Beating SDSU- A Long Walk Up A Rocky Hill

For the Broncos, every season is a chance to compete for a Mountain West Title.

In order to win that title, they must win the Mountain side of the conference. Win the games that matter even if the task is undoubtedly daunting.

This season, the Bronco football team has the opportunity to travel down to San Diego.

As they prepare for their game against the Aztecs, the Broncos will be considered the “underdog.” As far as conference play goes, this is fairly uncharted territory. In fact, it’s only the third time since 2006.

Going into Saturday’s key match-up with unbeaten San Diego State and fresh off a win over BYU, the Broncos must reload their revolver.

If the Broncos execute the following aspects of the game, they could upset the Aztecs:

  1. Ball control-  Last season a study showed, from a statistical and analytical standpoint, that teams won games 78% of the time when winning the turnover battle. In the game against BYU, for example, Boise state had 1 turnover to BYU’s 2. With a team in SDSU, that’s only done so four total times this season; it will be a challenge for all three units on the field.
  2. Get the defense off the field- For most of the season, it’s been a tale of an explosive defense bailing out a stagnant offense. Thus, the defensive unit has been on the field much longer this season. In the BYU game, however, the Broncos won the time of possession: 32:21 to 27:39. The Bronco offense must keep Rashaad Penny and company off the field as long as possible.
  3. Utilize the qualities of both quarterbacks- In a recent press conference with SDSU head coach Rocky Long, he noted his thoughts on BSU’s two-headed monster: “It makes it more difficult to get ready to play them because both quarterbacks are very good players… Basically, you’re getting ready for two teams in one week.” Simply put, keep the SDSU defense guessing. The more the Broncos utilize what they have, the greater the advantage they possess.
  4. 11 of the same make up the field- Football, in and of itself, is a team sport. There may be an all-star on the team, but he needs help from the other 10. For Aztec running back Rashaad Penny, it’s been a fun career so far. Last season he backed up current Philadelphia Eagle running back Donnel Pumphrey. Pumphrey is also the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher.  The relationship between the two backs is second to none. Even after college, Pumphrey still leaves texts Penny after games. One of the most meaningful came after the win over UNLV: “it’s a big week,” while referencing the upcoming game against Boise State.

Penny is the featured product on the Aztec offense. With almost 1,000 yards rushing already this season, he will be a focal point to control. However, the Broncos CAN’T overlook the rest of the Aztec offense. The signal caller for the Aztecs, Christian Chapman, has thrown for almost 1,000 yards this season.

The offense may remind some of the old offensive systems ran by the Broncos in the early to mid-2000’s. The Aztecs run out of power formations and strictly under-center packages. They can also throw the ball too. Senior receiver Mikah Holder has 301 yards receiving. Alongside him, Kahale Warring has also attributed 185 yards as well.

Backing up Penny at tailback is sophomore Juwan Washington. With 66 carries, along with 334 yards rushing, Washington can’t be overlooked. All in all, the Aztecs have numerous offensive playmakers who can go off at any moment of the game. It’s up to the Bronco defense to recognize that and play assignment football.

5. Relying on Practical Concepts- For the Bronco teams of the past, it was all about one game at a time. Coach Peterson relied on the motto and Harsin has extended its stay. When it comes down to it, the Broncos need to put all their time, energy, and preparation into this game.

“When we’re preparing, we prepare just like if they’re number one in the nation or dead last,” linebacker Tyson Maeva said in his recent interview with the Idaho Statesman.

Follow that motto, and the Broncos may just do what it takes to leave SDCCU Stadium with a win.


About Darrek Harris

Darrek Harris
Darrek was born and raised in Boise, ID. Currently, he has an associates degree in English from the College of Western Idaho. He plans to pursue a bachelors degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He enjoys sports in many fashions: playing, cheering, and coaching. Bleed Blue, Go Broncos, Amen!

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