Posts Tagged ‘SDSU’

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.

Last year was a year to forget. “Season” is a relative term especially when your school plays a mere 8 games. However, finishing 4-4/4-2 was disappointing. I refuse excuses such as the circus of phone calls and cancellations that finally led to a trip to Boulder where our offense sputtered, stalled and collapsed, thus summing most Aztec offensive efforts for 2020. A successful 2021 season demands a functional offense that puts the ball in the end zone on a regular basis. Three and out moments cannot be the rule of the day. If so, third place in the West division will be the shoulder shrugging result.

Offense: We need a lot of offense during 2021. Whomever wins the quarterback competition will be expected to direct the Aztec offense into the end zone, especially once inside the sacred red-zone. Score and score often. Please.

Quarterback: Lucas Johnson, Jordon Brookshire and Jaylen Mayden will continue the battle royale for the starting spot into August practice. One of the three always pulls a hamstring, one has grand difficulty throwing a pass in excess of 25 yards and the other I know nothing about less his Texas high school football video highlights. You can guess who is who. My hope is a healthy Lucas Johnson coupled with an ever improving Jalen Mayden share the qb duties. I realize my hope is heresy in established football circles because I dare suggest the sharing of the position. However, my reason for duality is the almost guaranteed moment when Mr. Johnson encounters hamstring issues, therefore Mr. Mayden is more than ready.

Running Backs: Greg Bell’s health determines if SDSU has an effective running game in 2021. Sure, Kaegun Williams (4.8 ypr), Chance Bell (4.9 ypr) and Jordan Byrd (6.4 ypr) will continue to receive significant play time, but the running game (and offense) was not the same once Greg Bell (5.6 ypr) was dogged by an ankle injury. Given post-spring practice coaching comments about Jaylon Armstead, I assume he will be in the above mix. Less Mr. Armstead, all the above are seniors, thus offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski and running backs coach Jeff Horton need to groom talent for 2022.

Wide Receivers: A position completely underutilized in 2020. 24 was the greatest number of receptions by an Aztec receiver last year which is a massive dud. Jesse Matthews should (a dangerous word) at least double that number in 2021. Kobe Smith (13 catches), Elijah Kothe (7 catches), TJ Sullivan, Isaiah Richardson, BJ Busbee and Ethan Dedeaux form a competent corps of wide receivers eager to catch and run in 2021. Aztecs of all shapes and sizes and positions caught a total of 115 balls (barely 14 completions per game) in 2020. Increasing that number to 220 will offer proof that the 2021 SDSU offense is indeed balanced between the throw and run.

Tight End: Daniel Bellinger (21 catches for a tad less than 10 yards per catch last year) must be put to greater use in 2021. I hope Mr. Hecklinski calls Mr. Bellinger’s number 6 to 8 times per game during the upcoming season. Standing 6’6 and weighing 255 pounds, he is tough to miss. The #2 tight end will be either Connor McBride or Jay Rudolph.

Offensive Line: This group will be a strong point in 2021 especially with the addition of Mike Goff as offensive line coach. Yes, Mike Schmidt was a fine coach, but too many moments arose the last two years exposing inadequate, sustained blocking that squashed a would be 10+ yard rush into a stumble just past the line of scrimmage. Mr. Goff will be a welcome change for all involved. Joey Capra, Dominic Gudino (please stay healthy), Chris Martinez, Alama Uluave and William Dinkle (see Mr. Gudino) and Zachary Thomas bring a wealth of experience and skill. Kyle Trombley and Tommy Mirabella likely join the 2021 rotation.

Defense: Defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix delivered big time ( an Uncle Teddy phrase. Those of you who don’t know the person referred to are not real Aztec football or basketball fans. Shame, you pretenders) in 2020. Last year’s Aztec defense allowed less than 18 points a game and less than 100 yards rushing per game. 283.5 yards of opponents’ offense was the average over the course of last year. Yet, we went 4-4 because of our poor offense. Sure, defensive generated turnovers ending in the end zone are welcome, not expected.

