Posts Tagged ‘San Diego State’

Mountain Division

Boise State:  Lots to like about the Broncos.  Sophomore Brett Rypien will be a top-10 qb by his senior year.  Devan Demas and Ryan Wolpin will both enjoy a great many more rushing attempts in 2016.  3 of the top 5 receivers return (okay, one of the departed was a running back), thus Mr. Rypien will dutifully and effectively throw downfield to great effect.  Matching last year’s total of 508 points may not be a stretch for Boise in 2016.

Defensively, I anticipate slippage.  Boise will not maintain last year’s 318.3 ypg nor the impressive and mere 20.2 points per game.  Only 13 of the top 20 tacklers return.  True, while not a recipe for disaster, replacing the departed 7 may prove a challenge.

Air Force:  Nate Romine assumes the starting qb role.  Mr. Romine averaged a paltry 47.7 passing yards per game in 2015.  His completion rate was a pitiful 38.9%.  Air Force fans will choose to believe improvement awaits.  However, the ever present irony of Air Force’s seemingly perpetual inability to throw a football downfield is always balanced with their traditional above average running game.  This year they return four of 2015’s top five rushers.  Amazingly, last year’s rushing average of 319 yards per game could increase notably if Mr. Romine struggles with hurling the football in a forward manner.

The defense should improve upon last year’s 355 total yards per game.  16 of the top 20 tacklers return including 9 of their top 10.  Lots of ouch awaits opponents.

Utah State:  Kent Myers returns as the starting qb.  Since Chuckie Keeton is gone, Mr. Myers no longer needs to worry about sharing the position.  However, if Mr. Myers continues to run the football in 2016 as often as last year (85 carries, number three on the team), he may be subject to the injury riddled existence of Mr. Keeton.  Devante Mays and LaJuan Hunt return to run the football proper.  Mr. Mays (5.9 ypc) is the more effective of the two.  However, Mr. Hunt was tied for the number two spot on the receiving list in 2015.  Sadly, that was a total of only 27 catches.  Andrew Rodriguez and Wyatt Houston are the most productive returning receivers.

The defensive result of 2016 could be ugly enough to generate a contest for last place in the Mountain with Colorado State.  Only 2 of the top 10 tacklers return and only 9 of the top 20 overall return.  If the Aggies can’t tackle, last year’s 152 rushing yards per game and 180.5 passing yards per game will increase significantly on behalf of their competition.

New Mexico:  Lamar Jordan and Austin Apodaca return.  Who, oh who, will be the starting quarterback?  Too much time was shared last year.  Confusion reigned?  Only the Lobos know.  I am a Lamar Jordan fan (no offense to Mr. Apodaca).  He provides an element of surprise and is quick on his feet (perhaps too quick given his 147 rushing attempts compared to 118 passing attempts).  The running game features the return of last year’s number 2, 4 and 5 backs.  However, the returning receiving corps features only Dameon Gamblin (last year’s number one).  The rest are gone.  Stretching the field on behalf of Mr.Jordan and Mr. Apodaca will be a struggle.

The defense may be the difference between finishing behind Utah State or in front.  The Lobos return 15 of their top 20 tacklers.  Far more than the Aggies measly 9 of 20.  Included in the 15 of 20 is 8 of their top 10.  Last year New Mexico gave up 437.6 ypg.  Anticipate a significant drop in 2016.

Wyoming:  Gasp!  I’m not predicting a last place finish in the Mountain.  Take that, mavens.  Anyway,  the Cowboys challenge will be Nick Smith improving his numbers to resemble those of the departed Cameron Coffman.  Mr. Smith also needs to reduce his rushing attempts of 45 from 2015 by at least a third (I try to be realistic) and focus more on his receivers.  Speaking of which, his returning receiving corps feature the top four from last year.  If Mr. Smith can throw downfield with confidence, Wyoming will surprise.  Brian Hill and Shaun Wick return as the dasher and bruiser, but look for Kellen Overstreet to spend significant time in the backfield with Mr. Hill.

As New Mexico, 15 of the top 20 Cowboy tacklers return.  9 of the top 10 return.  If the offense offers a late lead, look for Wyoming to upset more than once . . . or twice.

Colorado State:  Why a last place finish in the Mountain division?  Because Nick Stevens throws too many interceptions.  Twelve interceptions dilutes twenty-one touchdowns.  3 of the top 5 receivers are gone (one of the two top returning “receivers” is the running back Dalyn Dawkins).  Speaking of Mr. Dawkins (5.1 ypc), he and Izzy Matthews (6.1 ypc) make for an impactful running game.  In addition to Mr. Stevens tendency to throw errant passes, only one true receiver, Xavier Williams, of the top five returns.  The Rams may run more than desired.

