Game Preview: Aztecs at Nevada

sigil
Winter is Coming.

What: Football game
Who: San Diego State Aztecs at Nevada Wolve Pæck
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mackay Stadium
TV: ESPNU
Line: SDSU -2.5 and falling

The Stakes
I thought that the two possible outcomes for last week’s San José State game were either a Top 25 ranking or a humiliating defeat. Props to the Aztecs for finding a Third Way, I suppose? With SDSU now at 28 in both polls, a road win of any kind over a decidedly pulse-having Nevada-Reno squad this week should actually do the trick this time. I think?

A loss wouldn’t be entirely devastating in the MWC West Division race, but it would almost certainly force SDSU to win out to avoid being unceremoniously fed to the Arizona/Potato/New Mexico Bowl three-headed sadbeast.

The Opponent
The Aztecs and their threadbare offense haven’t scored more than 28 points in any game this year and they are fresh off scoring a robust 16 points against the Spartans, a squad whose starting defense consists of nine men, a Labrador retriever and a 500 series Roomba with a defective battery. The good news is that SDSU now hits the road to Reno to face a team that … (checks statistics) … is capable of scoring, like, a bajillion points.

(breathes into paper bag)

Not scared of Nevada? You probably should be! The Wolve Pæck’s 4-4 record isn’t incredibly impressive on its face, but their spread attack is averaging 44 points per game (!) in wins — an average that actually went down in their 40-22 road romp over the ‘Bows on the Islands last week. What’s more, their losses include:

  • A loss to Toledo in which they scored 44 points.
  • A 31-27 heartbreaker against Boise State
  • A 21-3 loss to Fresno, which you can basically throw out because QB Ty Gangi sat out with a leg injury

The pressure will be on the Aztecs defense to contain Gangi (14 TDs, 7 picks), who I’ve basically been leery of ever since he carved up the SDSU secondary for 414 yards in San Diego last November. His top targets are Kaleb Fossum (54 catches) and McLane Mannix (616 yards) who, in addition to being dangerous receivers, have the most MWC player names imaginable. How they didn’t end up at Utah State with those names is a mystery. The Pack can also run the ball a little, thanks to nasty 5-foot-8 freshman pinball Toa Taua, who has gained 575 yards with a 6.3 per carry average.

But at least Nevada’s defense sucks, right? #WellActually, they’ve been stuffing the run pretty well since the start of conference play. But don’t worry, I’m sure SDSU will mix in enough passing and trickery to keep them honest, rather than running it into the line over and over again. Definitely. Nothing to worry about there.

Also, did you know Nevada’s defense has a Turnover Towel? Get it? It’s like Miami’s Turnover Chain, only extremely Reno.

Prepare to hear about this incessantly on the ESPNU broadcast, whether or not there are actually any turnovers forced. I vote for not.

History
SDSU leads the all-time series 7-3, including a 5-1 mark since Nevada joined the Mountain West in 2012. But I’m still smarting from the 44-6 hurting the Pæck put on San Diego State College back in 1945. Completely put a damper on the total defeat of the Axis Powers.

Other Factors
It’s actually supposed to be sunny and warm in Reno on Saturday so that probably counts as a lucky break this time of year. Good weather and 4,500-foot elevation should mean that John Baron II gets to try anything inside of 65 yards. And he might have to as the Aztecs will head into their fourth straight game with nothing but backups in the offensive backfield.

At some point we’re going to look back and realize how insanely improbable this current winning streak has been. I’d be OK with it getting a little longer though.*

Film Study
Here is Nevada beating the breaks off of one of the best Hawai’i teams in years.

rue

And here — mainly because I want to watch it again — is the Aztecs’ epic overtime win in Reno in 2012, followed by Adam Dingwell giving the greatest postgame interview in the history of televised sports.

THE MAN THANKED HIMSELF! This contest is over. Give that man the $10,000.

Staff Predictions

Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
My thoughts on the game are goddamned Musselman. I know it’s football.
Aztecs 22, Nevada 17

AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
It is my prediction that the Aztecs will win this game despite racking up 57 total yards of offense and fumbling 7 times. John Baron II will kick a 65-yard field goal as time expires.
Aztecs 12, Nevada 10

AztecsKillingHim @AKH_blog
Super excited to spend my Saturday night pacing around my living room and cursing at my teevee. I’m not mad, I’m actually laughing.
Nevada 28, Aztecs 20

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
The Wolve Pæck in Reno, coming off a big win. Is this the week the magic ends? Can the Tecs defense and Lord Baron keep bailing out their low-octane O? Man, I don’t know.
Nevada 24, Aztecs 20

*That’s what she said.

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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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