On the bright side for San Diego State on Wednesday, the program signed a group of 13 players during college football’s early signing period. Sadly though, that might have been the only positive bit of news for the Aztecs as they got thumped 27-0 later that night by Ohio in the DXL Frisco Bowl.
The Bobcats, who inked 17 players as part of the class of 2019, used a familiar formula of being balanced on offense and playing sound defense in beating the Mountain West stalwarts. Quarterback Nathan Rourke capped off a strong finish to the 2018 season in throwing for 206 yards (one INT) and a long touchdown off a flea-flicker while also adding another 31 yards and two scores on the ground. While his passing percentage wasn’t quite what he wanted it to be in the game, the triggerman was still excellent when called upon and helped the team pick up numerous third and fourth down conversions.
As good as Rourke was though, his teammate in the backfield might have been an even bigger key to Ohio’s success. A.J. Ouellette made easy work of the No. 4 rush defense in FBS, slogging his way through on a rainy evening in North Texas to the tune of 164 yards all told. He looked to be a step quicker than his opponent on just about every carry too and about the only negative on the night came in the form of a late fumble well after the game was decided.
While everything seemed to go the Bobcats’ way, San Diego State failed to get much of anything going on either side of the ball. On top of getting sliced up on the ground defensively, the Aztecs failed to mount much of an effort at all in terms of finding the end zone. The team had three long drives but wound up punting, fumbling and turning the ball over to come up empty on each one.
QB Christian Chapman did start the game but the veteran signal-caller closed out his career just 1-of-2 for eight yards before being replaced in the second quarter by backup Ryan Agnew (126 yards passing, one pick). If there was any bright spot it was in the form of Juwan Washington’s 129 yards rushing on 19 carries but otherwise there was not much to write home about for SDSU as they appeared to liberally rotate in young players for game experience in the second half.
The shutout loss for Rocky Long’s side (and rather boring game overall) hampered the two schools’ first ever meeting and took some of the shine off a meeting between two of the three oldest head coaches in FBS between him and Frank Solich. The pair have combined for an even 300 wins in college football but it was the latter who wound up with the last laugh at the Frisco Bowl.