SDSU drubbed UNLV in their first contest of the season. Here is a look at some observations.
Ode To Rocky Long
Halfway through SDSU’s 34-6 domination of UNLV, former Aztec All-American and current Seattle Seahawk Rashaad Penny tweeted, “miss seeing my guy @CoachLongUNM,” but it was not the nostalgia of former players where Rocky Long’s presence was most felt. UNLV – overmatched in every aspect of last night’s game – resembled many of the teams who lined up to play before Coach Long took over as head coach.
Following the game, UNLV’s head coach Marcus Arroyo said, “We played a really good football team that has done a lot of really good things for a long time. They (San Diego State) are a good model in this conference for things to continue to push forward.” More than anyone, Rocky Long is responsible for building this “model” program. If Coach Arroyo is half as successful at UNLV as Coach Long was at SDSU, Arroyo will be shortly be the head coach of a Power Five Conference team.
UNLV did not name a starting quarterback before the game, so the Aztecs had to prepare three with different strengths and styles. It turns out SDSU can play that game too. On the depth chart released for the game, Dominic Gudino and Taylor Hawkins were listed as the starters at center and cornerback, respectively. Still, at game time, Adam Uluave and Cedarious Barfield were lined up for their first starts. Both played well. Uluave anchored a rushing attack that rushed for 287 yards. Barfield was credited with a pass defended against UNLV, who finished the game with only 106 passing yards.
Same ‘Ol, Same Ol’
In each of the past three offseasons, SDSU promised more firepower from a passing game that has been amongst the worst in college football. Like the previous two seasons, however, that promise remains unfulfilled after game 1. Starting QB, Carson Baker, had only 137 yards on 25 attempts resembling the numbers his predecessors, Christian Chapman and Ryan Agnew, routinely put up.
It will be interesting to see how opposing defenses match up with the Aztecs going forward. Last night, UNLV dared the Aztec to run the football – a curious decision given the known strengths on the Aztecs’ team. Will the passing game step up when teams inevitably bring extra defenders close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run? SDSU changed Offensive Coordinators – from Jeff Horton to Jeff Hecklinski – to see improvements in the passing game. No one is complaining after the Aztec offense scored 34 points, but if the running game stalls, more will be expected than what was seen last night.
Deuces Are Wild
- Las Vegas native Ethan Dedeaux has two career touchdowns, including one last night to open the Aztecs scoring. Both have come against UNLV.
- Trenton Thompson has two career punt blocks – including one last night to blow the game open for SDSU. Both have come against UNLV.
- Before the season, star defensive lineman, Keshawn Banks, changed his number from #57 to #2. Traditionally reserved for players of smaller stature, seeing the number two jersey lined up close to the line of scrimmage was a reminder of the freedom of play the college game boasts of over the more sterile NFL game.