Frisco Bowl Preview: Aztecs vs Ohio

Major Rock is gonna ride out this bomb of a season if it harelips everybody in Lemon Grove.

What: Postseason football game
Who: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Ohio Bobcats
When: 5:00 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas
TV: ESPN
Line: Ohio -2.5

The Stakes
Pride and self-respect. Making their ninth straight bowl appearance, the Aztecs need a win to avoid ending the season on a four-game losing streak. And in a late surprise, SDSU will have to overcome the suspension of three players — including starters Noble Hall and Daishawn Dixon — sent home by Rocky Long two days before the game.

The Frisco Bowl is the former Miami Beach Bowl, which was played at Marlins Park from 2014 to 2016. Frisco is a half-hour drive north of Dallas.

The Opponent
Before being announced as SDSU’s bowl opponent, I was only vaguely aware of Ohio University’s existence. Founded in 1804 and the oldest university in the state, Ohio U. is situated on a sprawling 1,800-acre campus in the little college town of Athens. It sounds kind of idyllic to be quite honest. The school’s student population is 60 percent women, a demographic anomaly future college applicants may wish to consider.

Ohio started playing football in 1894. Pretty legit considering the game has only existed (as 25-on-25 murderball) since 1869. The football Bobcats have competed in Division I since 1962.

Ohio is actually 8-4 but AKH is right otherwise: Ohio has been putting up lots of points.

Ay, oh, way to go Ohio: good for a MAC school, Middle of the Road anywhere else. Prrrr, rawr!

The Bobcats are 8th in rushing in FBS, averaging 262 yards a game from a zone-read offense. Their two senior running backs have combined for nearly 2,000 yards and quarterback Nathan Rourke has rushed for another 831 yards.

Ohio is 66th in total defense but tied for 1st with a ridiculous 30 takeaways.

In 20 seasons as a head coach between Nebraska and Ohio, tortoise-shelled Frank Solich has taken his teams to 15 bowl games, including nine of the last 10 years at Ohio.

History
This is the first-ever meeting of the schools in football. SDSU is 13-0-1 against the scrappy Mid-American Conference since joining Division I.

Other Factors
The irony of the Aztecs playing a zero-prestige bowl game in a soccer-specific MLS stadium that holds 20,000 will not be lost on anybody. SDSU hasn’t won a game since Measure G passed.

Ten Nine non-suspended Aztecs hail from Texas, notably juniors Juwan Washington and Ryan Agnew.

Ohio has a better record and is the designated home team. The Aztecs will suit up in their road whites.

The big story is obviously the suspensions. Losing Noble Hall is a huge blow to the defense and the offensive line is now a patchwork.

Weather forecast is cloudy and 56 degrees.

Film Study
Here’s tape of the Bobcats lighting up our old friends the Buffalo Bulls — who went 10-3 this season — for 52 points and five takeaways.

STAFF PREDICTIONS

AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
Just when you think this season has rendered you immune to feeling feelings, the Aztecs are back for one last ride to lose in close, heart-wrenching fashion. But the Cowboy Rocky meme was born this week and thus I’m taking it at a net positive.
Ohio 28, SDSU 27

Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
The Aztecs get a preview of what playing football in an MLS stadium would have looked like in this week’s Frisco Bowl. Washington will make a “land grab” of his own and dominate the ground game — local boy runnin’ wild, to the delight of local developers. Much like the entire stadium saga, we’ll look back at this bowl and wonder why it even had to happen when things were so much more promising in the past.
SDSU 28, Ohio 17

Aztecs Killing Him @akh_blog
The football Tecs haven’t played in about three weeks, which hopefully has given them enough time to force quit and restart following their November death spiral. Watch for newly healthy Juwan Washington to run wild in his home state, Christian Chapman to have a good game for old times’ sake and the Aztecs to generally play so well that it makes us wistful for what might have been.
SDSU 38, Ohio 24

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
These poor bastards all submitted their predictions before the latest suspensions dropped. Folks,,, we might be screwed.
Ohio 35, SDSU 27

Author: lemonverbena

Californian/Washingtonian, co-editor of Kabeer Thirty.

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