After more or less taking care of business in the season/home opener against University of Buffalo last week, the Buckeyes again play host, this time to the San Diego State University (SDSU) Aztecs. Last year’s Aztec team finishes a respectable 9-4 (7-1 Mountain West Conference) and had a strong finish to their season, winning seven consecutive regular season games.
As fearsome as their mascot is, last week didn’t go so well for SDSU. The Aztecs hosted FCS opponent Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley Conference) and were demolished 40-19. It was an odd game in that SDSU had 440 total yards (318 passing) yet scored only 19 points. I’d suggest that a contributing factor was the Aztec’s 5 turnovers; 4 interceptions and 1 fumble. SDSU’s defense didn’t help matters much by giving up 533 yards; 361 passing, 172 rushing.
Ohio State on Offense
This will be a good game to work out some of the kinks that developed on offense last week. That would involve ironing out the transition between Linsely/Boren at Center, working in Rod Smith into the RB rotation, and perhaps even some Bri’onte Dunn there as well.
The Aztecs gave up a ton of yardage last week (see Introduction) and quite a few TDs. Eastern Illinois spread their scoring among 3 passing TDs, 2 rushing TDs and a punt return TD. The Aztecs run a 3-3-5 scheme, which should sound familiar, but fortunately, no Khalil Mack. Their front three isn’t that big, ranging from 6’1”255 to 6’4”275, so it would seem they can be manhandled. The problem is that with their DL being a bit on the shortish side, Coach Warriner’s troops need to really focus on staying low to get blocking leverage on SDSU. Once OSU’s linemen get engaged in their blocks, running lanes should open up.
With SDSU getting blistered in the passing game last week, I would expect Coach Herman to emphasize the passing game this week as well. There were flashes of it coming together, at least in the first quarter last week, and based on Eastern Illinois’ offensive performance, the Buckeyes’ passing game should do well.
It’s another week, and another chance to talk to a buddy from the other side of the field. This week we bring in former Aztec Tight End Hunter Hewitt, a recent Journalism graduate of the school, to discuss his former team.
tBBC: The Aztecs went on a 7-game winning streak to finish the 2012 regular season 9-3 (7-1). What similarities are there between last year’s team and this year?
HH: I think this year’s team, like it’s been for the last 3 or 4 years, the similarities is that there’s always going to be some tough players out there that are never going to give up no matter the circumstances. That’s going to be really important after what happened last week, a really disappointing loss to a division 1AA team.
But, at the end of the day they’re going to forget about it and move on. Any given week they can beat any given team. I feel pretty confident about that. That’s the good thing about these guys and the coaching staff, that they really preach that kind of toughness – both mental and physical – to bounce back in any type of circumstances.
tBBC: How did it feel for you, having left the team just last year, having to watch that game just a couple days ago knowing that you can’t help your team?
The 9-3, 7-1 Mountain West Champs SDSU Aztecs take on the 7-5 BYU Cougars in the eighth installment of the ever changing second bowl of San Diego. There have been at least five different agreements with conferences over the years and in 2008 the PAC10(12) couldn’t meet the required seven teams to send a team to the southern most city in California.
The Cougars of BYU have had an up and down season and just about gave the country what they wanted in upsetting Notre Lame. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who may have the coolest name for a head coach ever, has an issue at the QB position. His starter and heart of the team, Riley Nelson, has been injured and still isn’t sure he’ll be able to go on the 20th.
Playmakers: On offense, Cody Hoffman has been the consistency that the Cougars have needed amid their QB issues. Having Riley Nelson and James Lark in the backfield during the season hasn’t deterred Hoffman from having a stellar year. One of the top playmakers in the nation, but under the radar, he has 90 receptions for 1,134 yards for an average of 94 yards a game and 11 touchdowns. A long TD of 64 yards this season he is the playmaker they need to step up despite uncertainty at the QB position. I am honestly surprised he hasnt had more than just 3 KO returns all season.
Defensively, there is one person that really stands out and single handedly kept the Cougars in the ND game. LB Kyle Van Noy almost had Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o as a teammate as they are both Mormon and Te’o considered BYU. Van Noy is a junior but a hot NFL prospect so he may be suiting up for the last time. A stud pass rusher, he will have to step up his rushing D as the Aztec’s set a new team rushing record for a season. Read More