Well! That’s a relief. The San Diego State football Aztecs, reeling from two straight losses after starting the season 6 and 0, went to Honolulu and beat Hawai’i 28-7. Coupled with Fresno State’s surprising loss at home to UNLV, the win cracks open a can of hope for a return to the Mountain West championship game.
This tweet from the official SDSU Football account is a good representation of the game: Rashaad Penny running to daylight past a handful of disinterested fans and thousands of empty Aloha Stadium seats.
What: San Diego State Aztecs at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors When: Saturday, October 28 at 8:15 p.m. TV: ESPN2 Line: Aztecs -9.5
The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet I, too, have visited Aloha Stadium on a Saturday, with a singular goal and high stakes. In the parking lot, they have a swap meet that puts even the best day at Kobey’s to shame. Faced with consecutive defeats, I took to the Aloha Stadium turf (parking lot) in a last-ditch effort to get myself on track. I was determined to find that throwback Rainbows cap that had eluded me, that I was told by many locals “did not exist.” After a treacherous journey through junk jewelry, coconut stands and die-cut decals depicting Stormtroopers with traditional Polynesian tattoos, I found my cap. It was hot as shit. Rocky Long would have loved it. My point is that I intro all of these previews with loosely-related nonsense, and today is no different. The Aztecs are just like me, as you can see. They’re looking for their Rainbows throwback ca-shut up, David.
With the Chargers gone and Mission Valley up for grabs, it seems everybody is suddenly *keenly* interested in San Diego State’s football attendance. Trouble is, that number has always been kind of tough to pin down. The official count is a tickets-distributed figure, and that often doesn’t jibe with the butts in seats. THE HATERZ on the other hand have it on good authority that literally zero people have ever attended an Aztecs football game. We’re here to find the truth, people.
What: Fresno State Bulldogs at San Diego State Aztecs When: Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. TV: CBS Sports Network Line: Aztecs -7.5
THE OLD OIL CAN!
If there’s one thing we get up for around here at Kabeer Thirty, it’s the Old Oil Can. Fresno State and San Diego State have been playing this game since 1923, when the Aztecs loaded up the team Model T and headed up north with nothing but an oil can (new, at the time) and their dreams. Fresno State won that first meeting and were awarded San Diego State’s oil can (it was customary at the time to place oil can wagers. Think of them as early pogs.). None of the preceding is actually true (but hopefully a future 3rd-division soccer team in San Diego can name their club after something in this story). They bought it on eBay.
San Diego State will always be a smashmouth, run-first team under Rocky Long and offensive coordinator Jeff Horton, and that’s great. In an age where pass-happy spread offenses and four-hour games are the rule, SDSU’s pro-style, ball control attack makes defenses adjust to an unfamiliar style and typically endure a thoroughly unpleasant 60 minutes. Against inferior competition, the Aztecs tend to grind opponents down to demoralized powder by the second half.
Yet I think Saturday might have exposed the limits of stubborn, tough guy football.
The 2016 Las Vegas Bowl was an emotional game to watch as an Aztecs fan. It was a coronation of sorts — a convincing bowl victory against a hyped opponent — but it was more than that. It was also the day when Donnel Pumphrey broke the NCAA rushing mark. In the wake of the record breaking run, the ABC cameras captured a shot of D.J., on the bench, sharing a moment with super fan Tom Ables*.
*This shot is at 1:34:50 in this video if you’re in the mood for a cry.
Sitting on Lemonverbena’s couch that afternoon, I damn near lost it.
Just as I nearly have several times tonight, reading the obits and tributes marking the passing of Tom Ables at age 91.