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CFN Take: SDSU Runs Over Bulls In Boise

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 21, 2013


2013 San Diego State Aztecs ... Head Coach: Rocky Long


San Diego State Aztecs

2013 Record: 8-5
Aug. 31 E. Illinois L 40-19
Sept. 7 at Ohio State L 42-7
Sept. 14 OPEN DATE
Sept. 21 Oregon State L 34-30
Sept. 28 at New Mexico St W 26-16
Oct. 4 Nevada W 51-44 OT
Oct. 10 at Air Force W 27-20
Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
Oct. 26 Fresno State L 51-44 OT
Nov. 2 New Mexico W 35-30
Nov. 9 at SJSU W 34-30
Nov. 16 at Hawaii W 28-21 OT
Nov. 23 Boise State W 34-31
Nov. 30 at UNLV L 45-19
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Dec. 21 Buffalo W 49-24
2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24
Basically … San Diego State took control right away on a weaving, rumbling 29-yard touchdown run from quarterback Quinn Kaehler, and Adam Muema scored the first of his three touchdowns for a 14-0 Aztec lead. Buffalo fought back with Branden Oliver scoring on a 10-yard touchdown catch and getting a 38-yard Patrick Clarke field goal, but the last few minutes of the first half were disastrous for the Bulls leading to an eight-yard Muema scoring run and a 25-yard Dylan Denso touchdown catch in the final 1:11 as part of a run of 28 points that put the game away. Buffalo got two fourth quarter touchdowns on a 23-yard Alex Neutz catch and a ten-yard Fred Lee scoring grab.

- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran 28 times for 229 yards and three scores
- Buffalo RB Branden Oliver ran 28 times for 114 yards
- Penalties: San Diego State 13 for 122 yards, Buffalo 8 for 54 yards
- Buffalo LB Khalil Mack made six tackles with a fumble recovery and a broken up pass.

at UNLV 45, San Diego State 19
Basically … San Diego State’s Colin Lockett scored less than a minute into the game on a 39-yard touchdown catch, and then UNLV opened up the scoring with 31 straight on the way to a 45-13 lead with Caleb Herring throwing five touchdown passes and running for another. Devante Davis caught touchdown passes from five, ten, 63 and six yards way, and Marcus Sullivan caught a 32-yard scoring play. The Aztecs scored late on a 71-yard Tim Vizzi punt return.
- UNLV QB Caleb Herring completed 20-of-30 passes for 270 yards and five scores, and he ran nine times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
- San Diego State QB Quinn Kaehler completed 24-of-46 passes for 239 yards and a score with two picks.
- UNLV WR Devante Davis caught eight passes for 171 yards and four scores.
- San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey ran 13 times for 87 yards and a touchdown.

San Diego State 28, at Hawaii 21 OT
Basically … Adam Muema ran for a two-yard score to help give San Diego State a seven-point lead in overtime, and Hawaii couldn’t answer getting sacked and with a few misfires giving the Aztecs the win. SDSU overcame four turnovers and forced overtime in the final few minutes on a 14-yard Chad Young run. Hawaii got two touchdown passes from Sean Schroeder and two scores from Joey Iosefa on a five-yard run and an eight-yard pass, but San Diego State kept pace with a 56-yard Colin Lockett touchdown catch and a 30-yard Donnel Pumphrey run.
- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran 24 times for 163 yards and a score.
- Hawaii RB Joey Iosefa ran 37 times for 150 yards and a score, and he caught two passes for 18 yards and a touchdown.
- San Diego State lost four fumbles, Hawaii turned it over twice.
- Hawaii QB Sean Schroeder completed 18-of-36 passes for 194 yards and two scores with a pick.

San Diego State 34, at San Jose State 30
Basically … Down 23-12 going into the fourth quarter, San Diego State scored 22 points with Donnell Pumphrey running for a two-yard score and Adam Roberts added a one-yarder, but it was Adam Muema’s 12-yard touchdown run, his second score of the day, that pulled the Aztecs ahead for good. San Jose State got three touchdown passes from David Fales including two to Tim Crawley from 13 and 12 yards out along with a 40-yarder to Chandler Jones. There was still plenty of time for the Spartans to come back, but Fales was picked off by J.J. Whittaker on fourth down.
- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran 21 times for 113 yards and two scores.
- San Jose State QB David Fales completed 27-of-48 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns with two picks.
- San Jose State WR Chandler Jones caught 11 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.
- San Diego State QB Quinn Kaehler completed 18-of-31 passes for 235 yards and two scores with a pick.

