Game Preview: Aztecs at Fresno State

The classic dilemma: Bumfuck Nowhere or nowhere, bumfuck.

What: Football game
Who: San Diego State Aztecs at Fresno State Bulldogs
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bulldog Stadium
TV: CBS Sports Network
Line: Fresno State -13

The Stakes
All the remaining marbles. SDSU stays mathematically alive for a conference championship with a win; a loss sends the Aztecs home with no Oil Can and only a bottom-tier bowl bid to look forward to.

The Opponent
Fear and loathing in the San Joaquin Valley.

Fresno State crushed SDSU’s conference title hopes into a fine powder last year with a 27-3 thrashing in San Diego. The 2018 Bulldogs might be even better, leading the MW-West division at 8-2 and ranked No. 16 in the AP poll until Boise came back to beat them last week. Their two losses were by four at Minnesota and by seven at Boise. Fresno put up big numbers during their seven-game win streak in between.

The Aztecs have scored more than 28 points just once this season. Fresno has done so six times. The Bulldogs are 47th in total offense (427 yards per game) and 17th in total defense. SDSU is 11th in total defense and 107th — out of 129 FBS teams — in total offense.

FSU is led by former Oregon State grad transfer quarterback Marcus McMaryion. McMaryion and his weird surname are a dual threat; he’s thrown for 21 touchdowns and run for seven, while throwing only three interceptions. His .706 completion percentage is 4th-best in FBS. The dude can play.

After a disastrous 1-11 season in 2016, Fresno State has gone 18-6 under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford.

San Diego State leads the series 16-10 since both schools joined Division I in 1969. The Aztecs lead the all-time series with 29 wins, 24 losses and 4 ties in the rivalry dating all the way back to a 12-2 SDSU victory on November 19, 1923.

Weird shutout fact: Fresno and San Diego State played to a scoreless tie in 1940, then the Bulldogs beat SDSU 26-0 in 1941 and 66-0 in 1942, with all three games at the old Aztec Bowl (now the Viejas Arena site).

SDSU is 2-4 in the series since Fresno State joined the Mountain West in 2012.

The Old Oil Can is essentially a gag trophy made up by alumni in 2011.

Other factors
The young Aztecs were already reeling after their brutal come-from-ahead collapse last week to terrible UNLV of all goddamn teams. Then:

Dang. Well, the Tecs have dealt with injuries all year so maybe it’ll be fi–

Oh shit.

Rocky Long summed up the 2018 football Aztecs really well in this passage as quoted by the U-T:

“We’re a struggling football team,” Long said. “We have been all year long. So you start looking for reasons and it’s very, very simple. …

“Very few seniors and a whole lot of freshmen. Well, this week on (Fresno State’s) two-deep, they have (twice) as many seniors as they do freshmen (18 to 9) and on our two-deep, we have just as many freshmen playing as we do seniors (14 of each).”

Concluded Long: “We have some talent, we’re inconsistent and we’re young and we’re beat up and we play really, really hard, so that gives us a chance to win.”

That chance is looking pretty damn slim this week. Rock would have to reach way down to pull this particular rabbit out of a hat.

Film study
Here’s tape of McMaryion and the Bulldogs destroying the same garbage UNLV team that just beat SDSU.


AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
I’ll be in Fresno for this. It was a rash travel decision made in Boise coming off the high of a win on the blue turf. Now I find myself going to Fresno (on purpose) to watch the SDSU football team (on purpose]. The Bulldogs are straight up better than the Aztecs, but this team does play up, and more often down, to the level of competition. It won’t be a blowout, but it won’t be fun either.
Fresno State 28, SDSU 17

Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
There he goes. One of God’s attempts at chemistry. A high-powered Old Oil Can enthusiast of some kind never even considered for sale on eBay. Too weird to live, of adequate weirdness to travel away to Fresno. #RIPAttemptedChem #Win4Chem
SDSU 5, Fresno State 3

Aztecs Killing Him @akh_blog
The Aztecs’ ability to play up to the level of quality teams is certainly a narrative that should give Chem a glimmer of hope as he spends a wild Friday night at the Perko’s in Dinuba. That has happened exactly twice. Hey, maybe they’ll flip the switch again! On the other hand, SDSU hasn’t played well in more than a month. Fresno is really good and it is with a heavy heart that I predict a palindrome beat down.
Fresno State 31, SDSU 13

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
Fresno is a putrid, dust-choked backwater no matter how good their stupid football team is.
Fresno State 29, SDSU 13

Author: lemonverbena

Californian/Washingtonian, co-editor of Kabeer Thirty.


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