at San Diego State 49 … Cal Poly 21
Posted Sep 3, 2011

Week 1 CFN Fearless Prediction - Cal Poly at San Diego State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 1 - Cal Poly at SDSU

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Sept. 3 at San Diego State 49 … Cal Poly 21
CFN Analysis: Rocky Long knows how to get running games going, and he got Ronnie Hillman rolling right away with 189 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, to show that the new San Diego State offense could be just as productive as the old one. Ryan Lindley got time to work, and while he wasn't consistent, he threw four touchdown passes and he did a nice job of keeping the chains moving. The defensive front did a good job of getting into the backfield and pressuring the Cal Poly passing game, and it did an even better job of getting off the field. The Aztecs held on to the ball for over 36 minutes, and against Army, who'll try to get control of the game from the start with its ground game, holding on to the ball will be a must.

(AP) SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Lindley threw four touchdowns as San Diego State routed Cal Poly 49-21 in Rocky Long's head coaching debut for the Aztecs.

Lindley, who completed 15 of 27 passes for 203 yards, became the Aztecs' all-time leader in touchdown passes when he teamed up with Colin Lockett for an 18-yard TD late in the third quarter. The TD pass was his 71st of his career, surpassing Todd Santos, who had 70 from 1984 through 1987.

Dylan Denso caught two of Lindley's TD passes in the second quarter to help the Aztecs build a 28-14 halftime lead.

Ronnie Hillman was a major contributor for the Aztecs with 189 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Cal Poly (0-0) vs. San Diego State (0-0) Sept. 3 10:00 
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Here's The Deal … The pressure is on new San Diego State head coach Rocky Long to not only keep the production going with Brady Hoke taking off to Michigan, but he has to prove he can take the program even further. Long was terrific as the longtime head man at New Mexico, but he wasn't able to make the Lobos a factor in the Mountain West race. Now with the conference getting better, bigger, and stronger, the Aztecs will find it tougher to battle for the title over the next few seasons. Starting out, SDSU gets to face Cal Poly and its triple-option attack, and next it gets to deal with Army, whose head coach, Rich Ellerson, made Cal Poly a power before switching jobs. The Mustangs are coming off a nice season and should be a factor in the Great West conference, and a win over a team over the Aztecs would go a long way to jack up the confidence before dealing with a road trip against FCS powerhouse Montana.

Why Cal Poly Might Win: The rushing attack should give the Aztecs fit. The Cal Poly rushing attack gives everyone fits. The San Diego State defensive line is quick and athletic, but it doesn't have much in the way of experience; the Mustangs' offense isn't one to try to sharpen up against. Overall, the Aztecs have had a rough August with player after play going down with top corner Josh Wade out for the year with a torn Achilles, good defensive end Larry Gibbs is out with a foot injury, and solid safety Brandon Davis out of the mix for violating team rules. It that wasn't enough of a problem, the San Diego State receiving corps has been gutted with the loss of starters Dominique Sandifer and Jay Waddell with knee injuries. The Aztecs have a lot of work to do anyway, and losing so many key players along with several decent backups could allow Cal Poly to pounce.

Why San Diego State Might Win: The Aztecs might be without several key receivers, but the passing game has the potential to blow up against a Cal Poly secondary that struggled last year giving up 253 yards per game. SDSU quarterback Ryan Lindley has NFL talent, and he has to show it off. The offensive line was terrific last year, finishing fifth in the nation in sacks allowed, and most of the key parts are back. Cal Poly has a strong pass rush, but with so much experience on the Aztec front, and with such a smart veteran conducting the offense, the chains should keep moving. On the other side of the ball, the linebacking corps can fly, especially on the outside. How do you stop the triple-option attack? Have athletic veterans at linebacker, and San Diego State should be able to keep the big runs to a minimum while getting into the backfield on a regular basis.

What To Watch Out For: With so many problems at receiver, the San Diego State running game might have to take over early on. Sophomore Ronnie Hillman is coming off a tremendous 1,532-yard, 17-touchdown season averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and with Rocky Long knowing how to get a ground game going, this should be another big year. While he's only 5-10 and 185 pounds and he's not going to bring much power, he's a speedster who can hit the home run from anywhere on the field. Originally considered a receiver recruit, he signed with the team three years ago but struggled with his academics. He got it all together and became one of the nation's top backs, and now he'll be expected to do even more getting fed the ball at least 250 times.

Hillman might be good, but Cal Poly quarterback Andre Broadous has to be great. Very fast and with a decent, accurate arm, he's a dangerous dual-threat playmaker with the potential to become a statistical superstar with a little bit of time. His decision making has to be flawless.

What Will Happen: Cal Poly will push the Aztecs in what should be a terrific game. The Mustang offense will rip off at least 250 yards on the ground, but San Diego State will be more balanced and will do far more through the air even with all the problems with the receiving corps. Lindley will be fantastic.

CFN Prediction: San Diego State 27 ... Cal Poly 23
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