Defensive Line: Much like their brothers on the o-line, a place of strength in 2021. Keshawn Banks, Cameron Thomas anchor the front three. The winner of the Connor Mitchell, Kahi Neves, Jonah Tavai and Jalil Lecky August practice competition determines the #3 starter with the others appearing in game rotation this season.

Linebackers: Caden McDonald, Michael Shawcroft, Seyddrick Lakalaka, Andrew Aleki, Andrew Alves and Segun Olubi represent the best group of linebackers in the entire Mountain West.

Defensive Backs: Much is to be replaced with departure of Tariq Thompson, Dwayne Johnson and Darren Hall who were also the top three tacklers in 2020. Trenton Thompson, Tayler Hawkins and Patrick McMorris are looking for two more Aztecs to make a competent defensive backfield. Rashad Scott is rumored to be healthy once again. Kyron White, Noah Tumblin and Dallas Branch compete to fill the available spots.

Kicking: The talented Matt Araiza will provide many an accurate kick between the goal posts.

Punting: Jack Browning or true freshman Collyn Hopkins compete for the honor. However, if both falter, Mr. Araiza can punt, though head coach Brady Hoke would rather have him concentrate solely on his field goal opportunities.

2021 Schedule

New Mexico State is a win. A ready-to-play Aztec team dominates the Aggies.

@ Arizona results in better coaching beating the Wildcats in Tucson.

Utah will be prepared as they enter Carson for a road game against a MWC school. Potentially a close game, but the Utes win.

Towson: Having read through the Tigers roster, they sport a plethora of transfers from better division I schools. If SDSU starts flat, this game could be a disappointing loss. However, I choose the Aztecs.

New Mexico: This game follows SDSU’s first off week. Containing the UNM rushing game will be key. Aztecs win by a healthy margin.

@ San Jose State: Our first MWC road game and a doozy (cool word) in the waiting. Spartan qb Nick Starkel is talented and so is his receiving corps. This game is won or lost in the air. Last possession wins the game. Sadly, I go with the Spartans.

@ Air Force: This game is scheduled for October 23. In Colorado Springs. The weather will be psychotic. As the SJSU game will be air dominated, the Falcons will do little flying. Both teams will pound and ground. SDSU in a close one because we can throw better than the birds.

Fresno State: As stated in my MWC West preview, I sense Bulldog football is taking a step backward. This game will be the Bulldog’s ninth game. If they arrive 6-2 or 5-3, the game will be close. Anything less, not so much. The Aztecs win.

@ Hawaii: If the Aztec defense controls the Hawaii passing offense, a fairly easy win. Hawaii’s defense has problems stopping any type of competent offense. SDSU wins and enjoys the flight home.

Nevada: Last year’s 26-21 loss to the Wolfpack in Reno was pure coulda, shoulda, woulda. Carson Strong is one of the top three MWC qbs. Nevada has proven talent galore returning on both sides of the ball. Nevada.

@ UNLV: The Rebels coaching staff was brand new last year. New schemes, new attitude, new everything except the result at game’s end. Aztecs by at least 17.

Boise State: This game begins at 9:00 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t care. And neither will the SDSU coaching staff. The Bronco passing game often shuts the door on opponents. I go with the class of the Mountain division.

2021’s result will be 8-4/5-3. If my prediction of losing to both San Jose State and Fresno State rings true, we finish third in the West. A bowl game is likely, though not guaranteed.

Go, Aztecs.

Such a promising start. Two first downs during our first possession. Then, the old backward, not quite forward, pass does us in, but the Aztec defense kept the Wolfpack out of the end zone and they settled for a field goal. Our next possession featured a march downfield and a Lucas Johnson run for a touchdown. Not bad.

The remainder of the first half was Aztec touchdowns followed by Nevada field goals less their lone touchdown. 21-16 us at the half was feeling quite winnable.

Until our offensive line decided blocking was optional. You want proof? Here is the proof: 5 (!!!!!) consecutive three and outs during our first five possessions in the second half. Punt city. Zero push from our offensive line into and beyond the Nevada defensive line. Not a single Nevada linebacker required laundry service at game’s end. No stains here.

