Aztecs ready to take on Ohio in Frisco Bowl


Raymond Gorospe

Junior running back Juwan Washington carries the ball against Hawaii on Nov. 24 at SDCCU Stadium.

by Kyle Betz, Staff Writer

San Diego State football will play in a bowl game for the ninth consecutive season.

The Aztecs (7-5, 4-4) will face the University of Ohio in the DXL Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19 in Frisco, Texas.

There was no guarantee SDSU would play another game this season. The Aztecs were in sixth position in the Mountain West Conference standings, but the bowl selection committee granted the team an at-large bid.

Junior tight end Parker Houston said the bowl game gives the Aztecs another opportunity.

“It’s nice for us as a team, it’s nice for the Mountain West conference to have so many teams represent in bowl games,” Houston said. “It’s another chance for us to prove ourselves to show that we are a really good team.”

SDSU lost four out of its last five games to end the regular season.

Although the team ended its regular season on a three-game losing streak, junior linebacker Kyahva Tezino said the Aztecs are energetic going into their final game.

“We’re just excited to have another game to play, to finish the season off right,” he said. “We’re just going into it very excited, a lot of energy. Just can’t wait to play.”

The Bobcats (8-4, 6-2) ended their regular season winning five out of their last six games, including a 52-17 win over Mid-American Conference winners University of Buffalo.

One of Ohio’s biggest weapons is dual-threat sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke. Rourke passed for 2,225 yards and 22 touchdowns and ran for 816 yards and 13 touchdowns in 12 games.

Rourke is third in rushing behind redshirt senior running backs Maleek Irons and A.J. Ouellette, who have rushed for 831 yards and 1,142 yards this season, respectively.

Long said the Bobcats are dangerous on offense because they have been able to throw and run the ball effectively this season.

“(Rourke) is really, really accurate with the football,” Long said. “Earlier in the season, they weren’t running it quite as well, so he had to throw it more, and they still were able to win games because he threw it so well. Late in the season, they’re running the ball so well, they haven’t relied on the passing game as much.”

Two of the Bobcats’ offensive linemen were named to the all-MAC first-team offense: redshirt seniors Joe Anderson and Joe Lowery.

Both Anderson and and Lowery have led Ohio to eighth in the country with 262.2 rushing yards per game.

For Long, the winner of the Frisco Bowl will be determined by who dominates the line of scrimmage.

“The key is how well you play at the line of scrimmage,” Long said. “Whoever plays the best at the line of scrimmage is going to win the game. That’s both sides of the ball.”

Senior quarterback Christian Chapman returned from a knee injury on Nov. 3 against New Mexico. SDSU has played both Chapman and junior quarterback Ryan Agnew in every game since.

In the Aztecs’ last four games, Chapman accumulated 549 passing yards, 28 rushing yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

Agnew, on the other hand, collected 366 passing yards, 35 rushing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception over the four-game span.

Chapman started the last three regular-season games, while Agnew filled in for Chapman in a relief role.

Long confirmed Chapman will start against the Bobcats.

“Christian will start. Ryan will play somewhere along the way, and whichever quarterback we think gives us the best chance to win, that’s who will finish it out,” Long said.