I had misgivings about this game from the start. San Diego State had traveled to a wounded but proud city to play a team inspired to honor its fallen friends and neighbors. A win here wasn’t going to feel good, no matter what.
Then the game started and my misgivings mounted. The Aztecs opened with a methodical drive that stalled at the 1 when Rashaad Penny stunningly fumbled a pitch. SDSU forced a three and out and promptly marched back down inside the 10 … only to settle for the field goal.
Total domination, and a 3 point lead.
That start was the college football version of picking up a hitchhiker on a lonely highway in a horror movie. You just knew by the end of the game, we were going to be staggering for shelter toward a creepy, half-collapsed barn and … oh no, no, NO … don’t go in there! This is baaaaaad!
And then the Aztecs beat UNLV 41-10.
I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about this team.
SDSU now sits at 6-0, sure to climb in the rankings again and is bowl eligible on October 7. October 7! While it’s safe to say the Aztecs haven’t yet played a complete game, they definitely finished this one with a complete second half, outscoring UNLV 21-0.
Here are the final 30 minutes of this game in a nutshell:
Penny made up for his early blunder by thoroughly taking over the game after halftime, finishing with 170 yards and two touchdowns. Juwan Washington and QB Christian Chapman added first half touchdown runs as the Aztecs’ young line cleared the way for 302 yards on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs defense swarmed in a manner we haven’t seen since the Stanford game, holding star running back Lexington Thomas to 54 yards and limiting talented freshman QB Armani Rogers to one big run play, one big pass play and basically nothing else. The rest of Rogers’ evening looked more or less like this:
Here’s the thing about all this: UNLV is kind of not terrible — at least in the context of the putrid MWC West Division. The Howard loss in the opener was beyond embarrassing, but they’ve dismantled two (albeit terrible) FBS opponents. The Rebels can score, and Thomas and Rogers give them two legitimately intriguing players. By the end of the season, they might prove themselves to be the second best team in the MWC West.
Hell, they might be right now.
What I’m trying to say is that a 31-point win on the road, in the context of the larger moment and the balky start? Not unimpressive!
Dominant wins feel great, but I think I speak for all of us when I say I took no particular satisfaction from seeing UNLV lose. Actually, why don’t I just let Rashaad speak for all of us instead.
I know I’ll be rooting like hell for the Rebs from here on out. I honestly think they can make a bowl game. That would sincerely be cool to see.
Our Lord survives
How much do San Diego State’s good fans love kicker John Baron II, The Noble Lord of Kicksteros? Note the Twitter freakout when Baron came up hobbling after covering his third quarter kickoff.
Baron returned to the game for an extra point and then spent the rest of the night retweeting all our nonsense. He’s OK, folks. He’s OK.
Chapman to Holder
It shouldn’t get lost in the avalanche of second half rushing yards that the passing connection of Chapman to Mikah Holder basically kept SDSU afloat during its sputtering first half. Holder caught 9 passes for 144 yards, and converted some big third downs.
Adding a dependable, security blanket receiver to an offense with an insane rushing attack and a tight end Voltron doesn’t seem particularly fair. I am not concerned with fairness.
In other action, Stanford rolled into Salt Lake and disrupted the No. 20 Utah Utes on Saturday night. The Cardinal are now 3-0 in Pac-12 play since The Blackout, meaning what we thought was a really big win might just be a really, really big win.
On that note, here is the official Kabeer Thirty transitive victory tally:
- Oregon (lost to Arizona State)
- UCLA (lost to Stanford)
- Nebraska (lost to Northern Illinois)
- Utah (lost to Stanford)
Next week, we’ll be going for the rare second degree transitive win over LSU (lost to Troy who lost to Boise State). Say, speaking of Boise …
Start drinking now
Saturday is officially going to be lit as F.
Rest your livers, everyone.