SDSU, Utah State is no small potatoes

SDSU football

It’s a Mountain West football showdown and we got the right schools?

San Diego State mans one corner and is that really Utah State?

Oh yeah, and Boise State has the marks to prove it.

The Aztecs welcome the visiting Aggies on Friday night and we guess they flew into Lindbergh Field.

Or just floated over from Utah, aloft from their biggest win in program history.

The Aggies annihilated No. 21 Boise State, 52-26, on Friday.

“It’s huge,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “I’m not going to make any bones about it.”

It adds sizzle to the Mission Valley matchup, which features the MW divisions’ first-place teams. 

The Aztecs (4-3, 3-0) of the West have won three straight.

The Aggies (4-3, 3-0) of the Mountain mimic SDSU’s winning streak, with a dash of Boise State demolition.

“What they did to Boise State last week was pretty impressive,” SDSU coach Rocky Long said. “So we know it’s going to be quite a challenge. But again, it’s going to be an opportunity, too.”

Especially for the feisty Aztecs defense, allowing under 150 yards in two of its past three games. It will be all black-and-red eyes on deck for Utah State’s shifty Kent Myers.

He’s a running quarterback who likes to throw and the Aggies aren’t shy about it.

“They block schemes purposely so that the quarterback can carry the football,” Long said. “He runs power plays. He runs sweep plays with lead blockers and he runs counter plays with lead blockers. They’re very unique on offense and it’s all about giving the quarterback a chance to carry the ball no matter what you do on defense.”

Utah State’s defense stops the run — No. 6 in the nation at 90 yards per game.

SDSU can run it — Donnel Pumphrey has rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games, which coincides with the winning run.

Pumphrey made his best move this week when announcing his return for his senior year.

The tug-a-war between Pumphrey, the nation’s only player to lead his team in rushing, receiving and receptions, and the Aggies’ front will be telling.

“They’ve got about three outstanding linebackers and their defensive line is really strong,” Long said. “Their defensive line reminds me of Penn State’s and we had a really hard time moving the ball against Penn State, so they’re good on defense.”

What’s not needing defense lately is Maxwell Smith’s play. What happened to the quarterback Long wasn’t sure of?

Smith deserves credit. He’s thrown 101 consecutive passes without an interception — that’s five outings worth.

“With each game you get under your belt, it helps in terms of confidence,” Smith said.

We’re certain the Aggies will seek turnovers, even with Smith’s keen sense of ball security. Utah State had eight turnovers in the Boise State triumph, seven in the first half.

Handle that football with focus, Mr. Smith?

“We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing and take care of the football,” he promised. “I don’t think it matters who you’re playing, just as long as you can maintain possession and keep your defense off the field and sustain drives. I think that’s what’s most important.”

Another key is getting everyone to Qualcomm on a Friday. A night usually reservered for prep football was hijacked by ESPN.

But the national TV audience might see a preview of the MW title contest on Dec. 5.

“I’d take that right now,” Long said. “If someone said we’re in the championship game and we have to play Utah State again, I’d say `Ok, let’s go.”’

First comes Friday.

 

+ Contact Jay Paris at jparis@bcaradio.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jparis_sports.

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