Posts Tagged ‘Cal’

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.

 

First, the good since the game wasn’t all bad.  The Aztec offense had the ball for 34 plus minutes.  Granted, we did little to nothing with the ball, but we at least possessed the ball.  Tanner Blain had 4 of 9 punts land inside the 20 yard line.  Plus, Mr. Blain averaged 40.6 yards per boot.  Rashaad Penny had a rushing line of 5/34 for better than six and a half yards per carry.  So much for the good.

Now for the bad.  The flags were flying.  Each time offensive momentum seemed to build, behold, the yellow flag.  12 penalties for 136 yards stops a lot of momentum.  5 personal fouls (a couple seemed less than devious, though bad football cannot be explained away by less than average officiating) indicates an unprepared team.

During the third quarter, Cal found their running game.  Daniel Lasco and Vic Enwere (especially) ran through the San Diego State defense like a fat man cutting a steak.  Both Mr. Lasco and Mr. Enwere averaged 6.5 yards per carry.  Both these gentlemen were well acquainted with the Aztec defensive backs because those five were all that stood between Mr. Lasco and Mr. Enwere consuming more yardage.

The combined efforts of Maxwell Smith and Christian Chapman resulted in 14/32 for 173 yards with 2 interceptions (one each).  After the impressive first drive that resulted in the only SDSU score, Mr. Smith returned to his USD game demeanor:  largely ineffective.  Mr. Chapman displayed impressive mobility coupled with bad decision-making.  Aztec coaches Long, Horton and Morgan must decide between Mr. Smith’s 10/19/136 or Mr. Chapman’s 4/14/37 performance to determine the best season solution at the quarterback spot.  I’m not a fan of rotating quarterbacks, though I’m sure none of the above mentioned coaches care.  While my prior posts have shown a clear preference for Mr. Smith to be the starting quarterback, I now find myself lobbying on behalf of the more dynamic (he can run when he needs to) Mr. Chapman, youth be damned.  Candidly, when the Aztecs register a grand total of 325 offensive yards and a long pass of a pathetic 33 yards, let us lean decidedly to the future development of a redshirt freshman.

Speaking of total yards, our lauded Aztec defense was awful.  Specifically, Damontae Kazee and Malik Smith were less than stellar.  While the blitz was occasionally effective, our lack of defensive pressure allowed the Cal quarterback far too much time far too often.  Yet, I do not offer that fact as an excuse for our bad pass coverage.  Allowing 485 total yards on the road or home or anywhere is further proof of an unprepared defense.

Thus, game two.

As for next week against South Alabama, beware and be prepared.

 

 

 

Aztecs be concerned.  37-3 should be a time to expand the chest and walk about in pride.  But, not this game.  While not calling for fear, do find substantial pause for thought.

Granted, the defense was tremendous.  But, they should be tremendous against USD.  Holding the Toreros to less than 200 yards total offense deserves praise.  As does five picks.  As does two defensive touchdowns.  A great first game against a team that did not have a chance (no offense, USD).

And now for the concern.  Maxwell Smith was awful.  I mean Nick Bawden awful.  9/21 with an interception.  100 yards.  Sailing the ball past wide open receivers (and tight ends and running backs) all night.  Mr. Smith was appallingly ineffective.  Further proof (do you need any?) includes the 6/14 on third down conversions.  Against USD.  Please.  The offensive line must improve quickly.  As in the next few practices prior to Cal or we score no more than 10 points against the Bears.  The Aztec offense generated a measly 305 total yards.  Boo.  One offensive touchdown.  One.  Our defense outscored our offense.  Say those words again.  How about the 15 first downs?  Put up 15 first downs against any other opponent, even South Alabama, and we lose.  Badly.

Speaking of offense, thank you, Donny Hageman.  3/3 from 33, 36 and 37.  Confidence.  Perhaps the rest of the offense will consult with you.  Charge a fee.

To those of us sporting those ugly rose-colored glasses, lose them.  Stomp on those distorters (new word).  Smash.  Grind into the asphalt.  Say, “grrr” while doing so.  Very little to cheer about this effort.

On behalf of the 48,785 (a third of whom wandered in during the fourth quarter to discover a football game in progress), thank you.