Remember San Diego State’s impressive win over Utah State?
Coach Rocky Long hopes his players don’t.
“That’s a concern of mine because of the experience I’ve had as a coach,” Long said.
His salt-and-pepper hair comes with a black-and-white conviction: after a big win usually comes a big let down.
That’s among the obstacles in the Aztecs’ way when facing Colorado State on Saturday.
SDSU (5-3, 4-0) is rolling and the game at Fort Collins comes on the heels of it rolling Utah State, 48-14.
But Long needs his troops looking ahead instead living in the back-slapping past.
Otherwise, the Aztecs will enter their bye week on a bummer.The Rams (3-4, 1-2) are tough and proved it when defeating Air Force two weeks ago.
“They have a lot of starters or guys that started some of the time, a lot of them coming back off a 10-2 team last year,” Long said. “I’m sure they think the Air Force game is the one that’s getting them kick-started. They’re used to winning and they know how to win. That puts another hurdle in front of us that we have to be able to jump over.”
The Aztecs were sky high in their triumph over Utah State, in a showdown between the Mountain West division leaders. Long longs for them to return to earth before hopping into Hughes Stadium.
“I think it’s easy personally,” said quarterback Maxwell Smith, who’s thrown 111 straight passes without an interception. “We won four games in the league and that’s all we’ve done. We can go out and lose the next four and it doesn’t mean nothing.
“I think we all know what’s at stake each week and we go out and fight no matter who we’re playing. That’s how we go about our business week-by-week. We train hard every day.”
SDSU’s choo-choo was slow leaving the station. Since losing three of its first four, the signals have flashed all green lights.
But the Rams will be waiting. Not only are they fresh from knocking off the Falcons, but their bye-fresh, too.
“Colorado State came off of a big win against Air Force going into its bye week, so they were happy, they were healthy, they were excited about playing, and they could see nothing but positives,” Long said. “They will be a confident football team.”
The Rams feature an All-America wide receiver in Rashad Higgins. Quarterback Nick Stevens is coming off a career-high game of throwing for 296 yards and three scores. Running back Jason Oden, Jr. has five scores.
“As a whole, their offense is really good, probably the best that we’ve seen so far,” SDSU cornerback Pierre Romain said. “We just have to be ready for the challenge.”
SDSU’s defense has met any test of late. During October, it leads the nation in allowing but 181.8 yards per game. And teams are averaging 10.5 points an outing over that span.
Opponents can’t score because they can’t get the ball. The Aztecs play keep away with an old-school offense which stays low.
The Aztecs pushed Utah State around for 336 yards, marking the fourth straight game the rushers have collected at least 218.
Donnel Pumphrey continues to pummel rivals. Against the Aggies, he scampered for two touchdowns and 181 yards — his fourth straight game over 100 yards — as he climbs the school’s all-time rushing chart.
So SDSU arrives in the Rocky Mountains with confidence.
Plus a warning from its coach.
+ Contact Jay Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jparis_sports.