#24 San Diego State (9-1, 6-0) at Wyoming (7-3, 5-1)
Saturday, November 19 at 12:30 P.M. PT on CBSSN
Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium, Laramie, Wyoming
San Diego State had two huge games two weeks in a row to gain them national attention once again. Earlier in the season, the Aztecs found themselves in a position where they moved not only into the Top 25, but managed to move from 22 to 19 during their bye week. Tha,t however, was short-lived as they traveled to South Alabama and were upset by a wide margin.
But after winning six straight, where they outscored opponents 226-42, they are nationally ranked once again. The 24th ranked San Diego State Aztecs will head to Wyoming to take on the Cowboys, the first real conference threat for SDSU thus far.
The Cowboys, however, have been on quite a roll. They barely lost their first conference game last week on the road in Las Vegas by only three points. They went 2-2 in non-conference games and have only been blown out once this season (52-17 loss to Nebraska).
What to Watch For
The Wyoming Cowboys are 17th in the entire nation in points scored per game. They are averaging 38.9 points per game, almost three more points than the Aztecs (36.8). Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen has thrown 21 touchdowns this season and has completed 57.4% of his passes for 2,218 yards. Not only has he been remarkable through the air, but on the ground he has 6 more touchdowns and 429 yards on just 97 rushing attempts. Junior running back Brian Hill has also been tremendous on offense for the Cowboys, putting up 1,417 yards on 250 carries for an average of 5.7 yards. He has also found his way to the end zone with a total of 16 touchdowns. These two alone are responsible for 43 touchdowns and 4, 092 yards this season. If that’s not a threat then I’m not to sure what is.
But let’s not forget about the Aztecs dominant defense. The defense ranks seventh in the nation in points allowed per game (15.2) and fifth in the nation in total defense per game (282.5). Since 2015, the Aztecs are first in interceptions (45), second in forced turnovers (55), fourth in both rushing defense and rushing yards per attempt (3.0), and tenth in third down conversion percentage (31.9). They’ve also held conference opponents to an average of just 7.0 points per game and have kept three of six opponents from scoring a touchdown. So, if there’s any defense that can keep a high-powered offense in check, it’s the Aztecs.
Now over 6,000 yards rushing, Pumphrey6k is just 347 yards away from surpassing Ron Dayne for all-time leading NCAA rusher. After putting up big numbers last weekend (199 yards, 1 TD, 7.6 average), he needs to put up just 86.5 per game over the next four (con. championship and bowl game included) to make himself the number one rusher in all of NCAA history. His 2016 average is 177.9 yards per game, so to say that is unreachable is ridiculous. If D.J. Pumphrey can also find his way into the end zone a total of six more times over the course of the next four games, then he will move into sole possession of the number six spot on the all-time rushing touchdown list. Every game this kid plays in is watching history.
Kazee vs Gentry
Wyoming’s Tanner Gentry is leading all Cowboy receivers in virtually every category, and by a wide margin. He is averaging 18.2 yards per catch with 962 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has caught 53 balls (29 more than the next guy) and is showing no signs of slowing down. Damontae Kazee will be the freak of nature on the other side of Gentry. Number 23 Kazee is among the top defensive backs, with five interceptions on the season (5th in the nation). He had two interceptions, one of which was a 54-yard pick-six, in a 55-0 win against Hawai’i two weeks ago. He also has six total defended passes this season, three of which came against Cal’s high-powered offense. This will be one of the best matchups to watch this weekend.
SDSU and Wyoming both have amazing offenses that can put the ball in the end zone almost as many times as they like. With Josh Allen firing passes down field and D.J. Pumphrey moving the ball where he wants it, I’m watching for a shootout this weekend, but a shootout that the Cowboys will not win. Chapman, Pumphrey, and Penny will put the ball where they want against another relatively weak defense and the Cowboys offense will not be able to keep up. With the Aztecs playing as well as they do, I’m predicting a 49-38 win in favor of the Aztecs. Pumph and Chapman will have two touchdowns a piece and Kazee will add another pick-six to his resume.
Chapman: 20-24, 270 yards, two touchdowns.
Pumphrey: 30 carries for 293 yards, two touchdowns
Penny: 15 carries for 127 yards three touchdowns
Derek is a 22-year-old out of Lemon Grove, California. A burning passion for San Diego sports led him to pursue an opportunity to write and share about what’s going on with the teams in America’s Finest City. A young and aspiring sports journalist looking to grow his knowledge and expand his experience at any opportunity.