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.
The trifecta of bowl awesome comes to a close with yet another game where the team from Louisiana gets to play at home in the Superdome… ah well, no complaints. Great memories from that place.
The Basics: 9:00 PM ET on ESPN, from New Orleans. SDSU (8-4, 4-3 MWC) and ULL (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt).
The History: Believe it or not, we’ve actually covered this game before. Can you believe that this is the eleventh year of this wonderful experience?
San Diego State Aztecs- Michigan fans, take a good look at the Aztecs… these are the guys that the Hokester recruited. The Aztecs lost both of the games they played against ranked opponents (TTUN/SISU), and fell to TCU as well. They managed to upset the Cougars of WSU, but if you know anything about WSU that shouldn’t surprise you. Ronnie Hillman’s 19 rushing TDs and Ryan Lindley’s 20 scores through the air are about all I know of the SDSU offense.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – Man, I’ve got nothing. The Cajuns have an awesome mascot, but not much of a defense (83rd in the nation in points allowed). They were blown out at home by Oklahoma State, and allowed Arizona to salvage their season with a final game win. They did beat FIU and FAU, though… so that’s nice.
Fun Facts- Ohio State is 1*-1 in this venue over the past six years, and 3-0 against the Aztecs, while never facing the Cajuns (even though our 2011 coach looks like a Louisiana football legend). Since we’ll talk more about the city of New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, I’ll just leave you with one of the most awkward album covers ever created.
Who We Got?
Among the flurry of rivalry games and games that saw lower ranked teams overcoming higher ranked teams this past weekend, one matchup pitted two top-10 schools against each other in a contest that featured some “non-traditional” powers that have risen to the upper echelons of college basketball this season. The BYU Cougars, led by player of the year candidate Jimmer Fredette, went on the road to meet the San Diego State Aztecs, with the teams playing not only for bragging rights this year, but potentially for a shot at a #1 tournament seeding, especially given the recent losses of other teams near the top of the rankings.
The Cougars prevailed in the game as the lower ranked team, and as a result both teams found themselves with the same season record as our own Buckeyes at 27-2. The game represented a big win on the road for BYU, and a disappointing loss for San Diego State, who lost to BYU earlier in the season to record their first L of the year. The matchup was intriguing in that the two clubs play significantly different styles, and in the end it was the outside shooting of the Cougars that proved to be the more effective strong suit.
Truly it was a shooting clinic for BYU. Fredette led all scorers with 25 points, which included four 3-pointers, and teammate Charles Abouo posted 18 points, knocking down four three’s of his own. The Aztecs only led when the score was 2-0, and every time SDSU made a bid to draw even another BYU three-pointer would rain down to extend the lead once again. The Cougars also shot over 85% from the foul line. Kawhi Leonard led the way for San Diego State with 17 points and 13 boards. Read More