Eastern Michigan Eagles at San Diego State Aztecs
Saturday 9/22/18 at 7:30 PM
SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
The San Diego State Aztecs look to keep their solid start to the season rolling this upcoming Saturday. Coming off an impressive victory against then #23 Arizona State, the Aztecs are currently 2-1 and are currently tied for second place in the Mountain West Conference.
Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew will be making his second career start this weekend. Filling in for the injured senior Christian Chapman, Agnew led the Aztecs to a victory in his first collegiate start where he went 12-for-24 with 129 passing yards and a touchdown. Under Rocky Long, the Aztecs have never been a pass first team. They enjoy pounding the rock rather than asking their quarterback to throw the ball 40+ times a game. Agnew will be tasked with controlling the tempo of the game, as well as not turning the ball over and completing the passes he needs to make.
The inexperienced quarterback had a lot of pressure taken off him by star running back Juwan Washington. The 5’6″ Washington continued to terrorize opposing defenses, carrying the football 27 times for 138 yards and a touchdown while adding two receptions for 26 yards. His 452 rushing yards are currently fourth in all of college football. Washington is the focal point of this ground-and-pound style offense and will continue to be throughout the season.
Traveling to play the Aztecs this weekend is the Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Eagles started their season strong with victories against Monmouth and Purdue but are coming off a 35-28 loss to Buffalo.
The Eagles have primarily used two quarterbacks this season in Mike Glass III and Tyler Wiegers. On the season, Glass III is 22-for-37 with 349 passing yards and four touchdowns, while Wiegers is 46-for-60 with 614 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Ironically enough, Glass III is also the team’s leading rusher with 132 rushing yards in 23 attempts. While Wiegers does have more passing attempts, Glass III did attempt more passes in their recent game against Buffalo and could possibly start this week against the Aztecs.
Through the air, Blake Banham has been both Wiegers and Glass III favorite target. The 5’9″ senior has caught 23 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns this season, including a 75-yard touchdown against Buffalo this past weekend. Joining Banham is 6’0″ receiver Arthur Jackson. Like Banham, Jackson also had a 75-yard touchdown against Buffalo this past weekend and has caught nine passes for 203 yards and a touchdown. These two will be the main focus for the Aztecs on defense as they will try to eliminate the speed and verticality of both Banham and Jackson.
The Aztecs will try to get Juwan Washington going early on in the game and establish the running game quickly especially with the uncertainty that Agnew provides. Opponents are currently averaging 230 rushing yards per game against the Eagles, so expect Washington to have an absolute field day against their mediocre run defense.
On the other hand, the Eagles will try to establish their aerial attack early and often. The Aztecs don’t necessarily have the strongest secondary, allowing an average of 284 passing yards per game and eight yards per passing attempt and the Eagles will surely try to get Banham and Jackson involved early.
Even with the uncertainty that is Ryan Agnew, the Aztecs are just a more complete team than the Eagles. Juwan Washington should continue his onslaught of college defenses and have another big game. While there are some concerns in the Aztecs secondary, San Diego State is just a more talented team than the Eagles.
Expect the Aztecs to win this game easily and improve to 3-1 on the season.