The Aztecs got back to their winning ways on the island vacation topping the Hawaii Warriors 28 - 7 on Saturday. There is a lot to be excited about and discuss for Aztec fans as they move to 7 - 2 and keep alive the hopes for a 10 win season. Without over reacting and making grand assertions that everything is back to being okay for SDSU I think it’s safe to say that this was a large step int he right direction for a team that had suffered some of the worst losses in school history the last two weeks. The team GPA is coming back up a bit, here are this week’s position grades.
Chapman didn't have a super busy night with only 11 attempts but was still extremely effective. He threw his first INT in 168 attempts and had a random miscue on a snap that he fumbled so there wasn't wall to wall excellence but still a solid night.
Running Backs (A)
Rashaad Penny put up a career high 253 rushing yards, including multiple 40 plus yard runs and a pair of scores. I think that qualifies as a bouncy back game, if nothing else it should serve to help restore some of the identity this team seemed to work so well with early in the season. Juwan Washington averaged over five yards per carry and had a touchdown too, so the power tandem seems to be fully back. This is a positive sign for the near future.
Wide Receivers (A-)
Mikah Holder grabbed his first touchdown of the season on a 16 yard connection with Chapman. The run game was in full swing so it there wasn't much passing, but Holder getting that score does a lot to help bolster the confidence of one of the team leaders.
Tight Ends (B+)
There may have been only one pay action pass but it was hugely successful and symbolic of the Aztecs getting back to wheat worked well for them when they had that swagger early in the season. They also provided great edge blocking to help Penny have a career night.
Offensive Line (B)
I don't think blocking for a career night for Penny can make up for two losses but it was a night that helped restore some faith in the line. This outing was a marked improvement in the blocking an the penalties, and while only time will tell if this an early sign of youth maturing to a better line.
Defensive Line (B+)
Chibu Onyeukwu had himself a master night and in doing so proved the trickle down theory that is the 3-3-5 defense. He and Noble Hall combined for three sacks and kept the pressure on all night and in doing so gave the rest of the defense enough room to operate at peak efficiency.
A huge part of limiting Hawaii to a beautiful 2-14 on 3rd downs was the great tackling and gap filling provided by the linebackers. The D-Line provided the opportunities to blow up plays and the backers took full advantage. Kyahva Tezino lead the team in tackles and QB pressures on the night.
Defensive Backs (A-)
Trey Lomax came within a finger of getting an INT that would have broken the dry spell but all in all a great night for the secondary. Kameron Kelly was back in fine form both in coverage and open field tackling. The ability for the secondary to shut down the big play is a great sign that the defense has some of its swagger back.
Special Teams (PASS)
The punts flipped the field position. No kicks were missed. Just ties a nice bow on the win.