Aztecs Come Up Short Against Utah State 23-17

San Diego State was defeated by Utah State 23-17 on Saturday night at SDCCU stadium. For the Aztecs, it was a classic case of too little, too late.

The Aztecs had multiple streaks snapped tonight. They had a 13 game winning streak in the month of September snapped as well as a 10 game winning streak against the Aggies snapped. 

The Aztecs only scored three points in the first half and trailed by 17 at halftime.

However, a late game spark brought the Aztecs within striking distance. After struggling for most of the game, senior quarterback Ryan Agnew threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and cut the Aggies’ lead to six with just over five minutes remaining. He would finish with 281 yards and two touchdowns. 

One of his fourth quarter touchdowns was an across-the-body throw to sophomore Kobe Smith for 25 yards.

Quarterback Ryan Agnew attempting a pass.
(Photo: Justin Neeley)

“That was a miracle at that point.” Agnew said, “[I] Dropped back and they played like a prevent defense so nothing was really open. I tried to buy enough time, try and find the open guy and Kobe [Smith] made a play.”

The Aggies had an opportunity at a 42-yard field goal with 1:18 left in the game, but kicker Dominik Eberle missed the kick, which kept the margin at six points instead of nine. 

On the Aztecs final drive of the game, the offense failed to find the endzone and turned the ball over on downs.

“We had a play drawn up to get one across the middle,” Agnew said, “Wish I stayed in there a little longer [the pocket] and tried to deliver the throw, got to give the receivers a chance.”

SDSU led this one early with a slim 3-0 lead, but a crucial first quarter interception put the Aztecs behind the eight ball. Agnew was picked off by Shaq Bond who returned it for a touchdown.

The turnover was not the only thing that hurt the Aztecs. The team had six penalties for 61 yards, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. SDSU eclipsed their average penalties and penalty yards in the first half.

SDSU running back Jordan Byrd.
(Photo: Justin Neeley)

“Obviously the special team’s penalties always started us in bad field position,” Rocky Long said, “I haven’t seen them on film to see if they were legit or not, but we’ll find out. I think the only real bad penalty was we got a personal foul penalty and that’s ridiculous.”

The Aggies have racked up 1,330 yards in their first two games but were held to 375 total yards against the Aztecs.

“If you told me before the game we were going to hold them to 16 points on defense I’d tell you we were going to win,” Long said.

However, Long quickly critiqued his defense after the praise. When asked about how his defense played, Long did not hold back.

“Not good enough,” Long said. “It’s never good enough if you lose. We gave up some yards, but we made them kick field goals and I think they scored one touchdown on offense.”

The Aztecs were without contribution from senior running back Juwan Washington, who hasn’t played since week 1. He continues to suit up, but remains on the sidelines during games.

Asked if anything good came out of tonight Long didn’t mince words.

“Well, there’s no real positives because we lost,” he said. “I still believe our team can be a good football team and maybe we were okay tonight too because Utah State is pretty good, they got an NFL quarterback and that’s a hard thing to contend with.”

The Aztecs will look to gather themselves over their upcoming bye week and prepare for an away game against Colorado State.

Written by: Daniel Farr

Breven’s Blog: 2019 Summer Recap

Panoramic view of Petco Park in East Village with a sunset backdrop

What a long and eventful summer it has been for San Diego’s sports teams. Let’s run it back.

It all began with San Diego State pole vaulter Bonnie Draxler finishing her Aztec career on a high note with a silver medal at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Another Aztec made headlines the following week. Men’s Basketball player Jalen McDaniels was drafted in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets.

Former Aztec Kawhi Leonard won his second NBA championship and NBA Finals MVP with the Toronto Raptors as they beat the Golden State Warriors in six games. One month later, he joined Paul George and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The San Diego Padres continued to build hype with the duo of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. on the left side of the infield. Tatis Jr. impressed fans, coaches, and media personnel with his acrobatic plays both at shortstop and on the base paths. However, the Padres lost Tatis Jr. to injury last week and he might be done for the season. Padres’ fans and members of the organization liked the aggressiveness and tenacity he has had, thus far in 2019. Also, first baseman Eric Hosmer has continued to find his stroke and is hoping to finish the season strong. He is currently second in the National League among first baseman with 139 hits (as of Aug. 19).

