Column: Agnew should excel in starting role following Chapman injury


Raymond Gorospe

Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew looks to pass during the Aztecs 28-14 victory over Sacramento State on Sept. 8 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Betz, Staff Writer

Senior quarterback Christian Chapman went down with a knee injury in the second quarter of San Diego State football’s first home game against Sacramento State on Sept. 9.

Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew came on in relief, and went on to lead the Aztecs to a come-from-behind fourth quarter victory.  

Agnew threw two interceptions — the first coming off a tipped ball — but otherwise made impressive throws and extended plays to stage the late comeback against a relentless Sacramento State team.

Agnew finished the game completing 11 of 17 passes for 159 yards, and also made moves with his legs by scrambling for 21 yards on three attempts.  

Agnew said that seeing Chapman get injured was difficult, but he had to step in and fill the void.

“You never want to see that, especially one of your best friends, one of the guys you look up to,” Agnew said. “But you’ve got to come in there and you got to make plays.”

Agnew was productive from his very first play, completing a play-action pass to redshirt freshman Ethan Dedeaux.  

“(Dedeaux) ran a great route. I was able to get it to him, so that got my confidence right from the get-go, which was awesome,” Agnew said.

Head coach Rocky Long said that Agnew is faster than Chapman, but Agnew becoming the starter won’t change the offense.

“Ryan’s a little faster. So when he scrambles, won’t get caught as often,” Long said. “But it won’t change the offense at all.”

Agnew would have been credited for 70 more yards through the air, but penalties called back 35-yard completions to both sophomore wide receiver Tim Wilson Jr. and senior wide receiver Fred Trevillion.

Agnew’s ability to throw the deep ball could expose defenses focused on stacking the box to limit junior running back Juwan Washington.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Horton said that Agnew is competitive but composed when he’s on the field.

“He’s well coached…he’s really competitive and he just has a calmness about him and confidence in what he can do,” Horton said. “That was the thing that was amazing (Saturday) night.”

The Aztecs next matchup is against No. 23 Arizona State, who are coming off a home upset victory over then-No.15 Michigan State.

Horton said that Agnew will continue to improve in practice leading up to next Saturday’s game.

“I think the biggest thing that Ryan can do is continue to build on his pass game, look at the things he did well, and try to improve now as we incorporate and get him more of the reps in practice,” Horton said.

Agnew’s big-time playmaking ability and awareness shows that he is ready to perform against a top-25 program, and if he can live up to his potential, the Aztecs should be in good hands until Chapman returns.