Category: San Diego State Aztecs

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 29:  Former Tennesse quarterback Peyton Manning and current quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts is honored alongside his former college coach Phillip Fulmer before the start of the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 29, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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SEC, Ohio State tops on Carolina, Denver Super Bowl rosters

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Cam Newton may be hurtling toward history, but the former Auburn quarterback will not be the lone player representing the SEC in next month’s Super Bowl.  In fact, he’s far, far from it.

As you may have heard, Newton’s Carolina Panthers are set to square off with Peyton Manning‘s Denver Broncos in the 50th Super Bowl Feb. 3.  Manning and Newton are two of and FBS-best 30 former SEC players who are on the two teams’ rosters, which includes those on the 53-man, reserved/injured list, practice squad, reserved/suspended by commissioner and reserve/future squad.

The Pac-12 is next with 23, followed by the Big Ten (21) and ACC (17).  The final Power Five conference, the Big 12, has 10, three less than the Mountain West’s 13.  The AAC, with eight, is the only Group of Five league to come close to double digits.  The MAC, meanwhile, is the only conference to be shutout, while all of the other divisions in the NCAA combined for 18 players.

Nearly every SEC team is represented in this year’s big game, the lone exception being Vanderbilt.  Of the dozen schools in the Pac-12, only Arizona and Washington State are missing.  Both the ACC and Big Ten have 11 of their 14 teams in the game, the lone exceptions being Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech for the former and Illinois, Minnesota and Rutgers for the latter.

One of those B1G schools that’s in, Nebraska, has had at least one player on a Super Bowl roster for 23 straight years, the longest active streak for any FBS program.

Ohio State easily outdistances individual schools with seven, three more than the four each for Auburn, Georgia Tech, Oregon State and Tennessee.  Alabama, Arizona State, Colorado State, Georgia, Nevada, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Utah.

A total of 20 schools have two players each, including Coastal Carolina, the only non-FBS program in the group.  The other 19 includes Arkansas, Boise State, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina, San Diego State, South Carolina, Stanford, Troy, Tulane, Washington and Wisconsin.

Blowout of Cincinnati leaves San Diego St. with nation’s second-longest winning streak

SUNSET BEACH, HAWAII - DECEMBER 2:  Current ASP world number 16 Nathan Hedge of Australia was narrowly edged out of the Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, USA on December 2, 2002. (Photo by Grant Ellis/Tostee/Getty Images)
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Quick quiz: There are currently two FBS teams with double-digit winning streaks, with top-ranked Clemson, at 16 in a row, one of them; who’s the other?  If you answered San Diego State, collect your fake monopoly money and move on.

After jumping out to a larger-than-it-looked 21-0 lead at the half, SDSU eventually doubled that lead over the final 30 minutes before settling for a 42-7 pasting of Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl.  The win is the Aztecs’ 10th in a row, one more than College Football Playoff semifinalist Alabama’s nine.

It’s also SDSU’s 11th win on the season, tying the school record set back in 1969 under the legendary Don Coryell.  This year’s squad, the Mountain West Conference champions, had already become the fifth team in school history to reach double digits in wins and the first to do so since 1977.

From the opening kickoff — literally — there was little doubt that Rocky Long‘s crew would add to its historic season, with Rashaad Penny racing 100 yards in the first 15 seconds to give the Aztecs a lead they would never relinquish.  SDSU’s defense, which came into the game 10th nationally in points allowed (17 points per game), bookended the special teams touchdown on Alex Barrett‘s interception return for a touchdown to extend the lead to 42-0 with 9:04 remaining.

In between, running back Donnel Pumphrey, who may or may not have played his final game in an Aztec uniform, ran and passed for a touchdown, the latter being the first of his career.  Pumphrey’s backfield mate, former walk-on fullback Dakota Gordon, rushed for and caught a touchdown, the latter coming off the arm of Pumphrey.

SDSU’s defense, in addition to pitching a shutout for the first 56½ minutes, forced three turnovers, with all three being interceptions thrown by Hayden Moore.  In just his third career start, the freshman Moore, pressed onto the field because of personal issues involving starter Gunner Kiel, passed for 202 yards.  The Bearcats’ lone touchdown came on Mike Boone‘s one-yard touchdown run.

UC finishes the year 7-6, its first time winning nine or fewer games since 2010.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 24 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Donnel Pumphrey #19 of the San Diego State Aztecs runs with the ball in the first half against D.J. Dunn #34 of the Air Force Falcons in the Mountain West Championship game at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 24 bowl menu, which features a pair of games on islands and teams from four different conferences: AAC, Conference USA, MAC and Mountain West.

