Posts Tagged ‘SDSU’

Where to begin?

The Big-10 is the beginning, the end and whatever religious chant you want to invoke. No incense, though. Makes me sneeze.

Reading the agreement, $7.5 billion seems the minimum for B10 schools. I assume/forecast/know that the B10 will invite two more schools. Thus, the large end of the contract drifts towards $10 billion. Stop for a moment. Whether $7.5 billion or $10 billion, we speak of an astronomical, beyond the stratosphere, amount of money connected to college football. Couple theses billions of dollars with NIL money, and many a B10 athlete is sitting on a pile of money. Good for them.

The four participants: B10, FOX, CBS and NBC all deserve applause. The B10 commissioner, Kevin Warren, is a forward thinking man. Demanding a triple play of B10 games beginning at noon (Eastern Standard Time), followed by 3:30 p.m. and culminating at 7:00 p.m., or in Mr. Warren’s words “owning windows”, makes the contract groundbreaking. Of course, a new level of alcoholism will blossom as many a college football fan will revel in potentially 10.5 hours of football each and every Saturday from September through early December (bowl games are another conversation). A friend owns a beer store in suburban Philadelphia. He expects sales to increase and impress. Bottoms up and wallets empty.

NBC joining the parade was a surprise. Wed to Notre Dame football was/is smart, but far too confining in the media world of college football. Do know that N.D.’s agreement to accept a raise of $60 million per year was not an extension of the NBC contract, rather a butt pat for a job well done. Anticipate the Irish scheduling more and more B10 games at the expense of their pseudo relationship with the ACC. Please note, I speak solely through the voice of football.

CBS momentarily two-times the SEC (oh, the fury). CBS choosing not to renew their contract with the SEC was mind numbing, yet ultimately acceptable in light of their B10 inclusion. Imagine the indignation of the SEC nation at the reality of continuing Saturday 2022 and 2023 broadcast time with the floozy CBS! Concubine! Yet, SEC fans will tune into CBS until the bitter end.

FOX owns approximately 60% of the the B10 Network. Now they own so much more. FOX on Saturdays, with plenty of B10 games to offer, will receive the majority of love and cash from viewers, media and advertisers. L.A. kids wearing not only USC and UCLA gear will adorn themselves in Ohio State and Michigan shirts, hats, apps, shoes and whatever else is floated via algorithm. Southern California will become more and more confused.

Returning to the spurned SEC, fear not. The entity is angry and seeks revenge. The B10 better than southern football? Never! CBS dating, promising, sending flowers since 1996 suddenly turns away? Die, you bastard! ABC/ESPN (remember, one is the other) now pays $300 million annually to assuage the tender feelings of SEC football. SEC, baby, you remain beautiful, yet furious. A southern woman spurned feels no end of rage until she says otherwise. The ACC beware. The SEC will hunt your ranks for additions. Clemson and Florida State are the two most likely to receive invites. Perhaps others as well. Those of you who wield the shield of grant of rights agreement need to embrace “out of court settlement”. We speak of money, not pride, not tradition. The ACC may be as brittle as the Big-12 and PAC-12. Finally, will the SEC go bold and copy the B10’s coast to coast presence? The ACC is the portal to the east. How far west? Beyond Texas? Beyond Arizona?

The term “Power Five” must be removed from the lexicon of college football. The Two is now the standard. The B10 and SEC far outdistance the ACC, B12 and P12. Along with The Two, how about the Trailing Three?

The P12 is teetering on the edge of extinction. I know, who would have thought? Yet, USC and UCLA bolting for the B10 is the stuff of legend which will ultimately lead to the collapse of the P12. Candidly, I assumed Oregon would couple with USC, however, the southern California media market dwarfs the Eugene media landscape. Who knew? USC will compete in the B10. UCLA will join Rutgers and Indiana at the bottom. By the way, the UC system demanding an explanation from the Bruins regarding their P12 departure is truly stupid. Money, people. Money. Next objection? Speaking of cash and the P12, the annual pay received by USC and UCLA via the B10 is an amount only dreamed of by P12 schools.

