Posts Tagged ‘SDSU’

Mountain Division

First:  Boise State

No kidding?  May as well predict heat during August.

Brett Rypien returns as the starting quarterback.  Mr. Rypien is talented beyond his years and experience.  Boise loses their top rusher from 2016, but return the next four.  Alexander Mattison looks to be the best of the lot.  Granted, Boise will throw, but the ground game is ready and deep.  Speaking of throwing, the Broncos lose their #1 and #3 receivers, but return four receivers with double-digit receptions.  Cedrick Wilson and Chaz Anderson should get most of the downfield looks from Mr. Rypien.  Boise’s offense averaged almost 475 yards per game.  Do not expect much change this year.

Defensively, an impressive 17 of the 20 top tacklers return.  Ben Weaver (#1 tackler) and Darren Lee (3# tackler) lead an experienced group.

Second:  Colorado State

The difference between the Rams, Wyoming and Air Force is thin.  Injury, last-minute mistakes and freaky weather (we are discussing the Mountain Division of the MWC.  After the first week in October, most anything can fall from the sky) may well fall to the wayward side of talent in deciding second place.

Nick Stevens improved tremendously last year.  19 touchdowns coupled with only 5 interceptions.  Well done.  CSU also returns their #2 quarterback as well which lends comfort to a worst case scenario.   The Rams return their top two rushers in the formidable duo of Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews.   2016’s top two receivers, Michael Gallup and Olabisi Johnson, will help Mr. Stevens stretch the field.  When clicking, Colorado State will put points galore on the board.  Opponents preparing for this offense will find plenty of challenge.

Can CSU’s defense keep a fourth quarter lead in 2017?  14 of the 20 top tacklers return that includes 8 of the top 10.  The Rams defense gave up 30.1 points per game last year.  If they do no worse in 2017, second place becomes more likely.

Third:  Wyoming

The Cowboys surprised everybody in 2016.  Josh Allen was the conference’s next best quarterback after Brett Rypien.  If Mr. Allen reduces last year’s 15 interceptions to at least 9 in 2017, he may post the best conference qb numbers.  Sadly, Wyoming loses their top three receivers from 2016.  C.J. Johnson is the only returning receiver with substantial experience.  This poses a potential early season problem for the Cowboys offense and Mr. Allen.  If the new group of receivers runs routes and catches the football, no problem.  If not, Wyoming fans may as well wear a parka on a seventy degree day to experience Mr. Allen’s discomfort.  Shaun Wick will lead the running game.  Much like the receivers, Mr. Wick’s colleagues need to be effective or what should be an explosive offense will fall far shy of last year’s 436 yards per game.

8 of the top 10 tacklers return (17 of the top 20 overall).  Yet, last year’s group gave up more yards (453) per game than their offense generated.  Ouch.

Fourth:  Air Force

A challenging year awaits the Falcons.  They begin the 2017 season losing 4 of their top 6 rushers, starting quarterback and top receiver from last year.  The good news is Arion Worthman brings 2016 experience to the quarterback position along with Tim McVey leading the usual endless running game (the top six rushers for Air Force had a combined 716 carries in 2016).  Air Force fans who might be quick to point out the #2, #3 and #4 receivers return will be reminded to examine their respective catches of 8, 8 and 6.  Regardless, Air Force runs the ball first and foremost.  Charge.

If you thought the offense faced a challenge, the defense will need to replenish the troops, so to speak, quickly.  Only 6 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Retaining last year’s stingy 26 points per game and measly 3.4 yards per rush is almost impossible.

Fifth:  New Mexico

Much of the 2016 offense returns.  Lamar Jordan should get the majority of qb reps this year.  The Lobos lose their #1 rusher from 2016, but return #2 through #5.  Tyrone Owens averaged a stunning 8 ypc last year while Diquon Woodhouse averaged 8.6 ypc on only 27 rushes.  Almost as much depth at the receiver spot returns with the #1 (Q Drennan and his eye-popping 25.8 ypc), #3 and #4 receivers returning.  At the very least, Mr. Jordan will have options.