The Padres traded away a clubhouse guy in Franmil Reyes for Cincinnati Reds’ top prospect Taylor Trammel before the July 31 trade deadline. The Padres’ fans will always love you, Franmil.  

Even Major League Baseball’s famous rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees took the field for the first game ever played in Europe. I appreciate how professional sports (i.e. MLB, NFL, NBA, etc) are expanding internationally as people are becoming more accepting of American sports.

In addition, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates brought back memories to their Little League days by playing in Williamsport, Pa.

The MLB All-Star Game took place in Cleveland and Padres’ closer Kirby Yates represented the team. Although the National League did not win, Yates had the opportunity to hang out with some friends and enjoy a game with the best players in the sport.

Back to the Aztecs, men’s basketball player Nathan Mensah needs surgery to heal an injured hand. He is expected to make a full recovery before the season begins in November. 

SDSU Football is in full swing with their first game on Aug. 31 against Weber State. They have moved to a spread offense, so the formations; however, what stays the same are the plays. The spread will help the lineman know who to block faster, especially for the running backs like Juwan Washington and Chase Jasmin. 

In the world of golf, former Aztec Xander Schauffele qualified to play in one of the sport’s most historic events, the President’s Cup. He has continued to play exceptional heading into the final tournament of the year, the PGA Tour Championship, this weekend. He finished eighth in the FedEx Cup Standings. 

Although this summer is finally coming to an end, the major sports teams did not disappoint and kept fans on their toes. It was fun and I can’t wait for what the 2019-20 school year has to offer.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Blog: Reflecting on the Life of Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn swinging a bat

Sunday was not just Father’s Day for Tony Gwynn Jr. That day marked five years since the passing of his Dad, Anthony Keith Gwynn, a legend in San Diego.

Gwynn came to SDSU on an unpredictable basketball scholarship, but once his basketball coach let him play baseball, he would be lights out both on the hardwood and on the diamond. The Long Beach native was a star point guard and still hold the records for most assists in a season (221), assists per game (8.2) and in a career (590). In Gwynn’s final game as an Aztec basketball player, he would have a career game, posting 16 points and 16 assists against New Mexico in 1981.

Although he came to SDSU as a basketball player at Montezuma Mesa, he still wanted to contribute to the Aztec baseball team. When he got the OK to play baseball from former SDSU basketball head coach Tim Vezie in his sophomore year, he became a two-time All-American. He would go on to play with teammates that would go on to play or partake some role in Major League Baseball (MLB), including MLB umpire Kerwin Danley (Gwynn’s roommate at SDSU), former pitcher and Colorado Rockies Manager Bud Black, former player and coach Bobby Meacham, and former player and two-time World Series Champion Al Newman. Gwynn received Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors in both basketball and baseball, making him the only athlete in WAC history to accomplish that feat.

Before professional sports were a televised event, Gwynn was able to accomplish things that only few people have ever achieved.

In June of 1981, Gwynn would get drafted by the then-San Diego Clippers (now Los Angeles Clippers) and the San Diego Padres on the same day. Gwynn would choose to stay in San Diego and play for the Padres. He would make his debut one year later in July of 1982 and from that moment on, he would wear the brown and gold, the blue and orange and the pinstripes up until his final season in 2001.

For 20 seasons, Gwynn was known for his hitting, but during his first slump he started a trend – video. In 1983, he was in a slump and asked his wife to get a camera to film his at-bats. From then on, he would never have a slump like what he went through and it was the beginning of video in the game of baseball. With Gwynn initiating the aspect of film in the sport (in terms of looking back and studying the video), people would call him “Captain Video.” Gwynn would finish his 1983 season with a batting average .309 and for the next 18 years of his career, he would never hit below .300. In 1984, it was a great year for the Padres and Gwynn himself. He would go to his first All-Star Game, win his first batting title and go to his first World Series.

