Preview: 3 Keys for San Diego State to Beat New Mexico.
3 Keys for San Diego State to win on Friday
San Diego State wraps up regular season play against New Mexico.
San Diego State is coming off a pure beatdown of Nevada which Rashaad Penny almost beat by himself. This week has seen a slight to Penny and San Diego State by not getting an invite to the Doak Walker Award ceremony causing an uproar among Aztec staff and alumni.
I don’t get how you can lead the country in damn near every rushing category & not be a finalist @pennyhendrixx I could’ve sworn Barkley on there because of All Purpose Yards , but hmm who leads that category? I’ll wait ..
— Donnel Pumphrey Jr. (@Pumphrey6K) November 21, 2017
But San Diego State is ready to close the “regular” season at 10-2. After the no-shows against Boise State and Fresno State, they have been rolling and riding a 3-game winning streak.
Contrast that with Friday’s opponent in the New Mexico Lobos who have been on a 6-game slump. Before losing 6 straight, the Lobos were 3-2 after manhandling Air Force and were looking to be bowl-eligible. The Lobos have been bowl-eligible the last two seasons and were trying to make a bowl not named New Mexico.
The bowl-eligible Aztecs are on bowl-watch with a lean towards another trip to Hawaii (Hawaii Bowl) or heading back into the desert (Arizona Bowl). These are the keys for San Diego State to hold off another option team and go into a bowl game with 10 wins.
Don’t let up on the run
The triple-option attack led by Tyrone Owens, Richard McQuarley, and Lamar Jordan has been putting up the numbers, but not the W’s. San Diego State has been staunch defending the run their last 3 games. They haven’t allowed a team over 35 rushing yards since facing Fresno State. When you compare this New Mexico team to Air Force who utilizes the triple-option, the Aztecs kept Air Force at 220 yards of rushing. The Aztecs are best when they make plays to cause turnovers and find ways to keep offenses one-dimensional.
Let Penny be great
San Diego State’s coaching staff and alumni have been vocal about the snub to their star running back. After a career-high and program-high performance, it’s going to be tough for the Rashaad Penny and the offensive line to repeat a performance like that. Though they have the ability to do damage especially since UNLV ran 323 yards on the Lobos defense. Keep in mind the Lobos are currently 44th in NCAA in team defense and former Aztecs opponents in the top 50 NCAA defenses are Northern Illinois, Boise State, and Fresno State. It might take work, but it’s doable for Penny to end the season with another 100-plus-yard rushing game.
Before a coin-flip toss last Saturday night, the Aztecs were out of the running for a conference championship. The Aztecs are coming off a short week because of Friday’s kickoff and it’s Senior Night (Day?) for the Aztecs. There’s going to be emotion for those who will wear the Aztecs jersey one more time in front of the home crowd, mind you there is no more Poinsettia Bowl to fall back on. Despite all that the program has to stay hungry through Friday’s game and the end of the upcoming bowl game to set the stage for the 2018 team.