at San Diego State 35, New Mexico 30
Basically … Ezell Ruffin caught a 75-yard touchdown pass 16 seconds into the game, and Adam Muema scored from four and two yards out, and added a one-yard run with just under two minutes to play to put San Diego State up for good. New Mexico didn’t quit as Tyler Duncan caught a 36-yard touchdown pass with 46 seconds to play to help cut the lead to five, but the Aztecs recovered the onside kick. The Lobos stayed in the game with Teriyon Gipson touchdown runs from 20 and five yards out, and Crusoe Gongbay added an 18-yard touchdown run.
- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran for a season-high 233 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.
- New Mexico’s Cole Gautsche completed just 6-of-16 passes for 101 yards and a pick, and he ran ten times for 66 yards and a touchdown, but it was Clayton Mitchem who moved the offense late, completing all four of his passes for 69 yards and a score.
- New Mexico and San Diego State combined for 502 rushing yards.
- Aztec WR Ezell Ruffin caught seven passes for 165 yards and two scores.

Fresno State 35, at San Diego State 28 OT
Basically … Fresno State blocked a field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime, and won with a one-yard Marteze Waller touchdown run and a defensive stop. The Bulldogs were up 28-14 in the fourth helped by two Derek Carr touchdown passes to Davante Adams and a 78-yard fumble return for a score from Ejiro Ederaine, but the Aztecs owned the final nine minutes with touchdown runs from Aaron Boesch and Chad Young to tie the game with just over six minutes to play, and a long march over the final 4:32 set up a 37-yard Seamus McMorrow field goal attempt. Marcel Jensen rose up and got his hand on the kick, and Fresno State’s BCS hopes stayed alive. Aztec running back Adam Muema ran for 111 yards and two short scores.

San Diego State 27 … Air Force 20
Basically … Down 20-6 in the fourth quarter, San Diego State scored 21 unanswered points with a ten-yard touchdown run from Donnel Pumphrey the game-winner with just under two minutes to play. Pumphrey started out the fourth quarter scoring with a 20-yard run, and Ezell Ruffin added a 62-yard touchdown catch. Air Force shocked SDSU with a 71-yard scoring pass to Sam Gagliano in the third, but the scoring stopped in the fourth.
- Give San Diego State credit for the big rally when nothing was going its way. The kicking game was awful and the passing game was inconsistent, but Quinn Kaehler did what he needed to and the 1-2 rushing punch of Donnel Pumphrey and Adam Muema was terrific, combining for 203 yards.
- Air Force had everything set up perfectly up 20-6 going into the fourth quarter. Instead, the running game couldn’t put the game away and couldn’t control the clock, keeping it for just 6:39 in the fourth. The defense appeared gassed and couldn’t get off the field.
- Safety Nat Behre came up with a huge game for the Aztecs, holding up against the Air Force option game making 14 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss. He was the tone-setter, while Alex Barrett did the job against the passing game with two sacks and good pressure.
- Air Force will almost never win when it doesn’t control the running game. San Diego State ran for 214 yards to Air Force’s 169, and while Anthony Lacoste came up with 109 yards, no one else was able to break free and there weren’t any big dashes. There were only two runs of more than ten yards.

at San Diego State 51, Nevada 44 OT
Basically … Eric Judge caught a five-yard touchdown pass in overtime, and the San Diego State defense held without a problem to avoid a total collapse. The Aztecs held a 44-23 lead in the fourth quarter helped by a 72-yard scoring dash from Donnel Pumphrey, two Adam Muema scoring runs, and two of Quinn Kaehler’s three touchdown passes, but Nevada mounted a furious comeback in the fourth. The Wolf Pack scored points in the final frame with two short scores and a five-yard touchdown catch from Richy Turner to help force overtime. Kendall Brock ran for three scores for the Pack.
- The San Diego State offensive line cranked out the big game the team needed against a bad defense. The Aztecs finally got a terrific game out of Adam Muema, who ran 24 times for 135 yards and three touchdowns, while Donnel Pumphrey tore off 112 yards helped by his 72-yard scoring dash.
- This is a different Nevada offense – it’s not cranking out the running game like it should. There were chances to stick around and not let the game get out of hand, but two Cody Fajardo fumbles were costly and forced the big comeback attempt. Fajardo was fantastic late, completing 33-of-52 passes on the day for 393 yards, but it would be nice if the running game could be more explosive.
- Brandon Wimberly is having a very, very nice season for the Wolf Pack passing game. The veteran receiver followed up a 15 catch game against Air Force with a more explosive 12-catch, 127-yard, one touchdown game. He has a scoring grab in each of his last five games.
- This was a season saver for the Aztecs. It would’ve been bad enough to lose to Nevada and go 1-4, but to collapse in the fourth quarter would’ve been absolutely devastating with a road trip to Air Force and a date with Fresno State up next. A bowl bid is back on the table.

