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Aztecs Lose 3rd Straight & 4 of Last 5 To Close the Year

The Aztecs are not guaranteed a bowl game.

November 25, 2018 - 8:28 am

It was senior night at SDCCU Stadium, and the story set up for perfectly for the Seniors to save the day. Senior kicker John Barron II, arguably the best player on the team, had a 32-yard chip shot with :03 seconds left to win the game. I think everyone thought the same thing. “This one is over.” Why did I think that? Because of this ⤵️

Unfortunately the Senior kicker couldn't save the day, as his kick hooked just outside the uprights, and the game headed to overtime. In the end, the Aztecs would fall to Hawai'i 31-30. Not a way to close a once promising year.

The loss was their fifth on the year, and their fourth loss in the last five games. The 2018 Aztecs regular season record will go in the books at 7-5.

Hey Aztecs fans, remember when the team was 6-1 and sitting atop the Mountain West? Yes, me too. But that was a long time ago.

This team seemed to morph through the year, and it wasn't for the better. All season Coach Rocky Long told us his team was young and inexperienced, and a lot of us didn't want to believe it. As the year went on though, the team proved to be like Benjamin Button and regressed throughout the year instead of progressed.

Cole McDonald and Hawai'i came in to this game with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after being manhandled by the Aztecs in the recent past. But one thing this game proved is that McDonald and the Warriors are a team on the rise.

McDonald threw for an astounding 452 yards, and three touchdowns. I don't think the number of passing yards reflects how poorly the Aztecs defense played, I just think the Aztecs’ coaching staff knew they were going to throw. They allowed them to have a little leeway until they were in the red zone. But that philosophy on defense also comes with a price. If you keeping allowing someone on your doorstep, they will find a way in. 

Hawai'i scored first in OT. Thanks to a blown replay call by the officials. The replay official apparently didn't see a pass clearly hit the ground, and allowed Hawai’i another chance to score.

The Aztecs’ offense immediately took care of business as Juwan Washington scampered for a 25 yard touchdown on the first play. And that's when we saw “Riverboat Rocky”. Coach Long decided to go for two rather than kick the point after and head to the 2nd OT.

Now, I have no problems with Rocky going for two. I actually applaud him for going for two. I don't think anyone wanted to sit there for another 2 hours and watch teams go back and forth.

Unfortunately for Coach Long, the offensive play-calling did not match his smashmouth style. Instead of running the ball right up the middle, the Aztecs offense went with two really poorly designed pass calls. I say two because the Aztecs were bailed out by offsetting penalties on the first two point attempt. I thought the luck of offsetting penalties would open OC Jeff Horton's eyes. But it didn't, and a poorly executed fade to the back corner was what they thought was their best call.

For a season that started with so much promise, it ended with a lot more questions. A whole can of worms opens up for the Aztecs heading into the off season.

Finishing at 7-5 is a pretty crazy record to finish with if you ask me. Especially heading into the Nevada game 6-1.

You might be thinking, “What about a bowl game?”. You're right. They could have a bowl game. But they are not guaranteed one. This game was a chance to bolster their resume. Especially in a time where rumor are swirling about aa Mountai West team being snubbed out of a bowl game. The log jam of other mediocre teams in the country are causing that problem.

In the meantime Aztec fans we will have to wait and see where they end up. Personally, I think they will be selected for a bowl game. But the whole four losses in five games thing could be a major deterrent to the selection committee.

A bad finish to a decent season, and a lot of questions will have to be answered before 2019.