The UNM defense faces a reality almost as difficult as Air Force.  Only 10 of the top 20 tacklers return.  This includes a loss of 8 of the first 10.  Will the Lobos defense hold onto single digit leads with two minutes remaining?  Will they keep the opposition under 400 yards per game as last year?  Lots of nail-biting awaits.

Sixth:  Utah State

Lackluster describes the 2016 USU season.  At times disinterest seemed to apply as well.  Yawn.  Damn, this is only the third quarter?

Kent Myers returns as the staring qb.  How a qb throws for almost 2,400 yards, yet no more than 10 touchdowns is a long explanation.  Tony Lindsey returns as last year’s #1 rusher.  Much like Mr. Myers, Mr. Lindsey averaged 5.2 ypc, but a paltry game average of 63.6 yards.  How?  Ron’quavion Tarver and Rayshad Lewis should repeat as the #1 and #2 receivers in 2017.

The defense loses 4 of their top 5 tacklers from 2016 and return only 11 of the top 20. Utah State offered the opposition almost 30 points per game last year.  This year will be close to 35.  I sense a coaching staff change.

West Division

First:  San Diego State

If the rest of the West was stronger, SDSU finishing first would be less likely especially given the new faces on defense, but the rest of the West offers little resistance.

Christian Chapman returns as the starting qb.  20 touchdowns and only 6 picks should generate more than 1,994 yards.  Maybe this year.  Donnel Pumphrey is now in Philly.  Rashaad Penny moves to the #1 back with Juwan Washington assuming the supporting role.  Returning receivers Mikah Holder and Quest Truxton along with tight end David Wells must improve on last year’s efforts or maintaining last year’s 35 points per game will be unlikely.

The defense loses 5 of the top 10 tacklers.  Only 11 of the top 20 return.  But, Rocky Long is not only one of the best head coaches in the NCAA, but also one of the best defensive coordinators, thus a brief learning curve awaits the newbies.

Second:  Hawaii

I’m not joking.  The Rainbow is shining bright.  Head coach Nick Rolovich and staff created much improvement during 2016.  Rainbow fans have a reason to once again watch football.

Dru Brown returns as the starting quarterback.  He threw for almost 2,500 yards last year.  While Hawaii loses their #1 (and #4) receiver from last  year, John Ursua and Dylan Collie return for more catches than last year.  Diocemy Saint Juste, last year’s #1 rusher, leads an otherwise inexperienced rushing crew.  But, whereas Air Force runs when in doubt, Hawaii will take to the air.  Points will be scored.

Points will also be scored against the Rainbow defense.  Opposing teams averaged 462 yards during 2016.  2017 features only 12 of the top 20 tacklers returning.  Losing 5 of the top 10 will pose a challenge.

Third:  San Jose State

New coaching staffs usually indicate a year of clumsy learning, disappointment and doubt.  Welcome to 2017, Spartans.

Enough returns on the offense to create the hope that points can be scored.  Josh Love, last year’s #2 qb, is most likely this year’s starting qb.  Malik Roberson and Zamore Zigler both averaged over 5 ypc last year.  Justin Holmes and Tre Hartley were 2016’s #2 and #3 receivers.  They provide Mr. Love with experienced targets.

13 of the top 20 tacklers return.  Last year the Spartans gave up 433 yards per game and 35 points.  The good news is, improvement is possible.

Fourth:  UNLV

If they had more returning defensive players, I would have placed the Rebels third.  Alas, not so.

Tony Sanchez has done a lot in little time as head coach.  A bad case of unrealistic expectations is ill-advised on behalf of alumni and administration.  Coach Sanchez is “the guy”.  Remain patient.

Johnny Stanton and Kurt Palandech shared the starting qb spot last year and may well do so again this year.  Charles Williams and Lexington Thomas return as a powerful running duo.  4 of their top 5 receivers return for 2017 including Devonte Boyd who averaged almost 75 ypg.

