Sdsu hopes to Mend Broken Heart

by publicationarchive

By Simon Samano, Assistant Sports Editor When the San Diego State football team takes on the University of Nevada-Reno Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium, the Aztecs won’t simply be looking to win a game. Instead, SDSU (1-1) will have to prove it has put the disappointing 24-21 loss it experienced last week on the road against Michigan on the back burner. Generally speaking, this game will give the Aztecs the opportunity to show they have the ability to recover from such heartbreak. There was something more than just a notch in the win column riding on the Michigan game, and the Aztecs failed to snatch it away. Missed opportunities, turnovers and penalties cost SDSU a potential program-changing victory that was there for the taking. With Nevada-Reno (2-1) riding into town on the wave of back-to-back wins, the pressure doesn’t go away. Now the Aztecs will have to show how they bounce back from such a tough defeat against an evenly matched Wolfpack team. Whether SDSU is a team of resolve and resiliency will be at the forefront on Saturday. “We’re trying to work hard so we can rebound after the effort we gave last week against Michigan,” head coach Tom Craft said. “It’s going to take that kind of an effort if we’re going to beat Nevada.” Nevada is missing 12 starters from a year ago, but that hasn’t slowed it down. After a season opening loss to Western Athletic Conference rival Louisiana Tech, Nevada has posted lopsided victories in its last two games against Sacramento State and Buffalo. The Wolfpack have proven they are a balanced team that can play well on both sides of the ball, outscoring their opponents by an average of 39-19. The Aztecs’ main focus will have to be on stopping Nevada’s rushing attack — something they had difficulty with against Michigan. Led by senior running back Chance Kretschmer, the Wolfpack are averaging 175.3 yards per game on the ground. Kretschmer has rushed for 263 yards this season and is averaging a ridiculous 6.6 yards per carry. In 2001, he led the nation in rushing as a redshirt freshman with over 1,700 yards. “He’s a good player, and they’ve got a good scheme,” said junior linebacker Matt McCoy, who compiled 18 tackles last week and earned the Bronco Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. “We got to take them serious and just come out and play hard.” In their two games so far, the Aztecs have shown an inability to finish games strong. After posting a 24-0 lead in the first quarter against Idaho State, SDSU scored just 14 points the rest of the way – seven in the second half. And at Michigan last week, SDSU went into halftime leading 24-17 only to be shut out in the second half. Oppositely, Nevada has finished games with a bang, outscoring its opponents 45-14 in the fourth quarter. If the Aztecs want to walk away with a win, they’ll have to learn to boost their second-half offense while stopping a potent second-half Wolfpack attack. “Every game we’re trying to show people that we’re never going to quit,” McCoy said. “Coach (Craft) preaches that a lot no matter what the score is. You’d never know if we’re winning by 30 or losing by 30. We’re going to come after them every play.”