Among other second half shortcomings, consider (1) Lucas Johnson’s fall down sack (nobody touched him) early in the fourth quarter; (2) Carson Baker’s return, which resulted in the fifth consecutive 3-0. Mr. Baker’s body language featured all the energy of a snail on a cold day; (3) Nevada’s four down, first and goal that resulted in the go-ahead score (and final score) courtesy of a missing Aztec defense (who, by the way, allowed the Wolfpack a lovely line of 5/5 in the red zone and 4 whole yards in tackles for loss).

Hope reared its ugly head with Darren Hall’s interception (as a side note, Mr. Hall simply could not keep up with Romeo Doubs the entire afternoon). The Aztec offense lined up on the Nevada 26 with a minute plus remaining. Nine plays later, the game ended. Nine plays to find 26 yards plus one more. Nope. Not happening.

Final damning evidence of an offense flawed and missing: Both Bells (Greg and Chance) averaged less than 4 yards per carry. Jordan Byrd averaged 1 yard per carry. We were 2/11 on third downs. A performance worthy of a pair of crutches.

3-2. Go, Aztecs.

An old fashioned butt kicking.

10-7 at the half was cause for hand wringing and cursing (plenty). Matt Araiza missed consecutive field goals! What the hell? Okay, the first miss was partially blocked, but c’mon, Superman never fails. Mr. Araiza proves to be human. How dare he. Regardless of Mr. Araiza’s misses, we were first half incompetent when attempting to deliver the football to the end zone.

Behold! The second half begins and the Aztec offense arrives with a blistering performance. 28 points are added to the score board. Greg Bell (161 yards, 7.1 per carry), Chance Bell (98, 9.8) and Jordan Byrd (1 carry for a 78 yard sprint touchdown. My, that will inflate the old yards per carry) enjoyed the hard work of the Aztec offensive line. Carson Baker improved on his UNLV performance with a line of 18/27/163 with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kobe Smith (seemingly a good half foot taller than the Utah State cornerback assigned to stop him) had 6 receptions to lead the other seven who had at least 1 catch. Game’s end featured 570 yards of offense! Of course 71% of those yards were courtesy of the run. Dare I say, the offense has returned.

Utah State did little to nothing all night. Zeroes were notched for the first, third and fourth quarters. The Aggies registered small numbers in passing (112 yards) and rushing (103 yards). They were 3 and done on 6 separate occasions. Their punter was busy (7 punts) and weary. During the first and third quarters, USU did not move the ball to the 50 yard line meaning the Aztec defense was top notch consecutive games. Kurt Mattix calls an excellent game from the booth. May he be Rocky Long II.

As a side note, congrats to Tanner Kuljian on his first punt as an Aztec. 58 yards in the thin air of Logan, Utah. Lucas Johnson also stepped on the field for the first time during the last drive for the obligatory hand-off parade to end the game.

2-0. Go, Aztecs.

When I bitch and moan during a 31 – 10 win, my Aztec football life is a tad too good.  Yet, I bitched and moaned during our prolonged penalty party (Dominic Gudino called for holding twice?  C’mon, Dom) that stalled a second quarter drive into a Matt Araiza field goal rather than a touchdown.  My burden is great.

Speaking of Mr. Araiza, six kick offs equaled six touchbacks.  Not bad.  I want to witness the spectacle of the SDSU kick off team veering immediately to the sidelines after one of Mr. Araiza’s kicks.  Who needs coverage when a touchback is guaranteed?  All that sprinting for nothing.

The running game returned with a flourish.  Does this imply our o-line is becoming more effective?  I choose yes.  Jordan Byrd seems to be the heir apparent.  22/134 and 2 touchdowns speaks well.  Chance Bell made the best of his playing time with a line of 17/121 and 1 touchdown.  Ryan Agnew was a passing qb during the first half, then morphed into last year’s version of Captain Handoff during the second half.  I believe I’m bitching and moaning, again.  However, Mr. Agnew was without an interception and did throw for a touchdown to Daniel Bellinger.  Mr. Agnew did not suffer a sack courtesy of the Aztec o-line.

