The San Diego State Aztecs (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West) saved one of their best performances of the season for their last conference game with an absolute beat-down of San Jose State. The win helped the Aztecs to improve to 6-0 at home this season. It was their eighth straight home victory, the 13th longest active home winning streak in the country. The Aztecs also finished the season with the top rated defense in the conference, allowing only 241 points over the 12-game span. As a comparison, Boise State, the league's only top 25 team, allowed 331 points in their 12 games. The Aztecs continue to develop a successful program and even greater promise for next year as most of their star players will be returning.
Senior quarterback Quinn Kaehler had an off day from the start completing only 4-15 pass attempts for 34 yards. Perhaps the highlight of his performance was that he made no mental errors and got rid of the ball when he had to and did not throw any interceptions. Kaehler, undoubtedly, would like to have a much better performance in whichever bowl game San Diego State plays in. It will be his last game as an Aztec.
Running Backs: A+
Sophomore Donnel Pumphrey showed why he is this season's offensive MVP. In perhaps his finest game as an Aztec, he carried the ball 22 times for a whopping 267 yards and three touchdowns. That is the most yards in a game by an Aztec rusher since Larry Ned had 285 yards way back in 2001. Pumphrey was like a butcher carving up the Spartan defense. Only the end zone could stop his effort on this special day. His backfield running mate, junior Chase Price, also had a good day rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Even senior Lucky Radley had a good time celebrating senior day with a touchdown and five carries.
Wide Receivers: B
The receivers were not much of a factor in the game as it was clearly a day for running back domination. There were a couple of passes that were either dropped or ones where a better effort could have been made, but that didn't have any effect on the outcome of the game. Senior standout Ezell Ruffin had only two short catches on the day.
Offensive Line: A-
The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and created gaping holes for Pumphrey and company. Senior Terry Poole led the way with his aggressive play.
Defensive Line: A-
Senior Sam Meredith and juniors Jon Sanchez and Christian Heyward led the defensive line and obliterated San Jose State's offensive line, which limited the Spartan running attack. All season this defensive line has done a good job of coming off blocks and applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The trio of sophomore Calvin Munson, senior Josh Gavert and senior Derek Largent had a huge day, combining on 19 tackles. Gavert and Largent are considered to be among the best seniors at the position in the Mountain West conference. But the defensive MVP for the Aztecs this year has been Munson. He was all over the field making tackles including two sacks on the day.
The secondary, led by senior J.J. Whittaker, limited the Spartan's passing attack to 133 yards. Sophomore Malik Smith had another great day with six tackles and an interception. The young secondary matured a lot during the course of the season and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with next season.
Special Teams: B
Junior Donny Hageman converted his only field goal attempt. He was also responsible for the seven kickoffs and did a respectable job.
Stars of the game:
Running back Donnel Pumphrey, linebacker Calvin Munson and kicker Donny Hageman earn my offensive, defensive and special teams stars of the game, respectively.