to expire.  SDSU football will be best served with a stadium home to Aztec football.

Here’s to the immediate future.

 

 

 

The first quarter was awful.  The start smelled of stale starts against Wyoming and Colorado State.  The SDSU offense was three and out the first three possessions.  The fourth possession featured our first first down due to a Houston defender running into Tanner Blain.  Next, Nick Bawden makes a circus catch for yet another first down.  My heart be still.  Are we playing functional football?  Alas, no.  Tanner Blain punts, yet again.

The second quarter begins with another three and out by the Aztec offense (or what I assumed to be the Aztec offense).  However, our next possession features Donnel Pumphrey’s first substantial run of the game which made way for John Baron’s first field goal (his season long impact cannot be overstated).

As the first half ends, we are down 10-6 which is much better than being on the wrong side of a shutout.  Additional good news was our 5 yards of offense in the first quarter became Houston’s second quarter total.  Change is underway.

Change is Kyle Kelly’s first pick at 14:05 in the third.  Yet, no score results!  Calvin Munson’s interception happens at 5:03.  This stopped a Cougar drive with the ball on the Aztec 30.  And better yet, the Aztec offense scores off the interception, 13-10.

Change becomes deeper with Ron Smith’s interception with 56 seconds remaining in the third.  Plus, his run to the end zone was perfect.  20-10, Aztecs.

The fourth quarter was a continuous Aztec defensive highlight.  Kyle Kelley begins the sack parade.  Donnel interrupts the process by breaking some type of NCAA rushing record.  The number 6,405 was mentioned.  I’m sure I’ll read about this at a later date.

Anyway, sack #2 of the fourth quarter happens at 9:05.  Greg Ward, Jr. is tad woozy and uncertain at this point.  Playing quarterback against a swarm of directed chaos is no fun.

Christian Chapman hits Curtis Anderson for a touchdown of the passing variety.  We go up, 27-10.

Brent Musburger re-states that this game is a match between a “stable coaching staff” versus “better athletes”.  Indeed.  Though, any commentator, observer or maven of college football who believes SDSU is shy of “athletes” should grab his ankles and pull.

Shame on me.

The sacks continue:  9:19, 4:27, 3:59 and 2:57.  In between, Juwan Washington scores the final Aztec touchdown.  34-10.

Finally, Kyle Kelly enjoys interception dos with 17 seconds remaining.  Joy.

Items of note:  We had one more yard of offense than the Cougars (255 to 254).  The Aztec defense allowed an average of 0.6 yards per rush and 3.4 yards per Cougar play.  Impressive.  Houston ran 75 offensive plays.  The Aztecs ran 51.  The 7 Aztec sacks accounted for 51 yards while the 4 picks racked 87 yards and the Ron Smith td.  A healthy crowd of 29,286 watched a dominating SDSU football team.  Plus, the traveling Aztec faithful were quite loud the entire second half.

11-3.  Done.  Bring me next year.

 

 

 

The two game skid comes to a halt.

The key:  The Aztec offense has the ball for 10:24 in the fourth quarter.  As in, Wyoming no-touchy the football.  Very effective.

A deep bow on behalf of John Baron and his accurate foot.  His 20 yard field goal is the winning margin.  Speaking of feet, Tanner Blain blasts 6 punts for an average of 45.5 per punt while landing half of his effort inside the 20.  Nothing like a long field on behalf of the Aztec defense.

As for the Aztec defense, Kyle Kelley chose the perfect time to have the game of his life with 2 sacks and 14 yards lost.  The SDSU defense registered a total of 32 lost yards against the Pokes offense.  A complete reversal of two weeks ago which featured Josh Allen and company marching up and down the field with the help of one short third down after another.  Last night, not so much.  The Cowboys were a lousy 2/14 on third down and 0/3 on fourth down plus their offensive line yielded a total of 4 sacks and 25 lost yards.

Mr. Pumphrey and Mr. Penny had solid games with 110 and 117 yards respectively.  The three touchdowns were more important.  How many teams throw the ball for 85 yards and win?  The Aztecs and nobody.  How many teams lose 2 fumbles and win?  The Aztecs and nobody.  Ugly, effective football.

And we wait for the bowl assignment.

10-3/7-2 (I’m counting the conference championship win as a conference win.  So there).

 

 

The outcome was an old fashioned butt kicking.  Expose butt, please kick.  Repeat.  Repeat.

The Aztecs were ugly, uninspired and unsuccessful.

The Rams took the game from the beginning snap.  The Aztec defense was reminiscent of the pre-Rocky days (those were bad defensive teams).  Nick Stevens, an average qb, was 10/15/210 without a single interception.  Our front three peppered with the occasional linebacker or two could not reach Mr. Stevens.

Do you want more proof regarding Aztec lack of preparation?  Two CSU running backs ran for better than 100 yards each.  Mr. Gallup (well named) caught 7 balls for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Rams were 8/12 on third down conversions (that’s a stunning success rate of 66%).  Ram receivers averaged 19.6 yards per catch.  The Ram running game averaged 6.3 yards per carry.  507 total yards of offense swept by a bewildered Aztec defense.

Enough.

Consecutive MWC losses must not become three.  We have one week to prepare for Wyoming.  Will we make their qb look like a future first round pick or will we meet the challenge of arriving in a bad mood?  Will we contain Mr. Hill or allow him to look like Donnel Pumphrey once looked?

Stay tuned.

9-3/6-2.