As Gwynn would continue to go to All-Star Games, he would also win batting titles, Silver Sluggers and receive Gold Gloves.

When the 1990s came around, he would continue to get better by talking to retired players, such as Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Ted Williams. After his conversations with both of them, his best year were on the horizon. From 1994 to 1997, he led the National League in hits three times, won four batting titles, went to four All-Star games and only struck out 79 times in those four years. And in those four years, he had a slash line of .371 (batting average)/.415 (on base percentage)/.511 (slugging percentage), an ideal spot for hitters, the iconic .300/.400/.500 line. His batting average would also include getting a chance at hitting .400 in 1994, the closest anyone has accomplished that feat since Williams hit .406 in 1941. Gwynn would finish with a .394 batting average in a shortened-season due to a strike.

In 1998, Gwynn and Padres would have another magical run in the postseason, like what they through in 1984.

They would win 98 games and the division, beat future Hall of Famers like Randy Johnson from the Houston Astros, who won 102 games in the NL Division Series. Then, they outlasted the Hall of Fame trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz from the Atlanta Braves, who won 106 games to get to the World Series and face a New York Yankees team that won 114 games during the regular season. At the end of the 2001 season, Gwynn would call it a career as he would finish with a .338 lifetime batting average, record 3,141 hits, go to 15 All-Star games, win five Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and eight batting titles. Another thing he also won was respect; respect from players, coaches, fans and the media from around Major League Baseball because of the humbleness and person that he was, more than a baseball player.

Gwynn’s favorite memory came from the postseason and that was hitting a home run at (old) Yankee Stadium in Game One of the World Series. He cared about his family; he wanted to stay in America’s Finest City and not be traded or take a new contract in a different city. He spent his career in one town for an entire career, was a part of two World Series teams and will forever known as “Mr. Padre.” After Gwynn finished his baseball career, he would continue being on the field by coming back to Montezuma Mesa to be the head coach of the Aztec baseball team beginning in 2002.

In 2007, he would be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. by getting 97.6% of the ballot.

Gwynn will forever be known as “Mr. Padre” and an Aztec For Life. Ever since he came to San Diego in 1977, he never wanted to leave the city and the fans never wanted him to leave. It was the bond that he was able to create with players, coaches, fans and the media that made him stand out. June 16 has been a day to never forget Tony Gwynn for Padre fans, Aztec fans, and MLB fans that admired him.

Written by: Breven Honda

Breven’s Sports Blog: SDSU Baseball, Basketball & Track

Bonnie Draxler cheering

SDSU Aztecs prove to be at the top of their game by winning major accolades and securing MLB draft picks. Soon enough, the basketball teams will face off opponents in the MWC.

Track & Field ends the year at Outdoor Champs with medals and honors.

What a year it has been for senior pole vaulter Bonnie Draxler. Back in March, the senior finished with a silver medal in the NCAA Indoor Championships. This time in the Outdoor Championships, she would do the same.

Last Thursday, Draxler would continue her run of making the podium for the field event by placing second. She cleared a height of 14-09.50 (4.51m) and finished as the NCAA runner-up.

In addition to Bonnie Draxler, the SDSU 4×400 meter team raced for a chance at gold. The team would come up short with a time of 3:33.64, which was good for 11th best.

The 4x400m relay team consisted of sophomore Sakura Robinson, senior Lise-Anne Barrow, sophomore Jalyn Harris, and freshman Nyjari McNeil.

As a result of this young team, the future is bright for SDSU Track and Field, especially in the 4x400m.

Over the weekend, history was made when all five athletes earned All-American honors, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Sunday.

Draxler was named to the first team and the 4x400m relay team was selected to the second team.

This was not Draxler’s first go-around as an All-American.