The Aztec defense was sack city against the Aggies.  6 tosses to the ground were suffered by the NMSU qb.  Many bruises.  Keshawn Banks led the way with 2 and enjoyed the company of Cameron Thomas (1.5), Myles Cheatum (1.5) and Andrew Aleki (1).  The Aztec defense created a total of 46 lost yards on behalf of the Aggie offense.  A whole lot of backwards goes a long way.  The Aztec rush defense allowed 30 yards the entire game.  The pass defense, not so much.  299 yards was far too much to a team that specializes in short slant routes.  I find inadequate Luq Barcoo’s and Kyahva Tezino’s interceptions.  I want roses, not daises.  Again, I’m bitching and moaning.

The offense has scored a total of 60 points during the first three games.  To beat Utah State we will need at least half that number.

3-0.  Go, Aztecs.

Hawaii 31, SDSU 30

Posted: November 28, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

A boggle of a loss.  Snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  The perfect end to a disappointing final three MWC games (therein lies the true hurt) of the 2018 season.  The 2018 season was equivalent to an at-fault fender bender followed by losing your wallet.  On Friday night.

John Barron missing from 32 was the moment.  Not to lay, nor do I dare lay, the loss on his talented foot, but if he makes that kick, we never hear the word “overtime.”  This missed kick led to Rocky’s decision to go for two and the game when a standard point after touchdown would have created a second ot and another chance to win.

Hawaii owned the first half.  Cole McDonald was Heisman material.  Then, the vaunted defensive adjustment occurred post-half time, and Mr. McDonald returned to scale, thus no longer shredding the Aztec back eight.  Registering zeros in the third and fourth quarters should have sealed an Aztec win.  But, “should” is a dangerous word:  You should take out the trash.  You should avoid the last beer.  You should eat less crap.

Finishing 7-5 and 4-4 (especially) is inexplicable.  A shoulder shrug of a season.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda.  The 2018 season is to Aztec football fans what Monday morning is to a guy who hates his job, but won’t search for another.

Speaking of searching, seems to me that coaching staff changes will be made.  I will not speculate about specific coaches, but the inconsistency of the running game coupled with the o-line’s inability to block consistently will receive the cold glare of slow review from Rocky.  These guys know coaching is a business.  Things change.  Time advances.  Ideas evolve.  Do we remain Pound and Ground U?  Ryan Agnew threw enough to notice during his time in place of Christian Chapman.  I will say the wide receivers finally delivered a quality season long effort this year.  Something to shift towards or build upon for 2019?

The cold comfort of the MWC portion of our season is our total point spread for the 4 losses was 4 (Nevada), 3 (UNLV), 9 (Fresno State) and 1 (Hawaii).  All 4 losses were within our grasp, but a loss is a loss.  Will next year yield the same without change or major adjustment?

Finally, I doubt, strongly, that any bowl is interested in us given our sloppy end to a promising season.  Perhaps such polite decline is the ultimate motivator during spring ball, 2019.

 

Consecutive MWC losses since I don’t know when.  Perhaps that is a good sign.

Hanging zeros in the third and fourth quarters is proof of a struggling offense.  We gained 64 yards on the ground the entire evening.  Our struggle to block continues.  Additionally, the offense created a paltry 8 first downs the entire game.  No offense stays on the field long enough to score with that few first downs.  The only good offensive news was SDSU receivers averaging 27.2 yards per completion.  Between Christian and Ryan, 8 passes were completed.  Each lays claim to 4.  Spread the mediocrity to equal measure.  Look!  We are both crappy.

Congrats to the defense for keeping the Bulldogs far under their offensive average.  Kyahva Tezino (15 tackles) and Parker Baldwin (14 tackles) gave me a reason to continue watching the game.  At least we had the decency to sack Mr. McMaryion 3 times while he enjoyed a 17/24/267 night.