 

 

 

South Alabama was the better team.  We were flat and completely unable to gather any momentum.  We were ugly.  Butt ugly.  Let us have no more of this ugliness.

Christian Chapman had his most ineffective game as an Aztec.  13/22/159 is as unappealing as a flat beer on a hot day.  Yuck.  Sure, Christian was rushed (no pun intended) with four sacks and I lost track of hurried attempts which lent to his challenge.  Strangely, when reading our rushing stats, you would think we had a chance which we did.  Donnel’s line was 25/151 for an average of 6 yards per rush while Rashaad was 9/66 which was just shy of 7 yards per carry.  Impressive.  But, we could not score those things called touchdowns.

Recall, we were up 24-21 at the end of three.  Sadly, only South Alabama played during the fourth quarter.  The Aztecs went into self-destruct mode.  We were a 3:00 a.m. Trump tweet.  The fourth quarter featured 1/5 on third downs.  We were 2/10 overall.  Only 10 third downs the entire game.  The first and second quarters registered a whopping 8:39 minutes of Aztec ball possession.  That’s 4:19.5 seconds per quarter.  A perfect time frame for a sputtering offense to remain lost in the fog of incompetence.  Yet, we ran two more plays than the Jaguars (63-61).  The penalty idiocy continues (10/85).  Two lost fumbles.  The aforementioned four sacks.  Ugly.

All of this before mentioning the difficult night of Ryan Simmons.  Until that snap over Tanner Blain’s head, we had a chance.  The chance stopped dead when the long snap stopped rolling inside the five.  Jaguar’s score.  Ugly.

The SDSU defense made the South Alabama qb look like a four-year starter rather than a little shaver making his first start.  Only five incompletions (16/21/242) to go with 3 touchdowns.  He averaged 15.1 yards per completion against the back eight.  He stretched us until we snapped.  Three times.  As for the South Alabama rushing game, they didn’t have one.  89 yards total (2.2 ypc).  Yet, they score 42 points!  Of course, 7/13 on third down creates a lot of second chances of which they took full advantage as I refer you back to the score.

Kudos to the Jags.  They beat us consecutive years.

Now MW play begins.  May the boys be angry and focused against UNLV.  Feel the sting of losing to a team we coulda, shoulda, woulda beat.

3-1.

 

Wow.

A barn burner.  Hanging on for dear life.  Fingers slipping from the edge.

You get the idea.

Among many mind blowing (as far as football is concerned) numbers, please consider the following:

4 plus hours of football (what is this?  A Red Sox/Evil Empire game?).

Cal ran 94 offensive plays.

SDSU had 70 offensive plays (for a game total of 164).

Their qb threw 72 passes (he completed 41).

15 kickoffs.

SDSU limited Cal to less than six minutes of ball time in the second and fourth quarters.

SDSU was flagged 14 times for 105 yards.

Once we took the lead at 28-21, we held the lead; 31-21, 38-21, 38-28, 38-34, 45-34, 45-40.

42,473 butts in the seats without the promise of post-game fireworks (the game was the fireworks show).

A tip of the hat to Donnel Pumphrey for the inevitable run past Marshall Faulk.  The fact Donnel teared up on the sideline is testament to a young man noting his place in NCAA history.

While Christian Chapman struggled, he limited bad decisions to a botched snap and one interception.  14/23 for 129 yards (while averaging just shy of ten yards per completion) was enough production in light of pound and ground for 334 yards (281 of those yards belonging to Mr. Pumphrey).  The offensive line, tight ends and fullback were exceptional.

The defense made plays when all seemed lost.  How do we win when we give up 604 yards of Cal offense?  How do we win when we give up 522 passing yards?  By making three interceptions and returning one for a touchdown.  That’s how.  The old “bend, but do not break” applied.  Trite?  Perhaps.  But, applicable.  Damontae Kazee’s acrobatic pick with seconds remaining sealed the win.  A wild end to a wild ride.

At last, we beat a Rigged 5 team.  A signature win?  I say no.  But, a quality win nonetheless.

2-0.

Yes, a good start.  As mentioned in my SDSU season preview, non-con games at home are often a source of disappointment.  Thankfully, the Aztec defense completely eliminated any semblance of University of New Hampshire (UNH from this point forward) offense.  How complete?

71 rushing yards.  70 passing yards.  That complete.  For good measure, each UNH rushing attempt averaged a meager 2.3 yards while each passing attempt was capped at 3.5 yards.  That is Rocky Long defense.  Also, not once did UNH enter the treasured red zone.  Include 0-14 on third down attempts.  Impressive Aztec defense.

Christian Chapman did quite well with a line of 16/25/283.  Two td passes and zero interceptions.  Christian averaged a respectable 17.1 yards per completion.  Stretching the field makes for a clicking offense.  Eric Judge (5/54) and Mikah Holder (4/160) were the primary beneficiaries of Christian’s arm.   Donnel Pumphrey was well contained by the UNH defense.  Any team that holds Donnel to 98 yards rushing is to be applauded.  I did note that when Donnel ran to the right side, not much happened.  When he ran up the middle and to the left, he was successful.  However, the Aztecs did churn 461 yards of total offense by the end of the game.  Well balanced.

Cal is next.  Here comes the week long moan of not beating a PAC-12 team since the beginning of time or at least the creation of football.  Please stop.  If Donnel runs free and Mr. Chapman has consecutive productive, error free games, we beat Cal.  Recall, they played Hawaii two weeks ago and allowed 31 points.  The Rainbow offense is nowhere near our offense.

1-0.