Posts Tagged ‘SDSU’

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.

 

 

Wow.

A barn burner.  Hanging on for dear life.  Fingers slipping from the edge.

You get the idea.

Among many mind blowing (as far as football is concerned) numbers, please consider the following:

4 plus hours of football (what is this?  A Red Sox/Evil Empire game?).

Cal ran 94 offensive plays.

SDSU had 70 offensive plays (for a game total of 164).

Their qb threw 72 passes (he completed 41).

15 kickoffs.

SDSU limited Cal to less than six minutes of ball time in the second and fourth quarters.

SDSU was flagged 14 times for 105 yards.

Once we took the lead at 28-21, we held the lead; 31-21, 38-21, 38-28, 38-34, 45-34, 45-40.

42,473 butts in the seats without the promise of post-game fireworks (the game was the fireworks show).

A tip of the hat to Donnel Pumphrey for the inevitable run past Marshall Faulk.  The fact Donnel teared up on the sideline is testament to a young man noting his place in NCAA history.

While Christian Chapman struggled, he limited bad decisions to a botched snap and one interception.  14/23 for 129 yards (while averaging just shy of ten yards per completion) was enough production in light of pound and ground for 334 yards (281 of those yards belonging to Mr. Pumphrey).  The offensive line, tight ends and fullback were exceptional.

The defense made plays when all seemed lost.  How do we win when we give up 604 yards of Cal offense?  How do we win when we give up 522 passing yards?  By making three interceptions and returning one for a touchdown.  That’s how.  The old “bend, but do not break” applied.  Trite?  Perhaps.  But, applicable.  Damontae Kazee’s acrobatic pick with seconds remaining sealed the win.  A wild end to a wild ride.

At last, we beat a Rigged 5 team.  A signature win?  I say no.  But, a quality win nonetheless.

2-0.

Yes, a good start.  As mentioned in my SDSU season preview, non-con games at home are often a source of disappointment.  Thankfully, the Aztec defense completely eliminated any semblance of University of New Hampshire (UNH from this point forward) offense.  How complete?

71 rushing yards.  70 passing yards.  That complete.  For good measure, each UNH rushing attempt averaged a meager 2.3 yards while each passing attempt was capped at 3.5 yards.  That is Rocky Long defense.  Also, not once did UNH enter the treasured red zone.  Include 0-14 on third down attempts.  Impressive Aztec defense.

Christian Chapman did quite well with a line of 16/25/283.  Two td passes and zero interceptions.  Christian averaged a respectable 17.1 yards per completion.  Stretching the field makes for a clicking offense.  Eric Judge (5/54) and Mikah Holder (4/160) were the primary beneficiaries of Christian’s arm.   Donnel Pumphrey was well contained by the UNH defense.  Any team that holds Donnel to 98 yards rushing is to be applauded.  I did note that when Donnel ran to the right side, not much happened.  When he ran up the middle and to the left, he was successful.  However, the Aztecs did churn 461 yards of total offense by the end of the game.  Well balanced.

Cal is next.  Here comes the week long moan of not beating a PAC-12 team since the beginning of time or at least the creation of football.  Please stop.  If Donnel runs free and Mr. Chapman has consecutive productive, error free games, we beat Cal.  Recall, they played Hawaii two weeks ago and allowed 31 points.  The Rainbow offense is nowhere near our offense.

1-0.