Bowl Season

San Diego States slows down Navy, wins 35-14.
3 Stars
1. San Diego State RB Ronnie Hillman- The freshman sensation rushed for 228 yards on 28 carries and had 3 touchdowns.
2. San Diego State QB Ryan Lindley- The accurate QB completed 18 of 23 passes and passed for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns.
3. San Diego State WR Vincent Brown- He had 8 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 20.6 yards per catch.

Looks like Brady Hoke has the Aztecs headed in the right direction as they finish 9-4.


Mountain West vs. Navy San Diego
Qualcomm Stadium
Dec. 23
8 p.m.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Preview
Brady Hoke has done a tremendous job getting the Aztecs to 8 wins in just 2 years at the helm. The Aztecs pass for just under 300 yards a game, thanks in large part to a great offensive line and 2 very talented receivers. Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson have both eclipsed the 1000 yard receiving mark.  Brown  has 9 touchdowns and Sampson has 8.  The offensive line has started the same 5 players for each game in the same position. Oh yeah, the quarterback. Junior Ryan Lindley has passed 3554 yards and 26 touchdowns. The team is very effective in play action also, because they have a significant threat in RB Ronnie Hillman. The freshman sensation has 1304 yards and 13 touchdowns. I expect a lot of points against the Navy defense.
The Navy philosophy is simple. Run, run, run. They execute the triple option offense very well as they 5th in the country in rushing. The most valuable player on the team is QB Ricky Dobbs. The dual threat senior leads the team in passing with 1380 yards, and rushing with 860. He has found the endzone a total of 25 times between rushing and passing. The offensive line really seems to be clicking now and Navy has scored over 30 points each of their last 6 games. FB Alexander Teich is second on the team in rushing with 825 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tailback Gee Gee Green also has 5 touchdowns. I see this game having a lot of points.
The defense has struggled a bit later in the season, but it still only gives up 22 points a game. They are a small unit, but they are well-schemed by defensive coordinator Buddy Green.  Defensive end Jabaree Tuani is relentless and will look to give Ryan Lindley some troubles. Tyler Simmon, inside linebacker anchors the group and safety Wyatt Middleton has had a very good season and will be key in the stopping of the Aztec offense.
In defensive coordinator Rocky Long's system, the Aztecs will play an unorthodox 3-3-5 defense. Safety hybrid Andrew Preston is absolutely key to the success of this defense. Also important is the press man coverage applied by cornerbacks Leon McFadden and Jose Perez. Their coverage will free up the other 9 players to make plays against the potent Navy rushing attack.
The pick: I like San Diego State to win this game. I think it will be a high scoring game. The great receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson along with QB Ryan Lindley make the difference in the home game for the Aztecs.
This pick has been made by and therefore will be correct.
 But if you disagree or agree with me send and email to saying who you think will win and why and I'll post it....
Brent Schrotenboer, of the San Diego Union Tribune was nice enough to answer some questions about the Aztecs.

BS: Head coach Brady Hoke agreed to a contract extension after guiding the Aztecs to an 8-4 record. How much has San Diego State improved in two years under Hoke?

Brent Schrotenboer: In recent years, San Diego State often got beat by the likes of New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force. This year, they beat all those teams, and that accounts for their improvement from 2-10 in 2008 to 8-4 this year. That’s a big step. But Hoke will be the first to tell you that his program has a long way to go. That means doing more than beating the likes of Nicholls State and New Mexico. SDSU has beat just one team that finished with a winning record in the past two years (Air Force this year).

BS: How good has the duo of QB Ryan Lindley and freshman RB Ronnie Hillman been? Also, please comment on the offense in general including some personnel.