Last year UNLV’s defense gave up 430 ypg.  This year may they be so lucky.  They lose their top 6 tacklers (and 7 of the top 8) from 2016.  Ouch.  Only 8 of the top 20 return.  Good luck during the fourth quarter.

Fifth:  Nevada

Have I mentioned my aversion to new coaching staffs?

Ty Gangli gets the starting qb job in 2017.  James Butler and Jaxson Kincaide were last year’s top two rushers and should repeat as such this year.  Wyatt Demps leads an inexperienced receiving corps.  This group must improve as the season progresses or Mr. Gangli’s 8 td and 6 picks will not improve in 2017.

The good news for Wolfpack fans is 8 of the top 10 tacklers return and 15 of the top 20.  The 456 ypg allowed should lessen this year.  As should the 6.1 yards per rush and 13.4 yards per catch.

Sixth:  Fresno State

The usual caution about the new coaching staff and begin.

A lot returns from 2016.  The uncomfortable fact of not quite 18 points per game returns as well.  Chason Virgil barely averaged a 51% completion rate last year.  Much needs to improve.  Dontel James averaged less than 3.5 ypc last year.  Much needs to improve.  Mr. Virgil will have 3 of his top 4 receivers return as well.  Plainly speaking, if this group could not average 20 points per game last year, why this year?

The top 2 tacklers and 3 of the top 5 do not return.  But, 13 of the top 20 do return.  This group was part of last year’s 31 points allowed per game.  Tough times in Fresno.

 

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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.

 

 

 

What a game, what a game.

Best loss of Rocky’s tenure.  Why?  Because we marched 99 yards in 1 minute, 7 seconds and scored.  Christian Chapman looked like a quarterback.  No offense (or pun), but at times I wonder if he can throw for 200 plus yards on a regular basis.  He did so Saturday.

As for Rocky’s two-point conversion call that failed, to those of you whining, stop.  Rocky being Rocky is part of Rocky.  Also, this is the second loss of the season and first MWC loss.  Remember the days when we dreamed of a two loss season?  Wouldn’t that be swell?  Guess what?  Two losses is swell.

I listened to the game on the phone for one very good reason:  Finding a bar in Pacific Beach that features C-CBS is akin to finding fresh water in the Pacific.  I do enjoy listening to Uncle Teddy broadcast Aztec athletic events, but I must ask Ted to refrain from the “depleted defense” comments.  No we are not.  Na’im McGee, Randy Ricks, Tyler Morris and John Carroll have been sidelined most of the year.  We are fine.  Losing Derek Babiash, Billy Vaughn, Jr and Fred Melifonwu to self-inflicted idiocy was also overcome.  The Aztecs are loaded with talented football players.  No more “woe is us” dear Uncle Teddy.

However, I felt that we arrived not ready to commit to the season long, less South Alabama, idea of arriving in a bad mood to greet opponents with football in hand.  We were lethargic especially the defensive back 5.  Tackling with both arms and wrapping up seemed to be optional.  I trust this will not be an issue for the remainder of the season.

Hats off to Jay Henderson.  I do not know the football sin committed by Ryan Dunn, but Mr. Henderson was a more than able replacement.  Another deep sweep of the hat to Rashaad Penny and Juwan Washington.  These two make for an ultra talented pair of kick off returners on an extraordinary level.  A side comment to Mr. Penny regarding his runs from scrimmage, please stop running out of bounds.  Take a hit and get another couple of yards.

I opened with referencing the closing drive, I must also mention the end of the first half drive.  Not quite the length of the field, but close.  And a touchdown as well.  The SDSU offense does impress when time is of the essence.

Wyoming’s qb, Josh Allen, is a first round pick in the making.  Impressive arm and decision making.  The Wyoming defensive line was also effective.  Donnel Pumphrey rarely found a rushing attempt in excess of four yards.  Cowboy linebackers were quick to fill the rare hole.

