Our beloved San Diego State football Aztecs had been living something of a charmed existence during their 6-game winning streak, may it rest in peace. Well, except for the injuries to key starters, but you know what I mean. Along the way, they won games thanks to a targeting foul they committed, a long-ass John Baron field goal, a mad Ryan Agnew scramble after a lightning delay and yet another long-ass Baron field goal.
After doing just enough to win and not a thing more for nearly two months straight, the Aztecs just felt due to cock one up.
And cock one up they did.
SDSU fell 28-24 on the road in Reno against a resurgent Nevada team. There’s no shame in that (Boise nearly did the same), and at 6-2 (3-1 Mountain West) the Aztecs are still essentially a win over Fresno in three weeks away from winning the division. That’s basically exactly where they were at the start of the day.
But a couple things about this loss will stick in our collective craw for a while.
For one thing, everything had lined up perfectly to put SDSU — likely alongside Fresno and Utah State — into the Top 25. Losses this weekend included No. 15 Washington, No. 18 Iowa, No. 19 Oregon, No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 21 South Florida, No. 22 North Carolina State, No. 24 Stanford and No. 25 Appalachian State.
It was blood week for the tenuously-ranked, and rather than take advantage, the Aztecs donated a pint or two of their own. Hopefully they got a free cookie and a cup of orange juice.
The other super annoying thing about this game is that it was basically there for the taking. The SDSU defense gave up 28 (only 23 if you take out points gifted by special teams and offensive blunders) to Ty Gangi and Nevada’s Wolve Raid, but so does basically everybody. The Aztecs lost because their offense couldn’t do a single thing right in the second half and got shut the hell out.
Well, not totally true. They were running the ball pretty decently, they just refused to do it with any regularity. But, apparently, Agnew throwing three first half TDs en-route to a 24-15 first half lead got offensive coordinator Jeff Horton drunk on the forward pass.
On SDSU’s first four fruitless drives after intermission, Aztecs running backs carried the ball 12 times for a respectable 61 yards. Agnew, meanwhile completed 2-of-9 attempts for 25 yards. So when the Aztecs got the ball back at the Nevada 41, trailing by four with 2:42 to play, what do you think they did?
If you guessed “have Agnew chuck it four times while running for his life behind a line that can’t pass block so well” … CONGRATS, YOU GUESSED RIGHT! Four incompletions later, we were all hitting the bottle and saying angry, angry things on the internet. More of that in a bit.
What if I told you the shit that I just outlined above came after an even worse sequence? No, really! With Nevada leading 25-24 with just over 10 minutes to play, Parker Baldwin dropped what would have very likely been a pick six. On the very next play, Jordan Byrd muffed a punt that handed Nevada a short field goal. Honestly, once the deficit was out of Lord Baron’s realm, it was all over.
I’m probably not going to view the highlights of this particular game, folks!
Best Some of Aztecs Twitter
Ho boy. Buckle up.
Rating Rocky Long’s likely enjoyment of the game, on a scale of subtitled French coming-of-age film to 1977 Trans Am with radar detector.
Tonight’s game rated a Shattering a Six Pack of Michelob on the Sidewalk While Fumbling For Your Gate Keys on the Rocky scale.
So we’re laying this one at the feet of the coaches — that’s the consensus, right? Getting out-adjusted at the half by Jay Norvell. Deciding to go pass happy despite the fact that runs were picking up 4-6 yards at a time and the pass protection was hot garbage. What was that? What was any of it?
The Aztecs’ offensive identity — the stone-age, punch-you-in-the-mouth, ball control game that opponents hate to face — is dripping into the gutter and disappearing down the storm drain like so much wasted American macro lager.
I didn’t catch the names of the ESPNU announcers, mostly because I had turned the volume down low because my wife despises ESPN streaming’s “Commercial Break in Progress, Please Stand By” Michael McDonald sounding ass elevator music. But I did hear them talking at length about the Georgia game and Wazzu’s playoff chances, which definitely does not raise my Group of Five inferiority complex hackles one bit, no sir.
When they actually did discuss the game at hand, we got to hear a color guy advocate punting for a team down 4 with 2:23 remaining. That must be what they do in the Power Five?
What’s Next for Football Tecs
Running plays, I hope! SDSU travels to Albuquerque next week to face New Mexico, very probably with QB Christian Chapman back in the saddle. It’s probably a good game to work Chap back in considering the Lobos (3-5) apparently suck major ass. They just lost 61-19 to Utah State, allowing seven first half touchdowns.
Tecs by three.