SDSU may not be going to the conference championship game but there is still plenty to be excited about on the mesa as Rashaad Penny had a historic night in a 42 - 23 win over the Nevada Wolfpack.
Quarterback: (A-) Lost in the hype of a hectic night for Rashaad Penny is the fact that Christian Chapman completed 15 of 23 for 205 yards and a score. What may be even more astounding is the fact that he completed passes to nine different receivers on the night. This is both significant to see Chapman becoming a bit of a gun slinger and that the
Running Backs: (A+) Rashaad Penny had a record setting night with 449 total yards, including 222 rushing, and four touchdowns. He broke the school record for total yards in a game that had previously been held by Marshall Faulk. Oh and to top it all of he had a 70 yard score that was called back because of a holding penalty. With the season winding down this was about as solid of a boost for a Heisman campaign as anyone in recent memory has had.
Wide Receivers: (A) One of the most productive night in the last few seasons for the receiving corps that didn't involve having to explain that they do a lot of blocking. Mikah Holder had a touchdown, Quest Truxton and Fred Trevillion also had big catches on the night.
Tight Ends: (B+) Wells, Warring and even Parker Houston caught passes from Chapman as part of an all out offensive explosion. Seeing the tight ends getting in on the passing game is a great sign that we are seeing the ‘pre Boise’ Aztecs that excited fans so much.
Offensive Line: (A -) With as much fluctuation that has gone on from week to week with the o-line it would have been great to have the kind of night that either Penny or Chapman did, but to have both shows growth and improvement up front. Fewer penalties and less pressure on the quarterback are also signs that the young additions to the line are learning from the rough putting that marred the middle of the season.
Defensive Line: (B) There was a disturbing lack of pressure on the quarterback all night. Its can maybe be easy not to nit pick at the defenses putting when the Aztecs win and set offensive records, but this was a very close 21 - 17 game at halftime. Letting an opposing QB throw for over 400 yards is bad look for the entire defense, but that starts up front with a lack of pressure.
Linebackers: (B) Part of the blame fro lack of pass rush lies with the linebackers not being able to exploit any hole in the front seven. The coverage was there when the team needed it but yet another forgettable week from a part of the defense that was
Defensive Backs: (A-) Tariq Thompson led the team in tackles and continues to show that there is a bright future for the Aztec secondary. Trey Lomax came up with a big interception to help build momentum. With the lack of pressure up front they were tested with a heavier workload than they have been all season so all things considered it was a solid night.
Special Teams: (Pass) A big part of Penny’s record setting night was the punt and kick return success that seemed to electrify the team after starting the game slow. The multiple kick returns for a score should help Penny gain some #Heisman voting.