Fred Trevillion had his best game by far with a line of 4/189 and 2 scores.  Maybe he can repeat that line against Hawaii.

If you did not notice, Hawaii is tied with us for third place in the West.  Saturday night, we arrive ready to play or we end the MWC season with a rough 4-4 record.  Bowl eligible is not the same as an invitation.

7-4/4-3.

 

We started as the proverbial house afire.  Two sustained drives of 12 plays and 75 yards followed by 8 plays and 80 yards.  14 points.  I’m thinking the offense finally arrives.

Not so.

Yet, the Aztecs were seemingly dominant.  24 first downs to Nevada’s 14.  173 yards rushing to their mere 62.  Even Ryan Agnew posted better numbers than Ty Gangi:  283 passing yards and 3 tds compared to 235 yards and 2 tds.  Tell me those facts before the game and I’m looking at win number 7, not loss number 2.

Chance Bell (5.2 ypc) continues to impress.  He makes Chase Jasmin (5.3 ypc) a better runner.  Nothing like competition to fan the flames of playing time.  Congrats to Kahale Warring for an evening of 6/95 and 2 tds.  Brandon Heicklen punted the air out of the football.  6 punts for an average of 44.8 including one at the Wolf Pack 4 yard line.

Jordan Byrd dropping the punt and returning all punts for 4 lousy yards needs to be fixed.  Now.

A by and large lucky season to date given the number of freshmen and redshirt freshmen on the field at the skill positions of wide receiver and running back.  The kids have logged major minutes during the course of the season.  Granted, when Juwan Washington returns, the march of underclassmen at the running back spot stops.  While Ryan Agnew has performed admirably, I want Christian Chapman to start against UNM.  Work out the rust long before the Fresno State game.

6-2/3-1.

Go, Aztecs.

 

Ugly was pretty.  Who knew?

The first half featured the Aztec offense wondering what game was played?  Hockey?  Softball?  Tennis?  Why is the ball weirdly shaped?  We could not have looked and played with more incompetency.  Bad is a compliment.  Seemingly, false starts were the order of the day.  We had, I don’t know, 14, 26, 37 false starts.  Sure, I exaggerate, but my point of an absent offense is well taken.  You are welcome.

The good news:  We won.  Fred Trevillion caught the first pass thrown to him.  And did not have a single drop the entire game.  New horizons for Fred.  Chase Jasmin gained the most grueling 78 yards of his life.  He left the game limping (not good news).  His pinball bounce move in the fourth quarter set up Jordan Byrd’s 72 yard run.  Without Chase reversing course, a different outcome emerges.  Kobe Smith can catch punts.  Luq Barcoo is good.  Depth charts don’t mean much to Rocky.  Darren Hall, Connor Mitchell and Damon Moore enjoyed many minutes on the field.  Darren recorded a pick and Damon a sack.  Zidane Thomas had two carries (his first carry was during our third offensive possession of the game.  You think I don’t notice).  He is the fifth running back on the almighty chart.  Who needs starters?

God bless, John Barron.  Without him, we are an average football team hanging our hat on fourth and whatever.

In addition to Darren Hall’s interception, I applaud Tariq Thompson and Ronley Lakalaka for good hands.  Kyahva Tezino will provide nightmares for Brett Rypien the remainder of the season.  Kyahva delivered many a body shiver.  Brandon Heicklen was booming the ball.  He averaged 44.9 yards on 8 punts.  Well done.

I was surprised by Boise not attempting an onside kick after the missed extra point with 5:07 remaining.  Thank you, Boise coaching staff.

As for the numbers, the Aztec defense held Boise to an average of 2.9 yards per play.  Boise had 2 rushing yards at the end of the first quarter.  At the half, they had a total of 72 yards of offense.  The Broncos ballyhooed passing game stalled at 8.1 yards per catch and a slight 178 yards for the game.  If I told you before kickoff that the Aztecs would have 9 first downs and 267 yards of total offense, you would have asked, “Did we lose by two or three touchdowns?”

Thank you, Rocky.

4-1/1-0.

Go, Aztecs.