Game Preview: Air Force at Aztecs

The triple option. Rocky Long has this play diagram as a tramp stamp.

What: Football game
Who: Air Force Falcons at San Diego State Aztecs
When: 6 p.m. Friday, otherwise known at traffic o’clock
Where: SDCCU Stadium
TV: CBS Sports Network
Line: SDSU -10.5

The Stakes

Right now, Aztecs fans are flashing Blue Steel after a win on the Smurf Turf. We sit in our cubicles and dream of tables being run, UCF being upset and the Aztecs crashing the New Year’s 6 party. A loss to Air Force ruins all that. A win allows us to maintain the delusion for another week. Please let us keep it. It’s a good delusion!

Also, with SDSU currently at 29 in the Associated Press poll and 31 in the Coaches Poll, a win would give the Aztecs an outside chance to sneak into the rankings next week.

But frankly, these are just the subplots. A historic achievement is on the line, friends.


The Opponent


I’ve been scratching my head this week trying to figure out if we should be nervous about this game and the answer I’ve settled on is definitely maybe.

The Falcons started the season terribly, with an FCS romp followed by consecutive losses to Lane Kiffin U, Utah State and Nevada. BUT! Down big against the Wolve Pack, new QB Donald Hammond III was handed the keys to the jet (fighter jets use ignition keys, right?) and he led a furious near-comeback. He got his first career start last week and passed for a TD and ran for three more as Air Force bombarded (military term) rival Navy 35-7.

Hammond threw only 10 passes last week, but is said to possess a strong arm. Otherwise, you should watch for Cole Fagan on the fullback dive and speedster Kade Remsberg on the pitch. And by you, I mean Parker Baldwin and Kyahva Tezino probably.

Air Force’s defense gave up 362 yards passing per game during its 3-game losing streak, so if Jeff Horton’s offense is a little more balanced than usual, that might explain why. LOL j/k he’s going to call 47 running plays and everyone knows it.


Air Force leads the all-time series 16-19, but the Aztecs are 6-0 in the Rocky Long era.

Other Factors

Facing the triple option on a short week after an emotional win doesn’t strike me as a particularly ideal scenario. That said, the Aztecs saw this offense twice last year, once in the Colorado Springs lightning delay game, which was a gutty win, and the other in the bowl game against Army, which was … not.

But the Aztecs might actually be catching a break by playing this game on Friday, with possible thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday. So footing should be pretty good on the new post-Beyoncé sod while the Aztecs try to chase around pesky 5-foot-9 dudes named Kade, Rona and Noland. Seriously, is there some kind of Air Force Cadet first name generator that spits these out?

Film Study

Watch as the Falcons dispatch the Midshipmen with ease. Don’t ask me why they have a Reno logo on the clip.

Now watch what happened the last time Air Force came to STADIUM, which is irrelevant to the present matchup but awesome nonetheless.


AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
In our five games this year, I’ve picked us to lose three times. I was wrong on two of them because I am a jaded millennial nihilist and unworthy of Rocky Long’s Immense Baby Boomer Forearms of Triumph. I’m picking the Aztecs to win against Air Force, BUT… I’m already bracing for a one-possession game heading into the 4th quarter.

Against Boise, SDSU played the best full game of defense I have ever seen in my 12-ish years following the team. But last time they played a triple-option military academy (Armed Forces Bowl vs Army), it was probably the most hapless defense I’ve seen them play in the Rocky Long era. Add in a short week to prep and a still-injury depleted backfield and I don’t see this one being easy.
SDSU 28, Air Force 21.

AztecsKillingHim @AKH_blog
I realize I’ve spent most of this post building up the idea that Air Force might actually be kinda good, but San Diego State’s defense is playing great and the Aztecs have had four consecutive close wins. I think they’re due to blow the doors off somebody.
SDSU 31, Air Force 13

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
AF brings their triple-option bullshit to the Tombstone this week and that’s always a real treat.* On paper this seems like a potential letdown game after the big Boise upset, and Air Force blew out Navy last week. Rock surely hasn’t forgotten his team’s loss to Army’s read-option in the bowl game last year so the Aztecs should be fired up and ready. Agnew and the backup RBs find enough offense to grind out a W on the new mid-season sod.
SDSU 24, Air Force 17

Author: Aztecs Killing Him

Former proprietor of AztecsKillingHim dot com, a long-dead SDSU sports blog that was possibly dumber even than this one. On Twitter at @akh_blog.


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