Returning to the Aztec defense, allowing 5.8 yards per play while showing the Pokes 84 offensive plays is the perfect recipe for a long day.  Further testament to the lackluster effort of the back 5 was Mr. Allen’s 17.6 yards per completed pass.  Far too much grass was given.  Also, when was the last time an opposing qb threw 31 attempts while rushing for 69 yards?  Tis a no-no.  Finally, Wyoming enjoying 9/17 on third down conversions and 2/2 on fourth down is not to be repeated.  A poor Aztec defensive effort.

Colorado State closes the MWC season less the conference championship game.  Hmm.  Senior day.  Alex Barrett, Kyle Kelley, Calvin Munson, Austin Wyatt-Thayer, Malik Smith and Damontae Kazee all say “good-bye” to the Q and Aztec faithful.  Motivated?  Good luck to the Rams offense.  The flip side features Kwayde Miller, Nico Siragusa, Arthur Flores, Daniel Brunskill, Curtis Anderson and a running back by the name of Donnel Pumphrey playing together for the last time down the street from the beach.  Should be fun.

9-2/6-1.

 

I’m officially spoiled.  Any time the Aztec defense gives up a pass of more than 10 yards or a run greater than 5 yards, I smirk and shake my head.  What a lovely problem.

First, kudos to Nick Bawden for shoving the slow to remove himself from Donnel Pumphrey Nevada linebacker after Donnel’s touchdown.  Thou shalt not mess with thy teammates.

Next, Ty Gangi went from thinking, “Their defense isn’t so good” to “What the hell is going on?” by the second quarter.

The end of the second quarter Aztec drive resulting in John Baron’s field goal is another indicator of a competent offense that takes advantage of available time.  As was scoring after the first two interceptions.

Tanner Blain punted once.  Well done, offense.

620 yards of total offense with 474 yards rushing.  Rashaad Penny finishes 10/208.  Donnel Pumphrey ends the evening with 26/198.  Juwan Washington chips in with 5/73.  Just another night on the field.

Christian adds 2 more touchdowns to bring his annual total to 15 while throwing no interceptions and a line of 11/16/146.  He ain’t rewriting Aztec record books, but he is effective and he wins.

7/9 on third downs.  Impressive.  5/5 in the red zone.

Hats off to Kameron Kelly, Ron Smith and Parker Baldwin for their interceptions.

The Wolf Pack joins the legion of teams with less than 100 yards rushing (90) after playing the Aztecs.

Consider the following:  15.2 points, 86.4 yards rushing, 196.1 yards passing, 282.5 total offense.  The average offensive production of Aztec opponents as of 10 games played.

Wyoming is next.  May the weather behave.

9-1/6-0.

At last, offense!  The ball journeyed to the end zone more than three occasions.  Thank you, Jeff Horton.  I know he called for a pass on the first play of the game to shame me.  Nice try.  I continue to call for more than 18 passing attempts from Christian Chapman.  I want to see 200+ yards from Mr. Chapman.  I’m greedy.

Speaking of greedy, the Aztec defense is phenomenal.  San Jose is team #2 without a touchdown against the Red and Black.  Three consecutive games result in a total of 13 points by UNLV, Fresno State and San Jose State.  Impressive.  Nine tackles for loss including five sacks against the Spartans (whose offense was rather spartan.  Get it?).  209 yards allowed (San Jose rushed for less than 70 yards).  Incredible.

Also incredible in these days of players running rampant with bad judgment and at times engaging in criminal behavior (yeah, I’m talking about you, Baylor University), Rocky means what he says and says what he means as he suspended PRIOR to the San Jose game, Derrick Babiash, Billy Vaughn, Jr. and Fred Melifonwu.  Rare air for a division one coach of any sport.  Hats off to Kalan Montgomery for taking Babiash’s spot without notice.

