What could possibly be comforting after a 45-14 loss at home to Texas Christian? Knowing they beat your next opponents 52-0.
The CSU Rams (4-7, 1-6 MWC) are hurting for a win in the worst way, and right now there may not be a better place to find it then in San Diego where the lowly Aztecs (2-9, 2-5 MWC) have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-14.
“A win right now helps the confidence of the younger guys for next year,” said receiver Johnny Walker. “Nobody wants to end the season 0-7.”
Last year the Aztecs came to town for the Rams’ senior day and stunned them with a 30-10 loss. This year senior day is in San Diego and the Rams are the ones in the spoiler position.
“Last year they did that to us on senior day at home,” said sophomore Klint Kubiak. “This year we want to ruin it for them like they did for us.”
While the game is the best chance the Rams have had for a win in a month, as losers of their last six consecutive games they aren’t looking down their noses at anybody.
“We haven’t won a game in forever, we’re in no position to say that any team is weak,” said Kubiak. “We just need to focus on getting a win and going into next season on a high note.”
In order for the Rams to do so, they’ll need to be more consistent then they have in the tumultuous six-game losing streak they’ve found themselves stuck in.
The San Diego State offense is less than stellar – the most points they’ve put up in a single game this year is 27 – but they are run by a talented quarterback in Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell threw for 176 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s game.
“O’Connell is tall and athletic, he gets out of the pocket quick and hurts you like he did to us last year,” said Kubiak. “When we’re blitzing we can’t blow by him, you always have to keep an eye on him. We’ve got to go for his legs and bring him down because he can side step you and make a play.”
The CSU offense should be able to go to work on a team that allows 29 points per game, second-worst in the MWC. The biggest holes are on the ground where the Aztecs allow 186.9 yards per game and where injured star Kyle Bell found 178 yards last season.
But the Rams, without their current starter Nnamdi Ohaeri due to injury, will rely on their third and fourth options, Gartrell Johnson III and Michael Myers, respectively.
“We’ll go with Gartrell for the first couple series and then Myers for the next couple,” said offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt. “We’ll stick with whoever is doing better.”
The Rams turned to a little trickery during the desperate times in last week’s loss to TCU, when receiver Johnny Walker threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Osborn. Against the Aztecs the Rams aren’t planning on trying another one – hopefully because they won’t need it.
“We scored on a trick play [last game], so I think they’ll be ready for one,” said Head Coach Sonny Lubick. “Sometimes they backfire on you.”
In a final-game meeting between two teams with not much to play for, the game plan may not matter as much as how hard it’s being run.
“Conference-wise, both teams are similar,” said Hammerschmidt. “It’s going to be about wills and whoever gets up for the game.”
Staff writer Brett Okamoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.