Quarterback appears to be weak spot for San Diego State yet again

by Ryan Posner, Asisstant Sports Editor

San Diego State’s 35-7 loss to UC Berkeley Saturday was a tale of two programs and how they have decided to build their teams.

For the second straight year, the most glaring deficiency for SDSU is at the most important position, quarterback.

Through two games it looks like senior Maxwell Smith may not be the savior some expected when he transferred from University of Kentucky in the offseason.

Then there’s Cal and its top-tier junior quarterback Jared Goff, who ended the day 16 yards shy of setting the school’s passing record. He torched the Aztec secondary for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

Even in a game in which the Aztecs trailed nearly the whole time, they ran the ball 43 times, compared to 32 passing attempts.

Junior running back Donnel Pumphrey led the team with 85 yards on 21 carries but couldn’t be the game-changer he normally is as Cal stacked the box and the team was forced to throw late in the game.

As a team, SDSU struggled to get its ground game going with 152 yards on 43 carries for a 3.5 average per carry.

Goff as good as advertised

Coming into today’s game, Goff was regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the country and well on his way to becoming one of the Cal’s all-time greatest quarterbacks.

He lived up to that bill Saturday, completing 17 of 24 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns.

Other than an interception from senior cornerback J.J. Whittaker in the second quarter, Goff had his way with the SDSU secondary.

One of his best passes of the day came on the first play of the second half when he threw a 75-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Trevor Davis.

Davis had the best day out of all Cal receivers, catching three passes for 138 yards and the touchdown.

Aztecs spear themselves in the foot

Going up against a Pac-12 team on the road, the Aztecs didn’t do themselves any favors, committing a whopping six personal fouls and ending the day with 12 penalties that cost them 136 yards. One of the more glaring penalties was a late hit by junior safety Malik Smith in the second quarter. He was beat on a deep ball by Goff the following play, which set Cal up for their first score of the game.

Smith would commit another personal foul in the fourth quarter for unnecessary roughness.

Other players guilty of personal fouls included sophomore wide receiver Christian Cumberlander, junior tight end David Wells, redshirt freshman lineman Noble Hall and junior fullback Dakota Gordon.

In their opener against University of San Diego, the Aztecs didn’t struggle quite as much with penalties, committing six for a total of 58 yards.  

Quarterback controversy  

Last week, Maxwell Smith said the offense would improve following its ho-hum performance in the team’s 37-3 win against USD.

He was right, at least for the first drive.

Smith went 4-4 with 58 yards in the team’s opening drive of the game, capping it off with a 29-yard touchdown to junior tight end Daniel Brunskill.

However, he struggled following that drive and was replaced by redshirt-freshman Christian Chapman early in the second quarter.

Chapman didn’t fare much better, going 4-13 with 37 yards and throwing a costly interception that helped Cal take a 14-7 lead at half.

Smith would re-enter the game in the second half, but still couldn’t replicate the success he had on the first drive of the game.

Following that drive, Smith finished 6-10 with 78 yards and an interception.

Chapman then replaced him again late in the fourth quarter, signaling what might be a quarterback controversy for the Aztecs.

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