Week 13 College Football Preview: San Diego State Gets Big WinBy Ernest Hamilton, UniversityHerald Reporter
There were not as many shakeups in DI college football this week. The only top 10 team to lose was Minnesota, so their run with the best 10 teams in college football only lasted one week. But with all eyes on the Top-10 and the Power 5, let's take a moment to look at the tough, but sometimes under-the-radar teams, like those in the Mountain West.
The Aztecs rolled into Friday Night - against Fresno State- at 7-2 (now 8-2), leading the Mountain West's West Divison.
Despite having a much better season going than the Bulldogs, rivalry games are fickle, thus the NCAA football odds showed the Aztecs as just 1 point favorites at home in SDCCU Stadium.
There are just two more games on tap for the rest of San Diego State's season. Let's have a look at each and recap Friday's game and try to predict what happens come Bowling time.
Friday Night Lights
In the last six times, these two teams have met, defense has ruled. Last time around, Fresno State got a 23-14 victory, and the time before that, a 27 to 3 win. But three meetings back the Aztecs won 17-3 and before that, 21-7.
The score didn't go Fresno State's way this time around. Fresno State has been struggling mightily on defense. They just took a 35-37 loss to Utah State. That said, the Aztec offense hasn't been something to jump up and down about. In fact, you might say that their wins have come in spite of it. A good example is that San Diego State is coming off a 17-13 loss to Nevada. Let's bring this number into reality: the Aztecs were 17 point favorites in that matchup. And in this win over the Bulldogs who have a terrible D, they still only managed 17 points.
San Diego State's offense is putting up 20.78 points per game. Which doesn't seem all that bad until you look at the situational trends. At home, they score just 15.5 points per game - so the 17 they did manage falls right into their averages when you consider the defense they faced.
This bad enough for the No. 125 ranking in DI football. Why should this have mattered? Well, because before this game, the Bulldogs were putting up 34.33 points per game overall, which gives them the 30th most potent offense in DI play. And while on the road, it doesn't fall off too much. They score 29.5 as the visiting team, which is good enough for the No. 43 road offense. Their offensive power is motored by their elite rushing attack that even on the road, churns normally out 198 yards per game.
That said, they went up against the Aztecs elite defense that allows just 15.5 points per game while in San Diego and has limited opponents to just 75.75 rushing yards per game. They are No. 20 scoring defense in DI and are sitting just outside the top ten for rushing defense at No. 11. SDSU's passing defense is also top-notch, ranked 32nd. This is why we saw the result we did. It was tight in the first quarter with each team putting up a touchdown each before the Aztecs' defense completely took over the game.
As we said above, the Aztecs have a fairly impotent offense, but the Bulldogs butter-soft D couldn't seem to get any stops when they need them. On the flip side, Fresno State's offense elite rushing attack was ground to a halt. They hit fortified trenches on the ground and a battery of surface to air missiles that protected the skies. The Bulldogs were held to just 71 rushing yards and 136 through the air.
San Diego State Aztecs vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors | Nov. 23rd, 11 PM ET
This is another case of a potent offense with an anemic defense. The Rainbow Warriors are letting 36.50 points per game get by them at home in Aloha Stadium -- as of Week 12. So this will be another game where we see the Aztecs offensive numbers improve beyond their season averages. SDSU plays better on the road, scoring 25 per game and the Aztecs road defense only permits 13.6 points! Don't let the high-flying Hawai'i offensive stats fool you. SDSU will most likely put up 30 in this one and hold the Rainbow Warriors to the teens or low twenties.
BYU Cougars vs. San Diego State Aztecs | Nov. 30, 9 PM ET
This one should be a little more like classic smash-mouth football. Brigham Young allows 23.75 per game on the road and they put up around 28 points per game. They have to come into Qualcomm to play this regular-season-ender and the advantage definitely goes to SDSU. Should the Aztecs win out and take the conference championship, they could end up in the Cotton Bowl. Even if they lose to Boise State, they would in the worst case, get the Armed Forces Bowl or the Idaho Potato Bowl.