San Diego State 26, at New Mexico State 16
Basically … San Diego State overcame an early 16-0 deficit with 26 unanswered points, starting out with a blocked conversion attempt for two points on NMSU’s final touchdown. Donnel Pumphrey ran for touchdowns from 12, two and 43 in the second half, while the Aztec defense clamped down after allowing two Andrew McDonald scoring passes in the first half.
- It might not have been a thing of beauty, and it might have been really, really ugly early, but San Diego State finally got a win. If took controlling the game with the ground attack, with Donnel Pumphrey running for 167 yards and three scores on 19 carries, but a tough first part of the season has a positive.
- Where did the Aggie offense go? Andrew McDonald kept on throwing, but there wasn’t any ground game to help the cause and the downfield passing dried up after com early success. NMSU just couldn’t move the ball.
- How did San Diego State end up winning this game? It had the ball for just over 31 of the final 45 minutes. New Mexico State’s offense was seemingly never on the field after a great first quarter.
- David Cazares continues to put up huge numbers for the Aggie defense – cranking out 14 tackles with a tackle for loss – but there weren’t enough third down stops. This loss hurts – the chances were there early.

Oregon State 34, at San Diego State 30
Basically … Down 27-14 after the third quarter, Oregon State rallied for 20 fourth quarter points with Sean Mannion touchdown passes to pull within two, and then the defense saved the day with a 16-yard Steven Nelson interception return for a score with just 2:31 to play – nine seconds after Mannion’s second scoring pass of the quarter. Oregon State took a 14-7 first quarter lead on a two-yard pass to Kellen Clute in the first quarter, and then San Diego State exploded with 20 straight points highlighted by an 80-yard Colin Lockett touchdown catch. But when the Beaver offense started to work late, the Aztecs couldn’t stop it.
- Mistakes have been an absolute killer for the Aztecs. The team hasn’t been a world-beater, but turnovers ruined the Eastern Illinois game and the pick six late was a devastating blow. Quinn Kaehler’s second interception of the quarter snuffed out the SDSU final chance.
- Oregon State was loaded with big mistakes on its own with 13 penalties and two turnovers. Fortunately, Sean Mannion bombed away to pull the game out of the fire. He threw 55 times for 367 yards and three touchdowns to offset a non-existent day from the running game that finished with just ten net yards on 20 carries.
- The Aztecs were terrific at getting behind the line and forcing Oregon State to be one-dimensional. King Holder led the way with 11 tackles and two broken up passes, but the team as a whole was disruptive.
- SDSU was good at getting behind the line, but Oregon State was better. The Beaver defense kept bringing the heat all game long with five sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Even so, Kaehler kept pushing until he made the two key late mistakes.

at Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7, Sept. 7
Basically … Kenny Guiton stepped in for an injured Braxton Miller and threw two touchdown passes and ran for a team-leading 83 yards and a score in the easy win. Miller left the game early with a sprained knee, but Guiton had no problem running the attack with a perfect 27-yard touchdown pass to Corey Brown and another one to him from 24 yards out. San Diego State didn’t get on the board until it was down 42-0 on a two-yard Chad Young touchdown catch.
- How will Guiton do now that the spotlight is on? He’s been a great relief pitcher, but now it looks like he could be the main man for a while until Miller is healthy again. The ground game and the running backs should get more of the work.
- San Diego State has GOT to stop turning the ball over. After a disastrous day against Eastern Illinois, the Aztecs gave the ball away four times. The offense isn’t good enough to handle the mistakes.
- In his first game back from suspension, Ohio State corner Bradley Roby made four tackles with a broken up pass. He didn’t show any rust, and the rest of the defense wasn’t truly tested.
- Adam Dingwell had another disastrous outing. The Aztec starting quarterback missed on his first five passes with a pick. Quinn Kaehler pushed the ball around the field a little bit, completing 22-of-36 passes for 216 yards and a score with a pick.

