San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztecs ready to run past the Wolf Pack

Photo by Kelly Smiley
Senior running back Rashaad Penny carries the ball during SDSU’s 27-3 loss to Fresno on Oct. 21.

San Diego State football returns from its bye week on Saturday, Nov. 18, when it takes on the University of Nevada in a Mountain West Conference game with potential postseason implications.

SDSU (8-2, 4-2 MW) remains one game behind Fresno State University in the MW West Division standings, and will try to win its first home game since a 34-28 victory over Northern Illinois University on Sept. 30 gave the team its first 6-0 start since 1975.

The Aztecs have gone 2-2 since, and a win over Nevada (2-8, 2-4 MW), coupled with a Fresno loss to the University of Wyoming, would set up a wild finish to a rollercoaster season.

However, since Fresno owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over SDSU, an early day victory against Wyoming would end any chance of the Aztecs going to a third straight MWC championship game.

SDSU defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said that while the team is aware of the situation, it won’t have any effect on how they play against Nevada, which will be trying to win its first road game of the season.

“If Fresno wins Saturday morning I don’t think it’ll have any effect on how our kids play Saturday night, if they lose I don’t think it’ll make them play any harder,” Gonzales said.

The Aztecs could have their hands full against a Wolf Pack team which gained some momentum this past weekend, after a 59-14 blowout victory over San Jose State gave them their first win since Oct. 7.

“They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and that’s scary for a 2-8 team because they have nothing to lose,” Gonzales said. “Trick plays, go for it on fourth-down, I mean they’ve got nothing to come in here but play relaxed.”

Nevada has scored more than 40 points in three of its last four games, and ranks second in the conference with 253.7 yards per game through the air.

SDSU head coach Rocky Long said the team isn’t looking to get into a shootout.

“They’ve scored a lot of points on some pretty good football teams,” Long said. “That’s not our style, I hope it doesn’t get into a scoring contest.”

Starting at quarterback for the Wolf Pack is junior Ty Gangi, who has thrown for 2,066 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, along with 155 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

“Gangi’s playing really well,” Gonzales said. “He’s athletic, (he) can run. I mean he wants to throw it but he’ll pull it (down) and run.”

Gangi’s favorite target has been senior wide receiver Wyatt Demps, who leads the team with 58 receptions for 734 yards and 10 touchdowns. Demps caught seven passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s victory over San Jose State.

“I think they’re really good on offense, they’re scary at wideout,” Gonzales said. “They do a great job of trying to get the safeties to bite on intermediate routes so they can throw it over the top on the outside.”

SDSU will counter the Wolf Pack on offense with senior running back Rashaad Penny, whose 1,602 rushing yards are the second highest total in the FBS and have him in contention for the Maxwell Award, given to the best college player each year.

SDSU offensive coordinator Jeff Horton said it will be important to hold the ball while on offense, and the Aztecs could look to pound the rock often with Penny, against a team that gives up 204.6 rush yards per game.

“The key for us is to obviously keep the ball, don’t let them on the field as much,” Horton said, “and obviously gotta do something with it when we got it, try to just lean on them and pound them up.”

At quarterback for the Aztecs is redshirt junior Christian Chapman, starting his 27th straight game for the Scarlet and Black, and who has passed for 1445 yards this season with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Players to watch on defense for Nevada are junior defensive back Dameon Baber, who had three interceptions against San Jose, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and junior defensive lineman Malik Reed, who leads the MWC with eight sacks on the season.

SDSU is led on defense by junior defensive back Parker Baldwin, who leads the team with 59 tackles, and junior defensive lineman Chibu Onyeukwu, who leads the team with four-and-a-half sacks.

The Aztecs have won six of nine games played between the schools, and won last years contest in Reno by a score of 46-16.

About the Contributor
Abraham Jewett
Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor
Abraham Jewett is The Daily Aztec's sports editor for the 2018-19 academic year.
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztecs ready to run past the Wolf Pack