“Finishing Up…Failure or Flourish?”
San Diego State and the University of San Diego football programs, both club from a different cloth.
The Aztecs, true Division 1-in a lesser conference, the Mountain West, giving out the max number of 85-football scholarships.
A strong run under Rocky Long, headed to their sixth bowl game in a row, once they get done playing tomorrow night in the frozen climate at Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference game.
The Toreros don’t give out scholarships for athletes, just academic grants. They’ve just come off the biggest win in the 56 year history of what was a club program that became Division 1-AA in football. And now the test of a lifetime, playing at North Dakota State tomorrow afternoon in the 2nd round of the playoffs, against a Bison team that gives out the max 63-grants in aid.
For SDSU, what could have been a magical season has gone off track. Two weeks ago, they were ranked in the AP polls…had a legitimate shot at a Cotton Bowl berth, and a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Back to back blowout losses, to Wyoming then Colorado State took them out of the big bowl picture, and also took DJ Pumphrey out of the Heisman Trophy race.
But there’s still lots to play for, but you wonder if there’s any gas left in their tank, especially on defense. In stunning fashion, SDSU has given up (997-yards) and 94-points in the last two Saturdays. And this was a defense that was ranked 4th in the country as we got to Thanksgiving.
Additionally, Pumphrey, who led the nation in rushing up till two weeks ago, failed to crack the 100-yard barrier rushing in either of the losses.
So have teams figured the Aztecs out. Has Rocky Long worked them so hard they are fatigued and lost their edge, or is it just they ran up against two red-hot teams?
At USD, no one expected what happened last weekend, the stunning win in teh muck and mud that was Cal Poly. They earned it on offense hitting big plays. Earned it on defense with three forced fumbles.
Tomorrow is something they’ve never seen before. The Division 1AA Bisons are a team that won at Iowa, yes those Hawkeyes of the Big 10-Conferne.
The number 1-pick in the NFL draft last year was Bison QB-Carson Wentz. They’ve won 5-Division 1AA titles. They are (16-0) at the Fargodome in post season play. They’re (22-1) in postseason games in the playoffs.
Welcome to the other world USD.
If there’s suc a thing as David killing Goliath, maybe the Blue can do that tomorrow. They surely have all the bullets in the gun. An offense averaging (454-yards per game)…and a defense giving up just (244-yards)…but that was against smaller teams like Davidson and Marist and Stetson.
Dale Lindsey has done an amazing job building a roster and confidence.
USD has to play shootout for they likely cannot slug it out with the Bison. But if Anthony Lawrence can spray the ball everywhere…make North Dakota State cover everyone sideline to sideline, then anything is possible.
An interesting Saturday ahead.
Great regard for the coaches. Great enjoyment seeing the programs have success.
Do the Aztecs rally and make th is a good finish to a solid season? Is there another upset in this Cindarella story at USD.
Flourish-or-Failure, we’ll know by 8pm Saturday night.