On Saturday December 23, the San Diego State Aztecs will play their final game of the year as they take on Army, in the Armed Forces Bowl.
The game will be played in Fort Worth Texas in what is sure to be a pro-Army crowd.
Look for coach Long to treat this game as a road game.
Like we have done all season long, let’s take a look at what the Aztecs need to do on both sides of the ball in order to walk out of Fort Worth with a victory.
Aztecs on Defense
Play assignment football
This is a very unique matchup for SDSU as Army plays one of the most predictable brands of offense in the entire country. When Army lines up you know they’re going to run with the option. To stop that, SDSU will need to play disciplined football and not get out of their gaps.
Watch out for the occasional pass play
In their last game against Navy, Army passed the ball just once, but it was for a 20 yard gain that took Navy out of their game plan. Look for the defense to be on their toes and try to anticipate if, and when Army might try to make a play downfield.
Saturday’s game will be a test for the Aztecs, as they will certainly will be on defense for most of the game. Army will run the football at least 50 times and it can be frustrating. The Aztecs need to stay focused and patient in order to keep Army from big runs.
Aztecs on Offense
Pass on early downs
For the entirety of the year, I’ve been begging for the Aztecs to let it rip on first and second down. I’m not saying that the Aztecs should get out of character and become “The Greatest Show on Turf”, all I’m suggesting is a couple of curl routes in order to jump-start the offense.
Get to the edge
Army plays a very physical brand of football on defense and I don’t think it’s in the Aztecs best interest to try to run between the tackles. Look for coach Long to try to get his talented backs carries in creative ways. Maybe a reverse early on or a couple of flair routes in order to use Army’s aggressiveness against them.
Feed Rashaad Penny
As an Aztec fan, I selfishly wish Penny gets as many touches as he wants. But I also realize that he has a big future ahead of him and don’t want to see him get hurt. Look for the coaching staff to give Penny between 25-30 touches in his last game as an Aztec.
This is a very tricky game for SDSU as they haven’t played anyone like Army. Air Force is similar, but it might take them a half before they’re comfortable. I expect Army to lead at halftime and for the Aztecs to rally in the second half and ultimately win the game by the score of 31-27.