The inevitable exit of Oregon and Washington implodes the P12. Both schools exit long before any other combination of P12 schools. To where, I know not. B10? B12? The ACC in a desperate move to remain on par with the B10 and SEC? I give marginal consideration to both Arizona schools joining the B12. Arizona has the academic aura, but not the football machine. Arizona State provides the opposite. I discount the conversation about Stanford and Cal (especially) receiving an invite from the B10. Utah and Colorado joining the B12 makes sense, yet both media markets are limited, but in the case of Utah, joining BYU in the B12 captures the vast TV market of the state of Utah. Yes, a smart ass comment. The two most likely what-the-hell-happened survivors are Oregon State and Washington State. Their respective egotistical nightmare scenario is nowhere else to go but the Mountain West. Trauma! Emergency response!

And now, what about San Diego State University? My beloved Aztecs. If George Kliavkoff, P12 commissioner and Larry Scott doppelganger of do nothing, but look busy, casts his net before further B12 expansion invites are delivered, the Aztecs join the P12. A big “if” given the B12’s Brett Yormark efforts to keep the conference within sight of the B10 and SEC. Is a Mr. Yormark issued invite possible? Yes. The Aztecs possess the last and final presence in the southern California college football media market. If the B12 wants a West Coast team or if the P12 wants to retain a kinda-sorta L.A. market, SDSU provides the opportunity. Snapdragon stadium offers a cherry on top to any conference considering the Aztecs. So does a 7-2 mark against P12 schools dating back to 2016. If both conferences pass on the Aztecs, life goes on in the Mountain West. With the Beavers and Cougars along for the ride.

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
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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.

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.

I will complain first. Yes, you know who remains my subject of complaint and concern. At some point, our talented running game will not be enough to secure a close win. Passing will be required. Specifically, the type of passing featuring completed passes. Not overthrowing, under throwing and plain old missing badly passing. The first quarter was a testament to how not to complete a pass. “Do you see the wide open receiver? You will want to throw the ball ten yards beyond his hands.” To describe Mr. Brookshire’s incompletions as inaccurate is a crime. 11/24/130 is a bad first half, not a game’s worth of effort. Yet, ’tis not true for Mr. Brookshire.

336 yards of total offense was enough to beat New Mexico. No, I did not feel bad for Danny Gonzales and Rocky Long. Those two gentlemen continue to have a lot to fix in Albuquerque. The Lobos lone touchdown was defensive, thus the SDSU defense pitched the proverbial shutout. The Aztec defense stuffed the UNM run to the tune of 66 yards rushing (1.9 yards per rush) and harassed the Lobo receiving corp into a meager 127 yards or less than 5 yards a catch. 16 third down attempts yielded success on only 3 occasions. 4 sacks for 35 yards is the SDSU norm. Every little bit helps. Kudos to Dallas Branch upon his return for 5 solo tackles which included 1 for a loss of 6 yards.

The Lobos did not help themselves with a whopping 9 penalties for 86 yards. A result reflective of much frustration. I was also surprised with the decision to return each Aztec kickoff from half inside the end zone. So much for strategy.

Matt Araiza averaged a puny (for him) 48.2 yards per boot. Oh, the shame.

Yep, we are ranked. Started the game at #25. Woke up Monday morning at #24.

To San Jose we go. Remember, last year Nick Nash nipped numerous wounds upon us last year. I trust we arrive focused and motivated by bad memories.

1-0/5-0.

Go, Aztecs.

An old fashion butt kicking featuring a total of 64 Aztecs on the field as the game progressed.

As you know, the game was not televised, thus I was enjoying the quality radio work of Ted Leitner, aka, Uncle Teddy. He is as entertaining, knowledgeable and self-deprecating as ever.

Back to the game. 450 total yards for the Aztec offense. 24 first downs (double Towson’s number). 8/15 on third down. 5/6 in the almighty red zone. A commanding 38:10 of football possession.

Matt Araiza averaged 65.7 yards per punt. Carson sits 39 feet above sea level. What will he average at Air Force? 75 yards per punt?

