At the time he went down with his shoulder injury, Juwan Washington was in the top five in rushing, even though he had been battling a number of ailments already. So when he was out against Eastern Michigan, Coach Rocky Long and staff knew who they could turn to; redshirt sophomore running back Chase Jasmin.
This season, Jasmin is averaging 4.5 yards per carry on 69 carries, which totals up to 311 yards on the season. A different type of running back than Washington, Jasmin is 5-11 and 195 pounds. While Washington could run inside and out, Jasmin has the bigger body to sustain the hits and break through would-be tacklers.
Since the loss of Washington, Jasmin has become the Aztecs’ workhorse and has done a great job filling in. He has kept the tradition of the San Diego State running back going with his performance. If there was any doubt of who would be the next running back after Washington, Jasmin has done more than enough to quell those doubts. In the meanwhile, he will be charged with leading the ground game while Washington is out.
Last week, the defense shined in their victory over Boise State. The Aztecs forced three interceptions and sacked the Broncos quarterbacks four times en route to their best performance of the season. Darren Hall led the way for the Aztecs with nine tackles, one sack, and an interception. Hall would later be named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week (his second award of the season). The secondary was outstanding, holding Boise State quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Chase Cord to a total of 178 yards through the air. Coming into the matchup with the Aztecs, Rypien had been averaging more than 360 passing yards per game. Hall, who is just a redshirt freshman, has cemented himself as the cornerback of the future for the Aztecs.
For the first time in a long time, Kyahva Tezino was not the leading tackler for the Aztecs, however, that does not mean he was not a force on the field. In my opinion, Tezino had the biggest impact on the game. His name was constantly being called by the announcers, mostly for delivering hits on Rypien that probably left his body as blue as the turf in Boise. Tezino was putting constant pressure on the quarterbacks from the beginning of the game and was the direct reason for the interception of Cord by Ronley Lakalaka.
This week will be a big test for the safeties as Air Force will be bringing the pesky triple option to San Diego County Credit Union Stadium. Parker Baldwin, Tariq Thompson, and company will need to be ready to help stop the Air Force run attack, which ranks in the top 20 in the nation.
On offense, Ryan Agnew will be called on again to lead the passing attack as senior quarterback Christian Chapman is still not ready. Last week, the Aztecs could not get a lot going through the air against a good Boise State defense, however, this week should see a bit more opportunity as the Air Force defense allows 236 yards a game through the air. Top target Ethan Dedeaux left last game with an injury so the Aztecs may be without him this week, so expect the balls to find the tight ends.
The Air Force run defense only allows a little over 100 yards per game on the ground so that means that the Aztecs run game faces off in a strength versus strength battle for the second time this year. They are 2-0 in those situations as they beat two teams with stout run defenses, Arizona State and Boise State.
The Aztecs defense will have their hands full with the triple option this Friday. Should they ground the Air Force run game and control the game, then things will get a lot easier. Offensively San Diego State needs to establish the run game early. Should they not get the running game going then they will need to put the game in Agnew’s hands so that he can take advantage of the Air Force secondary. This will not be an easy or pretty game, however it is imperative that the Aztecs pull out this victory at home.