The defense suffers from losing half of last year’s top 20 tacklers.  CSU gave up 390.5 ypg last year.  This year, 400+ is the likely result.  Giving up 30+ points on average is an ugliness to consider as well.  Could be a long year in the Rams’ impressive new stadium.

West Division

San Diego State:  This year’s media darling.  Such a development makes me cautious and apprehensive knowing Aztec football history.  However, a great deal of talent returns on both sides of the ball.  Donnel Pumphrey is silly good.  If he stays healthy, he will annihilate Marshall Faulk’s rushing records at SDSU.  Rashaad Penny will spend more time in the backfield with Mr. Pumphrey.  He is also a considerable talent.  Christian Chapman will handle the quarterback duties.  As long as he sticks to the offensive script, all is well.  The number 1, 2 and 4 receivers from 2015 return.

16 of the top 20 tacklers return.  However, 2 of last year’s starting 3 defensive linemen must be replaced in Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 scheme.  The 5 of the 3-3-5 have years of experience and is a senior dominated group.  Opposing quarterbacks will find no joy staring into the face of chaos.

San Jose State:  The Spartans feature one of the two best returning qbs in the West.  Kenny Potter completed 67% of his passes last year and threw only 7 interceptions in 270 attempts.  The number 1, 3 and 5 receivers return from last year.  Mr. Potter will keep them busy.  However, Mr. Potter needs to drastically reduce his 114 rushing attempts or he may find an unpleasant, angry linebacker guiding him to the ground one too many times.  Tucker Thomas and Malik Roberson should see a sizable increase in rushing attempts in an effort to establish an actual running game.

The defense will be solid and should reduce last year’s 358.5 ypg especially the 200.8 rushing yards there within.  However, if the Spartan defense disappoints, then they slip to a third place finish in the West.

Nevada:  Nevada holds the other top returning quarterback in the West.  Tyler Stewart will determine the success of the Wolfpack.  If he can improve upon last year’s 164.5 passing yards per game, Nevada will give San Jose State a run for second place.  He has the top four receivers from 2015 returning along with the number one running back.  However, proven back up at the quarterback and running back positions is unavailable (or unknown.  Which ever you prefer).  A key injury will be painful.

The defense will likely be anemic.  A mere 11 or the top 20 tacklers return including only 4 of the top 10.  The 405.4 ypg will increase in 2016.  Good luck to the Wolfpack offense as they hope to keep their defense off the field.

Fresno State:  Could be a long year for the Bulldog faithful.  They lose a massive section of last year’s offense.  If they struggle to score, UNLV could finish in front of them.  If they struggle to score, coaching changes will occur.  Whomever wins the quarterback spot from the trio of Kilton Anderson (poor 2015 numbers under the proof of 157 passing attempts), Chason Virgil or Ford Childress will need to find the top 3 receivers returning from last year’s team on a regular basis if this squad wants to score.  Much like the qb spot, the running back position is full of doubt and the unknown.  If the qb position struggles and the running game is inconsistent, Fresno State fans will be in for a long year.

The defense should at least play near last year’s disappointing level.  The Fresno State defense gave up in excess of 200 yards in both rushing and passing each game.  14 of last year’s top 20 tacklers return, though they lost numbers 1, 3, 5 and 7 in the top 10.  Good luck.

UNLV:  I criticized the hiring of Tony Sanchez from the high school ranks to coach a division one football program, and was I wrong.  Mr. Sanchez did a fine job during his first year.  I look for improvement in year two.  If he had a better returning quarterback, I would choose the Rebels over the Bulldogs, but ’tis not the case.  Throwing the ball downfield to good effect will be a struggle.  Thankfully, UNLV returns last year’s number 2 and 3 rushers.  The number 4 rusher returns as well, but he’s the returning qb, Kurt Palandech.

Much like Fresno State, if their defense does no more harm than last year, be thankful.  Only 13 of their top 20 tacklers return.  Let’s say lots of opportunity awaits those who did not play much last year.

Hawaii:  So much is wrong, but at least they fired Norm Chow.  Now this team has a chance to get better.  Yet, nothing will be easy.  Ikaika Woolsey returns after a disappointing 2015. He completed a mere 49% of his passes and averaged not quite 70 yards passing per game. The good news is the top three running backs and receivers return for 2016.  If Mr. Woolsey improves or is replaced, hope lingers for the Hawaii offense.

The returning defense will be challenged all season long.  3 of the top 10 tacklers return and only 6 of the next 10 return.  Hawaii gave away 35.6 points per game last year.  Hope for the same this year and enjoy the relief.  Gonna be a long year in paradise in 2016.

 

Candidly, a good old fashioned butt-kicking.  The Cincinnati Bearcats never had a chance.

What is a great way to start the game?  Let’s have Rashaad Penny return the opening kickoff 100 yards (more like 105 from where he caught the kick in the end-zone) for a touchdown.  Mostly untouched.  Sweet.

