I really want nothing more than to go to bed and sleep for about 17 hours, so I’ll do my best to keep this brief. The San Diego State football team carried a No. 19 ranking, Heisman hype and a Fiesta Bowl resume into Saturday night’s conference showdown with the objectively evil Boise State Broncos.
I had misgivings about this game from the start. San Diego State had traveled to a wounded but proud city to play a team inspired to honor its fallen friends and neighbors. A win here wasn’t going to feel good, no matter what.
Then the game started and my misgivings mounted. The Aztecs opened with a methodical drive that stalled at the 1 when Rashaad Penny stunningly fumbled a pitch. SDSU forced a three and out and promptly marched back down inside the 10 … only to settle for the field goal.
Total domination, and a 3 point lead.
That start was the college football version of picking up a hitchhiker on a lonely highway in a horror movie. You just knew by the end of the game, we were going to be staggering for shelter toward a creepy, half-collapsed barn and … oh no, no, NO … don’t go in there! This is baaaaaad!
And then the Aztecs beat UNLV 41-10.
I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t worry so much about this team.
Emotionally painful, for those of us who only watched, but scary painful when a chickenshit Northern Illinois linebacker jammed fingers into Rashaad Penny’s eyes while he was pinned beneath a defender.
One week ago tonight, the Aztecs delivered a huge comeback win against Stanford that we all replayed in our heads and on all our various devices for the entire week. That game was awesome.
Tonight, the Aztecs delivered a huge comeback win against Air Force that I now wish to scrub from my memory using one of those Men In Black neuralyzer things. That game was horrible and can go screw itself.
It had been about 15 minutes since the final gun, since the jubilant mass of students and young(ish) alumni awkwardly hopped the railings from Plaza into the Field Level seats to execute the first STADIUM football field storming since … ever? Maybe ever. Who knows.
A few thousand of us were still milling about in a state of euphoria as an unfamiliar disembodied voice came on the PA and told us, in the most sterile and diplomatic way possible, to get the fuck out. The powers that be expedited this order by herding us through the tunnel in the east end zone.
As we trudged up the crumbling concrete ramp, under hundreds of shoes and work boots dangling from a wire above (who knew?) a student let out his pent-up exuberance with a guttural roar. The hundreds herded into the tunnel immediately took the hint and turned the cramped rat hole into a cacophony of sound.
It was spontaneous. It was beautiful. It was like nothing I had ever seen at a San Diego State football game. I’m willing to bet we’ll never see anything quite like it again.
I think most of us expected a win in Tempe. Our paradigm in this new golden age of San Diego State football, with seven straight bowl appearances and back-to-back conference titles in the trophy case, is that we view a road game against Arizona State as a Should Win. Even though SDSU had:
Never beaten the Sun Devils in 11 games dating back to 1934, and
Had lost 28 straight road games against Pac opponents.
We’ll come back to that road futility streak. Most importantly, let’s talk about Rashaad Penny.
After the dumbfounding mediocrity of the regular season, the glory of the first two games of the Mountain West Tournament had us all dreaming of a storybook ending for our SDSU men’s basketball heroes.
There shall be no storybook ending for our SDSU men’s basketball heroes.
The Aztecs bowed out to Colorado State 71-63 in the semifinals on Friday night/very nearly Saturday morning in Las Vegas. The grim demise came after leading – often dominating – for most of the way; about as fitting an epitaph as you can write for this year’s squad, actually.
The San Diego State men’s basketball team, forced to suit up for the play-in round of the Mountain West tournament for the first time ever, overcame a horrific first half to beat the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels 62-52 in overtime. It was a really exciting game in a “this shouldn’t be remotely this stressful” kind of way. It was a game that affirmed the old adage: Never question the heart of a six seed.