SDSU @ Fresno State Preview: Friday Night Lights Pt. 1/3

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

San Diego State (4-1)  at Fresno State (1-5)

Friday October 14, 7 pm PST on CBSSN

Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, California

 

The SDSU Aztecs are heading into this game seeking their 12th straight victory over their Mountain West opponents. Heisman Trophy candidate D.J. Pumphrey and the Aztecs head to Fresno where the Bulldogs are 80-26 in their last 106 home games. San Diego State is 1-1 on the road this season, but look to regain control on the first of three straight Friday night games.

The Bulldogs, coming off of their fourth straight loss, are looking to turn it around against a very tough Aztec team. After taking tough losses to UNLV and Nevada on the road, Fresno State is looking to grab their first conference win and regain possession of The Old Oil Can.

The Old Oil Can 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Old Oil Can, it is said to have come from a 1930’s-era oil can hailing from Fresno that was found at a construction site at San Diego State. “Cars in those days carried extra oil and water to be sure they could make it through difficult trips,” said Jim Herrick, executive director of the San Diego State Alumni Association. The Oil Can was made into a trophy and the teams started competing for it during the 2011 season. It is placed in the end zone after every game between the two, and the winner of the game retrieves it. Fresno State currently leads the trophy series 3–2. However, Fresno State is looking to regain control of the Old Oil Can, as SDSU stole it from them last season.

What to watch for 

That Aztec Defense

San Diego State’s defense is one of the most dominant in all of college football. Since last season, SDSU’s defense has forced a total of 43 turnovers (3rd in the nation) and has allowed an average of only 18.3 points per game (8th). The Bulldogs offense is averaging just over 22 points per game, so watch for them to try to push the envelope on the Aztecs and score at least 20 this Friday.

High Power Offense

Last week was a reassurance to the nation that the Aztecs are not just a one-dimensional offense. Christian Chapman was able to completely control this aspect of the game. Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny handled the work on the ground, making it easier for Chapman to control things through the air. The quarterback put up 215 yards and a touchdown, while completing all but five of his 20 passes. The Fresno State Bulldog defense will not make it any harder for Chapman. They have given up 43+ points on four separate occasions this season. While SDSU’s offense is rolling, watch for big plays and high numbers to be put up once the lights come on.

Key Matchups 

Aztec DBs vs Bulldog WRs

Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

The Bulldogs have seven receivers who have played in at least four of the six games this season. Of those seven, three of them have over 400 receiving yards, with Peck leading the group. Aaron Peck has gained 479 yards and scored three touchdowns this season. He will most likely be Kazee’s main assignment. Jamire Jordan trails the pack, but not by much, with 405 yards and two touchdowns, and KeeSean Johnson has almost identical numbers with 402 yards and three touchdowns. Damontae Kazee, Derek Babiash, and Malik Smith need to be on their game to keep up with these speedy receivers.

My Predictions

The Bulldogs have given up big numbers all season. Meanwhile, the Aztecs have produced big numbers all season long. I’m guessing it’s going to be target practice for the Aztecs, and they’re going to absolutely light up the shaky Bulldog defense. 48-21.

Bold Predictions

Donnell “D.J.” Pumphrey is going to surpass a San Diego legend this Friday. He is 224 yards away from tying LaDainian Tomlinson for 9th place on the NCAA All-Time rushing list. So I’m predicting he will pass that mark in Fresno this weekend. Marshall Faulk is in 12th place on the NCAA All-Time rushing touchdown list. Pumphrey is only three yards away from tying him. So my bold prediction for this week is that number 19 is going to rush for 227 yards and four rushing touchdowns to move him above two San Diego legends.

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Derek Cluff
Derek is a 22-year-old out of Lemon Grove, California. A burning passion for San Diego sports led him to pursue an opportunity to write and share about what's going on with the teams in America's Finest City. A young and aspiring sports journalist looking to grow his knowledge and expand his experience at any opportunity.

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