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Aztecs Start Fast But Were Overmatched, Fall to #13 Stanford 31-10

Juwan Washington showed he has what it takes to fill the spot left vacant by Rashaad Penny.

September 01, 2018 - 8:38 am

If you were to tell Aztecs fans before the game Friday night that Rocky Long's defense would be able to hold Stanford running back and Heisman Hopeful Bryce Love to under 30 yards rushing, they would have also thought the Aztecs would be victorious in their season opener.

Well, the Aztecs defense did bottle up Love, holding him to only 29 yards on 18 carries, but it was another player on the Cardinal that took over the lead role. Coach David Shaw and Stanford knew the plan for the Aztecs would be to stop Bryce Love, so they decided to air it out....with A LOT of success. 

Stanford's senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside had the game of his career catching 6 passes for 226 yards and 3 touchdown's, with an 80 yard TD pass late in the 3rd quarter being the one that hurt the most. That touchdown made the score 22-10 and the Aztecs were never able to score again. In the end the unranked Aztecs would fall to the Cardinal 31-10.

Not only was JJ Arcega-Whiteside hurting the Aztecs, the Aztecs were hurting the Aztecs. Traditionally Rocky Long's teams are very disciplined, making very few mistakes and taking care of the ball...especially for Senior quarterback Christian Chapman. Chapman came into his final year as one of the most efficient quarterback's in the country that doesn't turn the ball over very often. The Stanford defense made sure they did everything they could to make Chapman uncomfortable, and it was in the 2nd quarter when the momentum shifted back to the Cardinal, after Chapman was pressured and threw the ball out-of-bounds from his own end zone, which resulted in a safety. 

But everything wasn't terrible in Palo Alto. The Aztecs started the game very strong, making big stops on defense and moving the ball at will on . The strong Aztec contingent in the audience were loud in the 1st quarter when the Aztecs completely had all the momentum on their side. 

Coming into the season the biggest question was how much the Aztecs offense would miss Rashaad Penny, who left for the NFL after his senior season. If there were any good news out of this game, it would be that now starter Juwan Washington looks to be picking up right where Penny left off. Washington had a career high in rushing with 158 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Juwan Washington said he was ready to be the starter and he wasn't kidding. He wasted no time showing Aztecs fans he is more than ready to take over the lead role at "Running Back U" after taking the Cardinal to town on the second offensive posession of the game.

The only touchdown and scoring drive for the Aztecs was impressive, going 8 plays and 92 yards. But really it was all Juwan Washington. On that drive Washington had big runs of 22, 10, and 40 yards and ended with a 4 yard touchdown run.

The Aztecs are now 0-1 and look to rebound in their home opener against Sacramento State this Saturday.