By this point it’s been pretty overstated that this weekend’s game against Whale’s Vagina State is incredibly dangerous based on the damned if you do, damned if you don’t nature of it. If we win by a couple of TD’s, we get no credit because SDSU is vastly underrated at this point and the media will not respect anything less than a blowout; if we smother them, then the MWC just isn’t that good after TCU, is it? And if we lose, well, I don’t think I even need to go there. I’m personally not as worried about the distractions part of it – Senior Day, last home game, last game at ACS before it becomes Del Patterson World – as I am about SDSU actually being a pretty good football team and one that has built back credibility in an extremely expedited time frame. This shouldn’t surprise anyone – San Diego is one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country, the admissions requirements are incredibly mediocre and Brady Hoke won at BALL STATE, of all places. But still, as much as we love another MWC program stepping up and making a name for themselves in regards to our strength of schedule, at the same time we have to recognize the double edged sword that it leaves one more Saturday victory in doubt. To this point we’ve gotten everyone’s best shot and they’ve come up short. Clearly I don’t think that SDSU leaves Fort Worth with a win, but it’s possible they’re the best team we’ll face all year. Seriously. No need to overlook them. To the preview….
Offense – Call it half assing, but I’m not sure how much I really need to dig into the nuts and bolts of what makes the Aztecs offense work because, quite frankly, you all should know about it by now, especially if you read kerley’s preview. Ryan Lindley, now a junior, has really grown since last year’s 55-12 beatdown in San Diego. He’s thrown for over 2400 yards and 16 TDs, although those 9 INTs definitely stick out considering how our defense has been playing lately. Ronnie Hillman, I don’t think I need to go any further. And of course Senior Receivers DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown, leaders one and two in reception yards in the MWC with 851 and 762, respectively. The Aztecs are averaging 34 points a game and putting up 434 yards per contest. Just for fun, I checked the numbers to see who we have played that has been stronger at each of those three positions just to see what we can expect. In parenthesis, what they did against TCU.
RG3, Baylor, 2859 yds, 20 TDS (164 yards, 1 TD)
Kyle Padron, SMU, 2745 yards, 23 TDs (169 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)
N/A, sorry Zack Line.
SMU, Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley, 1753 yards, 15 TDs (81 yards, 1 TD)
So, based on that, there are only two teams we have faced who have had better statistical leaders on the year than the Aztecs, and none of them are named Utah or Oregon State, the two best teams we’ve faced. Does that bother you a little? Because it does me.
Actually though? It really shouldn’t. Well, ok, maybe it should a LITTLE, but when you consider that overall TCU’s offense has been even more productive than San Diego State’s, it takes a bit of the edge off. Dalton’s overall numbers are arguably stronger as he has a much higher completion percentage – 68-54- more TDs and fewer INTS. Lindley has about 200 overall yards on him, although what Dalton does on his feet by comparison – 418 yards and 5 TDs vs -6 and 0 – probably makes that argument a wash. Ronnie Hillman gets all the love, as he should especially when you consider he’s only a freshman, but Ed Wesley has 988 yards to his 1044 despite splitting carries and missing almost an entire game. Hillman’s 12 TDs to Ed’s 11 is a non-factor as well. Of course, like I said, the biggest difference here is Wesley gets to sit and rest while Waymon James and Matthew Tucker come in and bowl people over, whereas SDSU relies almost solely on Hillman on the ground. Clearly we have no one in the same league statistically as Sampson and Brown as far as yardage goes… but we do have Jeremy Kerley and Josh Boyce, which ain’t bad, especially when you consider they have combined for 13 TDs to their 9. And while I’m not trying to say that SDSU has those two guys out wide and then no one else, when you take into account TCU has Jimmy Young and Bart Johnson in the mix and suffer virtually no drop off in production, compared to the Aztecs, that’s pretty much what I’m saying.
Overall TCU smokes San Diego in overall offense, rushing offense and scoring offense. Need I say more?
Edge – Frogs.