WHO: Middle Tennessee State (7-5) vs. Western Michigan (7-5)
WHAT: The 2nd Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
WHERE: Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
WHEN: Noon ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: A 3-5 start to the 2015 season put Middle Tennessee State’s bowl eligibility in jeopardy, but Rick Stockstill‘s crew righted the ship and finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak.  Western Michigan was in control of its MAC West fate at 5-0 before back-to-back losses to Bowling Green and eventual division champion Northern Illinois essentially ended their conference title game hopes, although they did knock off Toledo in the finale to rip the West from the Rockets and hand it to the Huskies.  History is not on WMU’s side, however, as the Broncos have played in six bowl games previously… and lost all six.  What WMU does have on its side is a pair of receivers, Daniel Braverman (103-1,266-12) and Corey Davis (82-1,253-11), who combined for 185 receptions for 2,519 yards and 23 touchdowns. MTSU can move the ball through the air as well as Brent Stockstill has passed for 3,678 yards.  Offense should rule the day overall as both are prolific on that side of the ball — WMU’s 22nd nationally in total offense, MTSU 30th — while the Blue Raiders are in the middle of the pack defensively (51st in scoring defense).  The Broncos, meanwhile, are 78th in scoring.  With a win, WMU would win eight or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history; an MTSU win, meanwhile, would give that program exactly eight wins in three of the last four seasons.
THE LINE: Middle Tennessee State, +4½
THE PREDICTION: Western Michigan 37, Middle Tennessee State 34

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WHO: San Diego State (10-3) vs. Cincinnati (7-5)
WHAT: The 14th Hawaii Bowl
WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
WHEN: 8 p.m. ET on ESPN
THE SKINNY: Very quietly, Mountain West champion San Diego State is one of the hottest teams in the country, with their nine-game winning streak tied with Alabama for the second-longest streak nationally behind Clemson’s 16 in a row.  In fact, one more win for the Aztecs would tie the single-season school record of 11 set back in 1969 under Don Coryell.  The 10 wins are already SDSU’s first double-digit win season since 1977 and just the fifth since becoming an FBS program.  Cincinnati, on the other hand, won back-to-back games just once this season, although they didn’t lose back-to-back games at all in 2015.  The Bearcats are also dealing with some internal strife as starting quarterback Gunner Kiel will not play because of what are being described as “personal reasons.”  The Bearcats, though, are prolific offensively, ranking 24th in the country with 36.1 points per game.  The problem is that San Diego State is among the stingiest in giving up points, with their 17 points per game positioning the Aztecs 10th nationally in that category.  SDSU has given up 20 or more points four times this season, and just once, in a 27-24 win over Air Force, during their winning streak.  That said, the key to the game could be Cincinnati’s run defense: UC is 106th in allowing teams to average 5.0 yards per carry, while SDSU’s Donnel Pumphrey‘s 1,554 yards are 10th nationally as he averages 5.5 ypc.
THE LINE: Cincinnati, +1½
THE PREDICTION: San Diego State 42, Cincinnati 28

Gunner Kiel a no-go for Cincinnati’s Hawaii Bowl game

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 7: Gunner Kiel #11 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws a pass in the first quarter of a NCAA football game against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
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While the mystery remains, there is some clarity when it comes to Gunner Kiel‘s postseason availability.

Kiel had not practiced with teammates at all this week as Cincinnati prepared for the Hawaii Bowl against San Diego State, with the stated reason being a “personal matter.”  On Thursday, head coach Tommy Tuberville confirmed that the quarterback was still dealing with the issue and, as a result, would not play in the Dec. 24 bowl game.

Gunner is taking care of personal problems,” Tuberville said following Thursday’s practice. “He’s asked if we can kind of recognize his privacy. He’s not off the team. He’ll be back, but I don’t know when. That’s pretty much all I can say about it.”

Kiel has been the Bearcats’ starter for most of the last two seasons, with the exception of a pair of games he missed in early October because of a head/neck injury. He’s thrown for just over 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns the last two years.

With Kiel out, freshman Hayden Moore will get the start. Moore replaced Kiel when he was injured in the Sept. 24 loss to Memphis and threw for 557 yards in less than four quarters of work.  He started the next two games in place of Kiel and passed for 498 yards combined.

Behold: Your complete 2015-16 bowl schedule

C. J. Prosise
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Following today’s semifinal and New Year’s Six announcements, the full 2015-16 bowl schedule is now complete.