Eastern Illinois 40, at San Diego State 19, Aug. 31
Basically … San Diego State turned the ball over five times, and EIU took advantage scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half including a 60-yard punt return for a score from Shephard Little and two Taylor Duncan touchdown runs. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns, finding Erik Lora for scores from 37 and four yards out in the first half. San Diego State got four Wes Feer field goals and a 48-yard touchdown run from receiver Colin Lockett.
- This was a total team disaster for the Aztec. Kicker Wes Feer did his job, but the offense couldn’t stop giving the ball away with Adam Dingwell throwing four picks, and the ground game couldn’t find any sort of a groove. Throw in the special teams meltdown and the Aztecs have lots and lots to work on.
- The breakdowns are going to kill a hard-nosed defensive coach line Rocky Long. Not only did EIU get several breaks from the defense on takeaways, but the Aztec defense got picked to shreds giving up too many big plays and not holding tough late against the run.
- San Diego State held on to the ball for almost 38 minutes, but saw promising drives stall or stop with a turnover.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited The Aztecs quietly put together a nice season that ended with a thud, losing to BYU in an ugly bowl performance. Along the way, through, they pushed Washington, battles in losses to San Jose State and Fresno State, and cost the Mountain West a shot at a BCS appearance with a win over Boise State. Now they should be even better. Depending on the alignment, 18 starters could be back including Adam Muema, a terrific back who’s on the verge of a national breakout season. The entire defensive front six returns after leading the conference against the run.

Why To Be Grouchy There aren’t many losses, but they’ll sting. Leon McFadden was one of the league’s best corners, and tight end Gavin Escobar was a terrific all-around tight end who led the team in receiving. They’ll each be in the NFL next year. Also gone are center Alec Johnson and right guard Nik Embernate, two strong run blockers in the interior. Solid placekicker Chance Marden was a difference maker, but now he’s gone.

What Needs Working On The passing game needs some help. It was efficient and occasionally effective when it had to be, and Rocky Long’s teams revolve around the grinding ground game, but the Aztecs were too mediocre throwing the ball. Adam Dingwell wasn’t bad after taking over the job, but the bad days were costly including a three pick, 144-yard day in the bowl loss to BYU. He gave up at least one interception in each of the last five games after a nearly perfect game to beat Nevada. This spring he has to make the offense his.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Aztecs don't have any gaping holes with 20 starters returning, but finding a couple of good starting corners is a must after losing Leon McFadden and Josh Wade. The pass defense wasn't exactly a rock with those two, giving up over 3,000 yards and having problems on third downs. The offense has to be better at hanging on to the ball after giving it away 25 times, and penalties were also a wee bit of an issue.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive back. The defensive line is getting two fantastic prospects in Dakota Turner and Jordan Watson, and the receiving corps is getting some help with Julius Wilson and Joe Morrow two good-sized targets, but this class is about the secondary with corners Charles Okonkwo and Kalan Montgomery along with safety Marcus Stamps leading a loaded group. It's not a stretch to call this the Mountain West's best area of improvement this recruiting season. Sergio Phillips will soon be the team's starting center.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 73. That Class Was Heavy On ... After years of loading up with skill players, now the Aztecs need to do more for the defensive side. Linebackers appears to be set for the next few years, but the line will get more bodies even though there’s a young group already ready to do more in the 3-4. Head coach Rocky Long likes big offensive linemen, and he’s bringing in some great-looking tackles; this could turn out to be the best haul of blockers in the Mountain West. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 93. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill players. New head coach Rocky Long is bringing in a huge class, and while there aren’t a lot of superstars after the departure of Brady Hoke, there are enough good players on offense to start pounding the rock the way the new staff wants to. QB Chad Jeffries and RB Brandon Wright will have to wait their turn for a few years, but they’re strong talents who’ll be the future, while WR Jemond Hazely and TE Sam Meredith will be a big part of the passing game.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 72. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. Brady Hoke has worked on improving the skill talent over the last two seasons, and this class was built to allow all the new players to shine. This was a big class that addressed several areas, but the best players were on the offensive front led by JUCO transfer Juan Bolanos, a massive player who'll be thrown into the rotation right away. Emmanuel Beavers and Zach Dilley who'll be the cornerstones for the future. JUCO transfers Riley Gauld and Joe Unga will also be counted on early.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 87. That Class Was Heavy On ... Skill positions. New head coach Brady Hoke needs to bring in the playmakers, and he has them in bunches with a few prospects for all the skill spots. QB Jake Bernard is a good-looking option for the near future, and Osmond Nicholas should be an eventual No. 1 target. The class is also big on corners, arguably the strength of the class, with several options coming in including Nat Berhe and Marcus Andrews. 

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