Latest Loss Has All-Too-Familiar Feel

by Staff

By Michael KlitzingAssistant Sports Editor

SALT LAKE CITY — Saturday’s 17-3 loss to Utah at Rice-EcclesStadium was more than San Diego State’s eighth defeat of the season– it was SDSU’s entire season in a nutshell.

The Aztecs (2-8) stayed close for much of the game thanks to acourageous defensive effort, but were crippled by an inept offensethat could muster just 258 total yards.

Sound familiar?

“This whole season has been this way,” SDSU quarterback LonSheriff said. “Our defense has been unbelievable for most of theseason. I have a ton of respect for our defense just for hanging inthere every game.

“Offensively, we just haven’t been able to get it done.”

Be it scoring touchdowns or converting big plays, the offensecertainly did not get it done against the Utes (7-2). The oppositionkeyed in on Larry Ned who was limited to 85 yards rushing — and whynot?

The Aztecs passing attack did nothing to give Utah cause forconcern. Sheriff, hampered by knee and ankle injuries, completed just14 passes in 29 attempts, accumulating 182 yards. And once again, thebig play was missing in action.

SDSU’s only gain of the day of more than 20 yards came in thesecond quarter when Sheriff hit wideout J.R. Tolver on a swing pass.The junior’s ensuing 38-yard gain was made possible by 305-poundtackle Chester Pitts flattening 192-pound cornerback Yohance Scott.

The pass, which set up a Tommy Kirovski field goal, was the sameplay worked to perfection against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 6 –seemingly the last big play the SDSU passing attack had been able toconvert.

“We didn’t make the plays that you have to make to win footballgames,” said Aztecs head coach Ted Tollner.

Sound familiar?

With the offense sputtering, there was no margin of error for theSDSU defense. That error came with 10:08 in the third quarter and theUtes on top 10-3.

Utah running back Adam Tate broke free of the right side with oneman between him and a 73-yard touchdown. That man was Garret Pavelko.

That man took a bad angle on Tate.

That man got beat.

“The defense played great except for one play,” Pavelko said. “If**ked up. I missed the tackle.”

The mistake would prove to be too much to overcome. With a quarterand a half to play, the outcome of the game was a mere formality.

Sound familiar?

Adding to the offensive woes, the Aztecs continued theirseason-long lapse in special teams play. The tone was set on theopening kick — a kick returned 46 yards by Utah’s Bo Nagahi.

“I’ve got no idea what went wrong until I look at the film,” saidspecial teams coach Wayne Dickens. “I won’t really know until I getthe breakdown.”

But no film is required to view the stats: one 46 yard kickoffreturn allowed. One 56-yard punt return allowed. One partiallyblocked punt.

Sound familiar?

It was a special teams misplay that cost

SDSU a chance to comeback last week against New Mexico.

The Aztecs now limp back home to face off with 2-7 Wyoming in abattle to stay out of the cellar in the Mountain West Conference.It’s the final game of the season with nothing on the line but pride.

Sound familiar?

For anyone who has been paying attention to SDSU football the lastfew years, it should