Las Vegas Bowl Live Blog

Credit: R. Dorsha

Aztecs get opening kickoff and lose 6 on first play from scrimmage, forced to go 3 and out…

Cougars respond with an 3-and-out of their own…. so far, field position game is favoring Houston.

Aztecs 2nd series loses a total of 10 yards and ends with a punt.  So far, SDSU offense has 6 plays for -10 yards.  At first glance, it appears the SDSU offensive line is having serious issues with the speed of Houston, not necessarily the size.  Houston only plays 3 down linemen and moves LB’s around a lot.

SDSU applying pressure on Houston QB Ward, but he keeps escaping the rush.  SDSU has to be more disciplined about staying in lanes as they rush.  Cougars make it into the red zone, but the drive stalls and Cougars settle for a field goal.  3-0, Houston with 6:38 to go in first quarter.

SDSU still having trouble on 3rd series, going 3 and out but it did gain 7 yards to give Aztecs only -3 for the game.  Currently, does not look like the standard running formations will work against Houston.

Houston’s hurry-up offense is dizzying, can run a play within 11 seconds of previous play.  Haven’t seen it cause problems for SDSU yet, but it could, Aztecs have not seen this done this well so far this year.  Houston goes 10 plays, 74 yards in only 3:50 to make it 10-nothing.  This will get ugly unless Aztecs offense can solve Houston defense because I doubt the Cougars will stop scoring.

SDSU seriously having problems getting hats on hats.  Cougars are too quick and athletic up front right now.  The big boys on the line are fighting to a stalemate and Houston LB’s are coming free regularly.  Aztecs will likely punt, again, to start second quarter.  If the defense doesn’t get a stop, I shudder to think how the rest of this game is going to go.

SDSU just got a gift, Houston d-lineman ran into the punter, giving Aztecs their first 1st down.  However, the Aztecs can’t take advantage, giving up a run for a loss of 4 and a sack on back-to-back plays.  Again, Houston is beating SDSU with speed.

SDSU defense forces a 3-and-out to keep field position slanted Aztecs’ way.  Cameron Kelly had a shot at a pick-6 but dropped it.  Someone on SDSU will have to make a game-changing play, like that, to flip the current script.

SDSU’s offense has awoken!  Pumphrey rips off 30-yard run.  Chapman converts SDSU’s first third down of the afternoon but the drive stalls at the 5 yard line, leading to a John Baron field goal.  Houston 10 – SDSU 3

SDSU defense response with an inspired series.  2 straight run stops and then a corner blitz that confused Houston.  Quest Truxton then returns punt into Houston territory.  SDSU has finally showed up to the Las Vegas Bowl.

SDSU offense seems to have solved its problems on the offensive line.  Humphrey and Penny with big runs but the drive stalls at the 11-yard-line and the Aztecs are forced to kick another field goal.  Houston 10 – SDSU 6 at halftime.

Houston received the kickoff to start the 2nd half and Kameron Kelly redeemed himself after an earlier dropped INT.  Ward’s pass sailed over the intended receiver, SDSU ball.

Aztecs offense gets back onto Houston’s side of the field, but stalls.  Cougars get it back at their own 12.

Houston put together its first sustained drive as SDSU dropped into coverage and Ward had time to find receivers.   That is, until, Ward neglected to see LB Calvin Munson dropping into coverage inside the 20.

Donnel Pumphrey decided enough was enough and took matters into his own hands.  First, he converted a key third down with an amazing one-handed catch on the sidelines with a defender in his face.  On the very next play, vintage Pumphrey with a burst up the middle and to the house.  32-yard run and SDSU has its first lead.

And the news keeps getting better.  Ron Smith jumped a short route and took an interception 54 yards to the house.  SDSU leads 20-10.  Houston QB Ward now has 3 INT’s in the 3rd quarter.

Malik Smith has been fantastic in the open field.  Houston’s spread offense likes to get the ball to receivers in space and Smith has been fighting off blockers and making tackles for little or no gain.  Houston is forced to punt after a sack and SDSU takes over.  Aztecs have this game by the throat.

On the next play, Donnel Humphrey took a handoff around right end and scampered for 15 yards.  With that run, Pumphrey is now the all-time NCAA rushing leader, passing Ron Dayne.  Quite a moment.

Houston forced to go for it on fourth down and they are stuffed by the Aztecs defense.  On the next play, Christian Chapman goes over the top to Curtis Anderson for 28 yards and a score.  SDSU will win the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl!

Since Houston’s touchdown, here’s how their drives have gone:

Punt

Punt

Half

INT

INT

INT

Punt

Downs

Downs

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Richard Dorsha
Baseball is the greatest athletic endeavor we have. It is a sport of poetry, beauty and nearly imeasurable levels of skill. The Padres are my team, my only true team. They are the expression of my love for this grand game.

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