Brent Schrotenboer: This is the first time in many years that SDSU has enjoyed a stable offensive line and a bevy of talented skill-position players, including two all-conference wide receivers (Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson). SDSU’s offensive line has started the same five players at the same five positions for every game for the first time since 2001. Meanwhile, Hillman is the Mountain West Conference’s all-time leading freshman rusher. When you combine decent blocking with the threat of Hillman and the aerial threat of Lindley, Brown and Sampson, you get unpredictability and a great play-action component on offense. SDSU has shown that this year with several big plays by Lindley and Hillman.

BS: The defense improved greatly this year. What has been the reason for this and who are the unit's top players?

Brent Schrotenboer: The defense has improved by virtue of having another year in coordinator Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 system. It can be complicated. Long has said it takes a good three years to implement. This is Year Two. Safety hybrid Andrew Preston is key component in it. So are the two cornerbacks, Leon McFadden and Jose Perez, who excelled enough at man-to-man pass coverage to allow the rest of the defense to make big plays in opposing backfields.

BS: If you had to choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Brent Schrotenboer: The offense may have to keep up with Navy’s triple-option offense, so Lindley will have to be on target and steady in his direction of SDSU’s offense. He’s capable of a big game and SDSU may need it if Navy’s offense pitches its way around the edges all night.

Thanks a lot to Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune. Check him out at
Bill Wagner, of the Capital Gazette was nice enough to answer some questions about the Navy Midshipmen.

BS:The Midshipmen lost the Commander in Chief's Trophy for the first time in seven years. How much of a disappointment was this for Navy and how close was this team to being undefeated?

Bill Wagner: Losing the CIC was a huge disappointment since that is the No. 1 goal of the program every year. However, co-captains Wyatt Middleton and Ricky Dobbs would not allow that loss to taint the season. They held a team meeting the Sunday after the loss and told the other players there are still goals to accomplish and that this can still be a great season.
Truthfully, the two losses that were more difficult for fans to stomach were Maryland and Duke. Navy totally dominated Maryland, but was 0-for-5 in the red zone and lost 17-14 in a game it probably could have won 35-17. The Duke loss came one week after Navy had totally dismantled Notre Dame.

BS:The offense was great, ranking 5th in the nation in rushing. What are the keys to the attack and how has QB Ricky Dobbs lived up to the preseason hype?

Bill Wagner: Dobbs played very poorly against Maryland and that was the end of the Heisman talk. Frankly, Dobbs did not play to the level he did last year until after the Air Force loss. Ricky has been very good the last two-thirds of the season and that is why Navy has won seven of eight.
Navy's offense is just very effective, has been for years. Dobbs provides a passing threat to an already potent running game. Obviously, no team in the country runs the triple-option offense as flawlessly as Navy. While most fans focus on the ballcarriers, the real key is the offensive line because the blocking schemes are intricate. Early in the season the line was having a tough time coming together and the results showed. Once the OL clicked and started really executing the blocks, the offense went to another level.

BS: The defense was pretty good. Who are the key players on that side of the ball personnel-wise?

Bill Wagner: When media and fans talk about Navy football the focus is always on the triple-option offense. However, defensive coordinator Buddy Green has quietly done a terrific job. Navy plays a bend-but-don't-break style of defense that is predicated on not giving up big plays, keeping the ball in front and rallying to the ball. Green does a great job of coaching this philosophy and it's been successful in forcing opponents to drive the field in short increments. Navy is so much smaller than every opponent that narrowing the speed gap is crucial. Green does a good job of sacrificing size for speed so that Navy at least defends the whole field fairly well. Navy's best defenders are end Jabaree Tuani, inside linebacker Tyler Simmons and safety Wyatt Middleton.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

Bill Wagner: Fullback Alexander Teich has enjoyed a breakout season and could explode like he did against Notre Dame. Navy always tries to establish the fullback first and if San Diego State doesn't defend that element well Teich could have a big game. Two other possible offensive stars are slotback Gee Gee Greene and wide receiver Greg Jones, both of whom have enjoyed superb seasons in supporting roles.

Thanks a lot to Bill Wagner. Check him out at

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