Credit U Defense for Victory

It was early in the first quarter, and San Diego State started a drive from the one yard line. The Aztecs had taken the ball all the way to the Ute 30 yard line, and were poised to score against the Ute defense.

However, Ute linebacker Sheldon Deckart delivered two sacks, which turned the game around. In two plays, Deckart showed the Aztecs exactly how much they would accomplish against the Utah defense.

A steady diet of Larry Ned and successful play action passing was the plan the San Diego State Aztecs needed to fulfill in order to defeat the Utes Saturday.

However, none of the Aztec plans came to reality as they were beat down on the offensive side of the ball.

The Utah defense has not allowed a touchdown in its past two games.

“Our defense is playing very well, and we didn’t let them get any big plays,” Ute coach Ron McBride said.

Averaging 140 yards per game on the ground and ranking second in the nation in rushing yardage, Ned had just an average game against the Utes.

The defense’s plan was to stop Ned. “We couldn’t let up, and we had fill all the gaps so he wouldn’t break many big runs,” Deckart said.

Ned’s longest run of the day was 19 yards as he finished with 22 carries for 79 yards. Ned was averaging 5.2 yards a carry, but could only muster an average of 3.6 yards per carry.

“[Ned] is a very good runner, but we didn’t let him get anything easy. He had to earn every yard he got,” McBride said.

The offensive line could not hold the Utes from breaking through and getting to Ned early.

“We didn’t make enough plays and it killed us. Every play, I had to break tackles,” Ned said.

Subsequently, the passing game went down as the rushing attack couldn’t set it up.

Although Aztec receiver Greg J.R. Tolver had a great game with 11 catches for 140 yards, the rest of the receiving corps had only 54 receiving yards.

But Tolver wasn’t necessarily pleased. “I don’t play for great stats, I play for a win,” Tolver said.

At the start of the game, the out pattern was working for Tolver very well. He caught two straight catches for first downs totaling 27 yards on out patterns on the aztecs first possession. However, San Diego State went away from the passing game early.

“Their corners were susceptible to the attack, but we went away from it,” Tolver said.

San Diego State only netted 258 yards. The passing game was efficient, but never broke anything big, as Sheriff went 14-28 for 182 yards. Sheriff threw a late interception, which was the only turnover for the Aztecs.

Whether with the run or the pass, San Diego State shot itself in the foot early. The Utes then delivered the fatal blow to finish off the Aztecs.

“The defense has played well all year, but (the offense) has not been able to get it done,” Aztec quarterback Lon Sheriff said.

The inefficiency of the offense sent the Aztecs to an atrocious record of 2-8 overall, 1-5 in conference play.

“We played with a lot of courage, but the Utes were just more physical on defense, and we couldn’t put points on the board,” Aztec coach Ted Tollner said.