Armed Forces Bowl: San Diego State slips up against Army, 42-35.
San Diego State Aztecs fall to the Army Black Knights in the Armed Forced Bowl.
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San Diego State finds trouble with Army’s speed-option
Going into the Armed Forces Bowl San Diego State had been 2-0 against option teams in 2017, Air Force and New Mexico. Also have been 2-0 all-time against Army since 2011.
The Aztecs were favored by 7 points to overcome the number one rushing offense in NCAA.
From the jump of the game, the Aztecs knew it was going to be Rashaad Penny’s day. Despite not being invited to New York for the Heisman ceremonies, he made his mark on the Armed Forces Bowl and college football. On the first drive, Penny goes house with an 81-yard touchdown run for an early 7-0 lead.
For Army, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and the Army offensive line executed their offense and got the push they wanted. The Army offense put up 440 yards of rushing and owned the time of possession at 46:00. They converted 13 of 18 third downs and 2 of 4 fourth downs. The Army’s speed-option was something else Rocky Long’s defense couldn’t keep up with.
Despite Army having three quarters of possession, the Aztecs came through on big plays thanks to Penny and Juwan Washington. Penny tacked on a 32-yard, 49-yard, and a 4-yard touchdown while Washington took back a 78-yard touchdown run. The backs kept the Aztecs alive throughout the game.
Army’s failed trick plays were the tide that starting to turn for SDSU. A failed fake field goal attempt led to Penny’s 49-yard touchdown and San Diego State was in a position to take over the game.
However, a poorly executed fade route in the red zone from Christian Chapman led to a tipped interception and Army got it right back which set up a Bradshaw 32-yard touchdown run.
The nail in the coffin for the Aztecs was a 15-play 72-yard touchdown drive late by the Black Knights. After the Aztecs went up on a touchdown by Penny, the Black Knights started on their own 31. The Aztecs couldn’t get off the field. The Aztecs looked tired and overcommitted on the option-reads. Before the Aztecs could get the ball back, they were staring an offense on a 2-point attempt. A jet sweep by the Black Knights saw open field to the far-side pylon.
San Diego State’s best shot a comeback was their special teams return. Juwan Washington was one broken tackle away from a touchdown and put the pressure of the comeback onto Chapman. In the previous losses to Boise State and Fresno State, it’s hard for Chapman to shoulder the comeback with so little time left.
The Aztecs defense couldn’t hold up at the end of the game. They were gassed being on the field that long, but credit Penny and Washington motivating the team from San Diego. There was a lot of effort from the Aztecs and not a lot of people tagged this game as a shootout.