We score each quarter.  We do not attempt a single field goal because putting the ball in the end zone is as easy as putting cheese on a burger.  Dakota Gordon scores not once, but twice.  Once by land, once by air.  Plus, Dakota is the leading receiver with 4/58.  A well deserved exit.

As impressive as Dakota’s scores were, Alex Barrett’s interception (Merry Christmas) returned for a churning 43 yard touchdown was a thing of beauty.

Christian Chapman’s 8/11/113 with, again, no interceptions, was serviceable if unspectacular.  Donnel Pumphrey’s 16 yard toss means more competition at the qb spot in 2016 . . . kidding.  336 total yards on behalf of the offense generates a surprising 35 points (Mr. Barrett excluded).  Squeezing production from every yard produced.  Nicely done, Coach Horton.

As for the other side, consider the Bearcats do not score until the end of the fourth quarter, they are reduced to six punts, suffer three interceptions and register a mere 279 total yards of offense (including a meager 77 yards rushing).  Well done, San Diego State defense.

The results that matter:  11-3.  10 straight wins.  A perfect October, November and December.  Oh yeah, winning the west division (undefeated) and Mountain West championship game.  Do not forget undefeated in MWC play.  Am I missing anything?  Probably not.  A superb year.  Let the success settle.  Get ready for 2016.

The San Diego State Aztecs are a bad football team.  We are inept and ill prepared.  Five sacks, four fumbles, three of which were lost and the inability to catch a punt is indicative of a football team searching for its collective soul.

I, again, call for the end of Maxwell Smith’s reign as starting quarterback.  10 for 29 is not an Aztec quarterback.  Another anemic performance (and I’m being polite).  While acknowledging he was sacked five times, those sacks emphasize Mr. Smith’s lack of mobility that in turn results in an astonishingly bad 242 total yards of offense.  This is Aztec football?  Christian Chapman eludes some of those sacks because he can move from side to side, step into the pocket and actually run forward.  Mr. Smith was the primary author of 6 yards gained in the first quarter.  6.  The number found between 5 and 7.  In the second quarter, he revved up the offense to 72 total yards.  Feel the excitement.  Why does Rocky continue to start Mr. Smith?  Why does Jeff Horton remain blind to the need for change?  Finally, when a starting quarterback’s longest completed pass is 31 yards, the defense stuffs any and all attempts to establish a running game since the first seven guys can stand at the line of scrimmage and wave “hello” to Pumphrey, Price, Penny and Gordon.

Our field position was so bad that Donny Hageman was not handed a single field goal opportunity.  We converted a lousy 5 of 17 third down opportunities.  Boo.

8:16 represents the Aztecs time of possession for the entire first half.  Unbelievable.  In the second quarter, we had the ball for less than 4 minutes.  Incredible for the wrong reason.

The defense played better than the Cal and South Alabama games, but we continue to allow too many big plays especially on the back-end of the secondary.

Mountain West play begins this weekend.  We stumble into MW town with a 1-3 record looking disheveled, dirty and disoriented.  We haven’t played well the entire four games leading to MW play.  Cold comfort can be found that the rest of the West division played about as poorly as we did in non-conference games.  Fresno State and their loyal hordes of fans (yes, I’m jealous) roar into the Q next Saturday.  Candidly, the Aztecs must steam roll the rest of the schedule for any chance at a bowl game.  I trust change is underway and we will see a mobile, smart, redshirt freshman by the last name of Chapman directing our offense that will finally resemble an Aztec offense we can recognize.

So much is sad and disappointing about the title.

Losing.

At home.

In overtime.

To South Alabama.

We should be 2-1, alas, coulda, shoulda, woulda.  Or wish in one hand while spitting in the other.  You get the point.

I wrote assuredly of our able defense at the beginning of the season.  I watched a pathetic, patchwork Aztec defensive effort yield 511 (!) total yards of offense on behalf of South Alabama.  Xavier Johnson averaged 7.5 yards per carry.  All 19 of them.  Our defensive line was of little effect.  Our linebackers overwhelmed.  Need further proof?  South Alabama scores on passing plays of 46 and 57 yards while also enjoying a lengthy touchdown run of 74 yards.

Maxwell Smith must sit.  Mr. Smith makes poor decisions, is absolutely immobile and fails to register any SEC seasoning on the field.  12 for 26 is not an Aztec quarterback.  Consider the 5 of 16 third down conversions.  Against South Alabama.  We cannot and do not move the football.  305 paltry offensive yards the entire game speaks to an anemic offense at best.  Finally, during the fourth quarter, San Diego State had the ball for better than 9 minutes.  We scored once.

Happy Valley will be a sad place for Aztec fans this Saturday.