San Diego State Football Recap: Aztecs beat Weber State Wildcats, 6-0.
The Aztecs grind a victory against an FCS-opponent
This game had more of a baseball vibe than football and the score shows.
San Diego State and Weber State have a bit in common. San Diego State had a Stephen Weber as their president. Weber State also isn’t a state. Their best alumnus in current professional sports plays basketball.* Their football offenses look anemic.
Weber State did not look dominant in this game. Credit the swarming San Diego State defense for that. The one-score difference is the product of an offense that resembles IKEA furniture with missing pieces.
After seeing the Aztecs drop 5 of their last 6 games in 2018, Rocky Long had to do something besides relying on power running football. As it stands, Long had to reluctantly tailor the offense to Ryan Agnew and not Juwan Washington. From the Adam Meuma-era to the Rashaad Penny-era it was easy for Long to hand the reins off to quarterbacks who are comfortable handing the ball off to their best player.
San Diego State is Running Back U, but Running Back U was shut out in their bowl game last year and hasn’t found a rhythm since the early part of 2018.
On paper, the Aztecs ran 43 times and passed 30 times. On the Facebook stream, it looked like the Aztecs needed a new furniture set, not a Phillips screwdriver. Long wanted keep at the run game, but not to the point where 8 guys were coming to the line.
Against Weber State, the entire offense earned 238 yards. In previous years the running back accomplishes that by themselves. Ryan Agnew was 16 of 30 with his longest reception at 12 yards. Agnew’s mobility also kept drives alive, converting a few third downs. His predecessors might have not been able to move the chains the way he does or scramble to find someone open.
For example, Agnew scrambled out of the pocket in which Facebook announcers called a “Brett Favre-like play” where Agnew throws across his body to hit Daniel Bellinger for a 12-yard reception and first down.
Juwan Washington was ready to go and redeem himself of an underwhelming 2018 campaign, but an in-game ankle injury limited his carries. The bulk of his work came in the second half and ended his stat line at 22 carries for 55 yards. A very conservative count considering the offense scheme change.
Running the 4minute offense was a bit of the struggle. Even in I-formation, these guys went three and out twice. It’s definitely a shock to the system for the offensive line to change their scheme, but not philosophy.
The Aztecs defense carried this team without a question. The defense only allowed 154 yards of offense, 35 yards rushing, and 3 third-down conversions. Tariq Thompson sealed the game late with an interception and looks like a solid leader on defense. The guys rallied to make tackles and pressured the quarterback.
Credit Rocky Long for opening the season with an FCS team and not a Power 5 team like his counterparts have done.
The Mountain West has produced upsets in season openers like Hawaii over Arizona, Boise State over Florida State, Wyoming over Missouri, and Nevada over Purdue. Utah State missing an upset over Wake Forest.
This would have been a disaster if they opened against UCLA here. As it goes, the Aztecs are 1-0 and have to prepare for a Pac-12 team that’s hungry for a home victory after a stinging defeat at Cincinnati.
*Weber State alumni Damian Lillard went to Ogden, UT instead of San Diego, CA where he could’ve played with a freshman Kawhi Leonard a year-later. Yet, chances are that he would sit behind D.J. Gay and would’ve been more overlooked on the bench.