Brionne Penny had 4 catches for 55 yards. Will Haskell played the last half of the fourth quarter. Uncle Teddy painted a complimentary description of Mr. Haskell’s play. Mekhi Shaw started at one of the wide receiver spots. New faces to remember 2022 forward.

Once Greg Bell left the game, running back by committee took hold. Chance Bell (7/79), Kaegun Williams (10/76), Jordan Byrd (7/79) and Jaylon Armstead (13/44 all straight up the gut) provided the bulk of the offense. Mr. Armstead was christened “Chugga-Chugga” by Uncle Teddy during the radio broadcast.

Lucas Johnson was a serviceable 16/25 and 149 yards with a td. We will not discuss his interception.

The Aztec defense was not as active as the first three games, yet they held the Tigers to 228 total yards. 15, and only 15, of those yards were rushing yards. The Tigers averaged less than a yard per carry. Well done, Aztec defense.

Next week is an off week. Perfect timing for Greg Bell, Andrew Aleki, Jordon Brookshire and Tayler Hawkins to get well. New Mexico visits to begin MWC play October 9. Rocky Long returns. Should be fun. I wonder if defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix will present Rocky with a gift?

4-0.

If you enjoy the spectacle of 3 (!) overtime periods to cap off a tie score that never should have been, Saturday afternoon into evening was your kind of game. All present received more than their money’s worth.

A 10-10 halftime score was the result of the following defensive slugfest:

The Utes offense was pummeled to the effect of 19 yards rushing, 70 yards passing, 1/9 third down conversions and their o-line allowing their qb (prior to third quarter banishment) to suffer 3 Aztec sacks.

The Aztec offense “generated” 56 rushing yards, 23 (oy vey) passing yards and a glamorous 0/7 on third down attempts. Feeble defined.

Fear not! Much like the New Mexico State game, the second half featured offense. Specifically, 2 touchdowns courtesy of Greg Bell and a bruising effort by the Aztec offensive line with applause directed at center Alama Ulave and right tackle Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson for clearing the deck on behalf of Mr. Bell.

With 5:23 remaining in the third quarter, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham had seen enough of Charlie Brewer at qb, thus pulled Mr. Brewer and replaced him with Cameron Rising. Quarterback’s replaced is always a cringe moment . . . is he much less talented . . . is he capable of charging the offense . . . Mr. Rising was seemingly coated in grease as he scrambled, ran, twisted, pardoned-me-excused-me his way downfield and engineered the Utes comeback to tie the game at 24. AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Matt Araiza chose a bad time to be human by missing 2 field goal attempts (okay, missing from 48 in the fourth quarter wasn’t a gimme, but missing from 37 in ot was). However, I must offer kudos to Mr. Araiza for participating in a tackle during one of his kickoffs. Pure moxie.

The tit for tat continued during overtime possessions with the Utes matching us and us matching them until the blessed call that overturned their final 2 point score (yes, the ball did hit the ground before the catch was made) much to the delirious delight of Aztec players, coaches and fans (who, by the way, made an astounding amount of noise given the number present), thus sealing this year’s PAC-12 record at 2-0 (7-2 for the last 9 games for those of you wondering).

I have moaned and protested about Jordon Brookshire as our starting qb and overtly lobbied without shame for him to be replaced with Lucas “Hamstring” Johnson. Well, I received my wish to the result of 10/19/44 (yes, 44 yards passing. Total. No more). His longest completion was 15 yards. Strangely, of his 10 completions, 9 different receivers enjoyed catching the football. I found cold comfort with his rushing line of 10/87 (averaging 10.9 per dash). What the hell, we won.

Jordan Byrd’s 100 yard return was the stuff of Aztec special teams lore. Greg Bell earned every one of his 119 yards. Lots of bruises received and given, I’m sure.

If I would have been told prior to the game that we would win while registering 12 first downs, 3/15 on third down conversions and 44 passing yards, I would have laughed and encouraged medication consumption.

3-0.

Go, Aztecs.