This year’s slate is ground-breaking — or, depending on how you view it, bone-headed — on a number of fronts: first, it’s the maiden voyage of CFP executive director Bill Hancock‘s grand vision to redefine New Year’s Eve in this country by holding the CFP semifinals on the biggest party night of the year. Second, this year’s schedule contains 41 games. And, related to that, it’s the first to send losing teams (conference championship-related exemptions excluded) to bowl games.

Regardless of how you feel about those aspects, the 2015-16 bowl slate is here, and we’ll all watch. The slate stretches from Dec. 19 to Jan. 11 — a total of 24 days — but 40 of the games are packed into 12 days between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, taking off only for two NFL Sundays and Christmas. Prepare your remote — and your family — to be parked on ESPN for the foreseeable future.

As for the actual games: can I interest you in a renewal of the Holy War? What about a college football hipster’s delight in the Bowling Green spread vs. the Georgia Southern triple option? How about Trevon Boykin vs. Vernon Adams? Maybe a little Texas A&M rivalry renewal with… ah, forget it. The Aggies are headed to Nashville to face Louisville while Leonard Fournette plies his craft against FBS’s second-worst run defense in the Texas Bowl. All that and more, plus the previously announced CFP semifinals and New Year’s Six match-ups, can be found below.

Rankings are reflective of the final CFP top 25.

Saturday, Dec. 19
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): New Mexico vs. Arizona
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC): BYU vs. No. 22 Utah
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Ohio vs. Appalachian State
AutoNation Cure Bowl (7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): Georgia State vs. San Jose State
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Arkansas State vs. Louisiana Tech

Monday, Dec. 21
Miami Beach Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): South Florida vs. Western Kentucky

Tuesday, Dec. 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Akron vs. Utah State
Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Toledo vs. No. 24 Temple

Wednesday, Dec. 23
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Northern Illinois vs. Boise State
GoDaddy Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Bowling Green vs. Georgia Southern

Thursday, Dec. 24
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): Western Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee
Hawai’i Bowl (8 p.m. ET, ESPN): Cincinnati vs. San Diego State

Saturday, Dec. 26
St. Petersburg Bowl (11 a.m. ET, ESPN): Marshall vs. Connecticut
Hyndai Sun Bowl (2 p.m. ET, CBS): Miami vs. Washington State
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas B0wl (2:20 p.m. ET, ESPNU): Southern Miss vs. Washington
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Duke vs. Indiana
Camping World Independence Bowl (5:45 p.m. ET, ESPN): Virginia Tech vs. Tulsa
Foster Farms Bowl (9:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): UCLA vs. Nebraska

Monday, Dec. 28
Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 21 Navy vs. Pittsburgh
Quick Lane Bowl (5 p.m. ET, ESPN): Central Michigan vs. Minnesota

Tuesday, Dec. 29
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (2 p.m. ET, ESPN): Air Force vs. California
Russell Athletic Bowl (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 10 North Carolina vs. No. 17 Baylor
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl (7:30 p.m. ET, Campus Insiders): Colorado State vs. Nevada
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl (9 p.m. ET, ESPN): Texas Tech vs. No. 20 LSU

Wednesday, Dec. 30
Birmingham Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): Auburn vs. Memphis
Belk Bowl (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): N.C. State vs. Mississippi State
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): Louisville vs. Texas A&M
National University Holiday Bowl (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 25 USC vs. Wisconsin

Thursday, Dec. 31
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): No. 18 Houston vs. No. 9 Florida State
Capital One Orange Bowl (4 ET, ESPN): No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 1 Clemson
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (8 ET, ESPN): No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Alabama

Friday, Jan. 1
Outback Bowl (noon ET, ABC): Tennessee vs. No. 13 Northwestern
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2): No. 19 Florida vs. No. 14 Michigan
BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl (1 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 8 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Ohio State
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual (5 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 5 Iowa
Allstate Sugar Bowl (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 16 Oklahoma State vs. No. 12 Ole Miss

Saturday, Jan. 2
TaxSlayer Bowl (noon ET, ESPN): Penn State vs. Georgia
AutoZone Liberty Bowl (3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN): Arkansas vs. Kansas State
Valero Alamo Bowl (6:45 p.m. ET, ESPN): No. 15 Oregon vs. No. 11 TCU
Cactus Bowl (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Arizona State vs. West Virginia

Monday, Jan. 11
College Football Playoff Championship Game presented by AT&T (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN): Oklahoma/Clemson vs. Michigan State/Alabama