GAME RECAP: Ho-hum, Aztecs get crucial Pac-12 win

That was extremely cool.

I think most of us expected a win in Tempe. Our paradigm in this new golden age of San Diego State football, with seven straight bowl appearances and back-to-back conference titles in the trophy case, is that we view a road game against Arizona State as a Should Win. Even though SDSU had:

  • Never beaten the Sun Devils in 11 games dating back to 1934, and
  • Had lost 28 straight road games against Pac opponents.

We’ll come back to that road futility streak. Most importantly, let’s talk about Rashaad Penny.

I was fortunate enough to see Marshall Faulk’s years at SDSU. This game by Penny had that kind of feeling. It has to rank in the pantheon of running back performances in Aztecs history, especially considering the relative quality of the opponent.

SDSU got the first possession. Penny rushed for 3, 3, and a catch for 6, then Chapman took two sacks and the Aztecs punted. Arizona State went three and out, punted and pinned the Aztecs at the 1 yard line.

Rock stuck with the plan. The plan was more R. Penny.

From a scoreless game at your own 5 to a home run ball, upper-deck shot. Break it down:

Penny gets a clean handoff at the goal line. It’s straight up the gut.

He skips past the first tackler, blockers are flexing and the rest of these dudes are in trouble. Penny makes one cut…

…shoots through the gap and leaves a safety flailing.

Gone.

After that bomb the teams traded punts, then ASU tied the game at 7-7 with an 85 yard drive. Then they kicked off. To Penny.

Quotable
“If you ask our players, I think they’ll tell you we’re 2 and 0. I don’t think it’s a big deal.” – Rocky Long

It’s a big deal.

Good
Aztecs rushing defense, offensive line, special teams. ASU’s sunburst throwbacks.

Good enough
Christian Chapman.

Bad
Penalties, penalties, deep secondary.

Ugly
Pac-12 Network.

More on this game to come. Check out our live blog for a stream-of-consciousness linear account of the game.

 

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Author: lemonverbena

Californian/Washingtonian, co-editor of Kabeer Thirty.

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