In four years as an Aztec, she became a four-time All-American, which includes becoming a two-time first-team All-American (2019 Indoor and Outdoor Championships), a second-team All American at the 2018 Indoor Championships, and was an honorable mention in the 2017 outdoor season.

4 Aztecs drafted into MLB

The month of June marks a new beginning for baseball players to start their professional career.

Every Major League Baseball Draft is composed of 40 rounds and this year, 1,217 players were selected; however, not all will decide to play pro ball. One reason is due to the college the person has already committed to.

In the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, four players from San Diego State were selected.

RHP Logan Boyer – 11th round, Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Julian Escobedo – 17th round, Cleveland Indians

RHP Adrian Mardueno – 20th round, St. Louis Cardinals

SS Angelo Armenta – 38th round, Tampa Bay Rays

With these four players getting drafted, the SDSU Baseball Program now has 219 MLB draft picks and 21 since 2014.

From the Mountain West, only Fresno had a higher number of draft picks from their program, recording eight.

MWC unveils conference opponents and schedule

On June 6, the Mountain West Conference released the 2019-20 conference schedule for both men’s and women’s hoops, but unlike years past, there are some things that will change and some things that will stay the same.

In the past, Conference games started a week before New Year’s Day. This year, it starts almost a month before the new year. What will stay the same are the number of opponents a team will face.

The Mountain West will stick to its normal 18-game conference schedule, but conference play begins as early as December 4.

The Aztecs’ conference opener is set for Dec. 4 against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. and their first home game is Sunday, Dec. 8 against San Jose State.

The two early conference games is because the 2020 MWC Tournament is a week before and there is a convention the usual week the tournament would be held, according to a tweet from the Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire).   

After the conference games, the Mountain West takes a break for teams to play non-conference opponents and face finals. Conference play resumes New Year’s Day with the Aztecs staying home to face Fresno State.

Conference play will last until Feb. 29 when the Aztecs head to a familiar spot to end the season: Reno, Nev. to face the Wolfpack for a third consecutive year.

The MW Tournament will have the same format, but will begin March 4 and will go until the seventh.

There are pros and cons to moving the Conference schedule up two weeks.

Pro: by moving the conference schedule up two weeks the team(s) that makes the NCAA Tournament have two weeks to get ready rather than four days (or two days if in the first round play-in game).

Con: The Aztecs always ride the fans’ jubilant energy (particularly from the students; The Show), especially for conference games. As a result of the change and most students going home for winter break, the Aztecs will have to get fired up some other way for three games at Viejas Arena until the 2020 spring semester classes begins on Jan. 22. However, what makes it a con are the three teams the Aztecs are facing: Jan. 1 vs. Fresno St., Jan. 11 vs. Boise St., and Jan. 18 vs. Nevada.

Here’s the schedule for Men’s and Women’s Basketball for SDSU:

DateMen’s ScheduleWomen’s Schedule
Dec. 4@ Colorado StateVs. Colorado State
Dec. 7Vs. San Jose State (Dec. 8)@ San Jose State
Jan. 1Vs. Fresno State@ Fresno State
Jan. 4@ Utah StateVs. Utah State
Jan. 8@ WyomingVs. Wyoming
Jan. 11Vs. Boise State@ Boise State
Jan. 15@ Fresno StateVs. Fresno State
Jan. 18 Vs. Nevada@ Nevada
Jan. 22Wyoming@ Wyoming
Jan. 25@ UNLVVs. UNLV
Jan. 29@ New MexicoVs. New Mexico
Feb. 1Vs. Utah State@ Utah State
Feb. 8@ Air ForceVs. Air Force
Feb. 12Vs. New Mexico @ New Mexico
Feb. 15@ Boise St.Vs. Boise State
Feb. 22 Vs. UNLV@ UNLV
Feb. 26Vs. Colorado State@ Colorado State
Feb. 29@ NevadaVs. Nevada
Written by: Breven Honda
Featured Image by: goaztecs.com