I applaud San Jose State’s defense for “holding” Donnel Pumphrey to 135 yards.  I’m not mocking the Spartans.  Truly, they did a fine job of containing Donnel, as much as Donnel can be contained.  The flip side is Rashaad Penny averaged 11.7 yards per carry.  Can’t stop everybody.

Finally, I was pleased to see second, third and fourth level guys on the field with nine minutes remaining.  Valuable experience for Jeff Clay, Myles Cheatum, Troy Cassidy, Trenton Thompson, Kyahva Tezino, Kevin Walcott, Sam Tai, Chad Woolsey, Ryan Agnew, Ryan Simmons, Daishawn Dixon and Julian Rochelin.

6-1/3-0.

 

I must continue last week’s rant about our inability to score points.  This limitation is getting ridiculous.  We score a whopping 17 points against a ragged Fresno State defense.  17 points.  No more.  The Aztec offense had the ball for 37 minutes and 19 seconds.  We register 25 first downs.  All we can put on the board is two touchdowns and one field goal?  Boo.  Christian Chapman had 12 passing attempts.  The description of skinny.  I realize Jeff Horton loves the run, and with Donnel Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny, who wouldn’t, but, Jeff needs to call consecutive passing plays every now and then.  I’m not clamoring for the return of Bob Toledo’s multi-chapter playbook, but more frequent looks downfield would result in more points on the board.  David Wells (3/30) and Nick Bawden (2/23) received 5 of Christian’s 7 completions.  If his comfort lies with tight-ends and fullbacks, then let’s throw the ball to tight-ends and fullbacks more often.

More applause for the Aztec defense.  Keeping Fresno State to 217 total yards is notable.  The Bulldogs rushing for less than 100 yards is a further proof (if you need any) of a stellar defense.  The SDSU defensive line battering the Bulldogs offensive line accompanied by linebackers visiting the backfield on a regular basis is a recipe for success. Change nothing.

5-1/2-0.

I shouldn’t complain.  But, can’t we average, say, 27 to 34 points the rest of the way?

 

 

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.

 

Defensively, this game was ugly.  Butt ugly.  28-0 becomes 28-21.  Northern Illinois marched up and down the field during the third quarter at an alarming rate of ease and efficiency to the tune of 14 points.  The Huskies converted 3 of 5 fourth down attempts.  Shame on us.  Never, ever, should NIU convert 60% of anything against the Aztec defense.  Thankfully, Damontae Kazee and Trey Lomax blessed their defensive teammates with well timed interceptions.  NIU drives were stopped and points prevented.

The officiating crew was in love with their yellow flags, but this game makes for consecutive games featuring 100+ yards (107 if you were counting) administered via the flying yellow flag.  Ridiculous.  Rocky and staff need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with the boys about keeping emotions checked.  Imagine if we simply cut in half the free yardage we handed NIU and Cal.  Fewer points offered to opponents would be the not so surprising result.

A “thank you”to the NIU punter who averaged a whopping 29.4 yards per punt.

A “thank you” to Tanner Blain for placing three punts inside the five and one inside the ten.  Well done, Tanner.  Your best game as an Aztec.

Speaking of best game as an Aztec, Kahale Warring makes his first catch and touchdown simultaneously.

Christian Chapman had a serviceable game (11/19/126), though the three touchdown passes were nice.  I want to see Mikah Holder and Eric Judge DIVE to catch a pass!  Mikah had two catchable balls and Eric one that required leaving their feet and becoming parallel to the ground.  C’mon!  Get dirty!  DIVE!

Donnel was Donnel.  The first half is a yawn, the second half is extreme lobbying on behalf of a Heisman trophy.  He averaged 9.6 yards per carry.  Unreal.  Rashaad Penny was 14/65.  A good day to run.

Next week is rest and get well week.  Then South Alabama at their place.  This game will be a toughie.  The Aztec defense must realize its substantial potential the entire game or else the Jaguars beat us.

The Associated Press blesses us with a ranking of 22.

3-0.