Attack The Opponent: San Diego State Aztecs
Logic and data are all well and good as long as everyone behaves as expected. I’m not sure that what happened last Saturday could have been conceived in anybody’s imagination. However, the Lobos are in the rear view, and the Fighting Rocky Longs are coming over the horizon. SDSU is 5-4, with wins over Northern Arizona, UNLV, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Idaho. Not exactly the cream of the crop of college football, but good enough for 2nd place in the MWC’s West division. They were actually tied with Idaho at the half, which I imagine was kind of like this for Aztec fans:
I’m trapped in a glass case of SUCK!
SDSU did eventually beat Idaho, because the universe provides balance and in order for the Broncos to win ridiculously, the Vandals must lose equally as ridiculously. (Try that theory out on your friendly local Idaho fan sometime. It’s fun. Be prepared to dodge flying objects that they will throw, like nearby hub caps, Natty Ice cans, and Cope lids fashioned into a redneck ninja throwing star.)
Who is this article about again? Oh yeah.
SDSU demands respect, and that’s appropriate. The series is only three games old, but the Aztecs are ahead 2-1. The first game was the blowout to which we as a fan base became accustomed to before last season. After that, Rocky Long figured out how to beat Boise State, which pretty much included keeping it close by playing uncharacteristically good defense, counting on someone in blue to have a really bad game, and then waiting for something stupid and shocking to happen. Like Dan Goodale missing an easy FG. Or having a key punt blocked. Coach Petersen described playing SDSU as “awkward” after the game in 2012, and special teams has been an issue. Coach Riddle seems to have the 2014 Broncos in decent shape there, but if the tackling woes that plagued Boise State in the first half of the New Mexico game show up again next Saturday, it’s going to be a scary, cold night for somebody and it’s not the dudes wearing red from SoCal.
The Thousand Yard Stare of a Bronco Fan who just watched the unthinkable, again.
There’s more. SDSU was set to jump in the truck and head for the Big East with us, before that crazy deal fell through. They decided to stay when Boise State did, and the conference is much better off in both football and basketball. The Aztecs, while doing that whole “losing to people who we have no business losing to” thing like most of CFB this season, have put up some nice numbers but haven’t yet managed to get that marquee win. (No, UNLV doesn’t count.) It’s a slightly different Aztecs squad, no more Adam Muema running roughshod, but Donnel Pumphrey has stepped up admirably in the run game. They’re coming to Boise with the same QB as last season, and luckily SDSU is also one of the few teams that Grant has previous experience with. This isn’t the Grant that SDSU remembers either. This Grant puts 490 yards and 6 TD’s on teams if they don’t defend him well. That stupid blitz that SDSU runs shouldn’t phase him, unlike last season’s fiasco. As long as Boise’s D has the O’s back this week and tackles, this game could get very ugly for the Aztecs.
Basically, anything is possible. There are some x factors though.
Things that could swing this for Boise:
It’s on The Blue, thus Rocky The Colorblind Squirrel won’t be able to see our formations
Boise State has fought adversity pretty well as of late
Sheer hatred of all things Aztec
An extremely loud Bronco Nation, hoping the defense lights SDSU’s O on fire to keep us warm
The Jay Train (Choo choo!)
Things that could swing this for SDSU:
The Aztec’s incredible ability to play up or down to their opponent
Poor tackling by Boise State
Rocky Long takes up worshiping the bloodthirsty Aztec gods and sacrifices a goat on The Blue before security can taze him
Yeah, that’s about it.
See this? It’s called “The Rocky Long Kryptonite Stare” and its been confounding BSU for at least 2 seasons.
It’s time. Defending The Blue means from all comers. The remainder of match-ups this season are all a must win scenario for BSU – gotta take out the Aztecs to stay in the conversation for a MWC title shot and beyond. They’ve ruined enough Novembers. It’s not a great team coming up here, and they’ll be out of their element in the winter weather. They have a bad record that is somehow the second best in the West division. None of these things seem to matter at all. It’s purely execution and momentum. Pretty sure the players are all about winning this game. The coaches MUST ensure there is no slow start. The fans have to show up dressed warm and ready to get rowdy, because its going to take all the cogs in this brilliant Bronco Winning Machine to make this season as much of a success as it could be. Right down to the fan in the top corner of the stadium who is stupid cold and has to consciously decide to stick around for the 4th quarter in 20 degree weather. One game at a time, right?
I hate SDSU. Piss off to your gorgeous ocean-side city, Aztecs. I have no idea what is going to happen on Saturday, but I do know that it’s probably going to be just as entertaining as the rest of this season has been. Let’s hope it’s for RUTS reasons rather than heart attack inducing ones, but either way… GO BRONCOS!