Defense – Honestly, going into this thing I wanted to take a harder look at the defense for San Diego than I did the offense simply because everyone knows how good they are on offense. And while I don’t exactly expect to have some sort of epiphany that MAYBE they’re better on defense than we are, it’s still worth a look because this game is going to come down to who can slow the opposing offense down the most effectively. Believe it or not, the Aztecs are actually pretty decent on defense too, ranking in the top quarter of teams in the country in allowing only 20 points per game. Only Utah has been better as far as teams we’ve played, and they still allow 18. Yardage wise they give up 335 yards – 194 pass, 141 run – which fall in the upper tier of teams we’ve played as well. We've picked off one more pass than they have, but they've picked up one more sack, and we've both allowed five.
As pointed out yesterday, Linebacker Miles Burris leads the team in tackles with 50, followed by converted defensive back via linebacker Andrew Preston with 48 and Marc Yarbrough with 41. By comparison, Tanner Brock has 77 tackles. Also by comparison, TCU ranks first in just about ever defensive category they keep track of.
Ok, I can’t fake it. San Diego State has some defensive talent – they aren’t as good statistically as Utah, but they’re probably about on par with BYU and Air Force, conference wise. We beat those three teams by a combined score of 116-17. Excuse me for not being worried, but I’m just not.
Edge – Frogs.
Sorry, the wheels on this preview have COMPLETELY fallen off, so I’ll close it out with a few Peter King-esque Things I Think I Like:
I Think, no I KNOW, I like the “turn back the clock” pricing for Saturday’s game with dollar hot dogs and dollar popcorn. It’s like a Wednesday night Rangers’ game, but with less Arlington stank and more beating teams from California!
I think I like the the Teague/McCoy/Olabode tandem on the outside against Sampson and Brown. ESPECIALLY Teague. The top rated passing offense in the MWC vs the top rated passing defense. Someone has to break. Pretty sure the white unis San Diego will be wearing will be a fashion statement as well as a sign of surrender in that battle. Oh yeah, and Alex Ibiloye, Colin Jones and TeJay Johnson are all pretty good too.
I definitely like Andy Dalton to have another big performance. Not Utah big, but I think 17/25, 275 yards and a couple of TDs isn’t out of the questions. Then again, it’s probably not out of the question for Andy to have another career outing on senior day, either. This will be another one of those games where we look back and remember that AD won it for us.
I think I like Wesley to outrush Ronnie Hillman, but I can’t be so certain of that. I don’t think Hillman hits his 116 yard average – ok, I KNOW he won’t – but I think Waymon James is going to be worked into the game plan even more this week than he has been the past few. The reason? Matthew Tucker and his butterfingers. Waymon is going to be option #2 the rest of the year out of the backfield, and it becomes official tomorrow.
I like Tanner Brock to have a second consecutive career high in tackles this weekend. San Diego State is going to come out early and try to establish the run with Hillman. When we stop it, who do you think is going to be the guy sitting there in the middle making the hits? He may lose his helmet again this weekend.
But finally, I definitely KNOW I like the Frogs to cover the spread. For whatever reason we’ve always had San Diego State’s number, and with so much on the line, I don’t see it changing this year.
The Pick – Frogs 45, Aztecs 14.
So yeah, looks like I'm falling into the trap of taking San Diego State lightly... but can you blame me? I was TERRIFIED of the game last weekend to the point that, while battling a cold, I still went out back and chain smoked cigarettes all pregame to calm my nerves and popped my whiskey cherry before noon. That ended up turning out pretty well, I guess. A lot of people view the things I mentioned in the first paragraph as distractions, but I think they're assets to this team. I think these guys LOVE the pressure situations, whether it be Gameday, a hostile crowd, a talented opponent or sending an 80 year old stadium out with a win. By this point Patterson has clearly earned his stripes and when he talks, players will listen. That's the beauty of college football - if you run your mouth to the wrong coach, you're gone because he doesn't have to answer to anyone. You won't see a situation like the Vikings have with Brad Childress, there are no mutinies with good NCAA coaches. After nearly 10 full seasons at the helm, GP has the guys in there that he wants, and they aren't going to crumble under the pressure or overlook an opponent simply because they're favored by 4 TDs and humiliated their biggest rival the week before. That goes double for this team after the Fiesta Bowl disaster last year. This team has been there, has tasted greatness and, as quickly, defeat. No chance they let San Diego State hang around this weekend. I fully expect another message sending victory and I look forward to seeing you all there. Go Frogs.