By Don Phillips
NEVADA (6-5; 4-3 MW-WEST) at SAN DIEGO STATE (8-3; 7-0 MW-WEST)
SATURDAY, NOV. 28, 2015
QUALCOMM STADIUM (54,000)
SAN DIEGO, CALIF.
TIME: 7:45 P.M. PT
FORECAST: 56 DEGREES, CLEAR SKIES
During San Diego State’s seven-game winning streak, the Aztecs have done more than just win: they’ve dominated. SDSU has won seven consecutive games all by at least a 14-point margin. It marks the first time since 1970 that an Aztec team has done that. In addition, SDSU has yet to trail in the second half during the winning streak.
Junior RB Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries at UNLV. He has now rushed for at least 100 yards in seven consecutive games (tied for second-longest active FBS streak), eight times this season and 21 times in his career (second in SDSU history). He is second on the school’s all-time rushing list with 3,929 yards (Marshall Faulk – 4,589).
For the first time in the school’s Division I history (since 1969), SDSU has gone nine consecutive games without throwing an interception (prior to this stretch the Aztecs had never gone five straight games without a pick). Senior QB Maxwell Smith has now gone 161 attempts without throwing an interception (second-longest active streak nationally) and has 12 touchdown passes over that span.
San Diego State is first nationally in turnover margin (+1.55) and turnovers forced (28). One reason is the Aztec pass defense. Junior DB Damontae Kazee is fourth nationally with six interceptions, while Malik Smith has an interception in three of his last four games and Calvin Munson has returned two interceptions for TDs this season.
For the season, SDSU is fifth in FBS play in rushing yards allowed per game (100.5) and fourth in yards per rush (3.0).
During the last eight games, opponents have rushed 252 times for 621 yards and 2.46 yards per carry. Since Sept. 26, 2015, San Diego State ranks first nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (77.6) and second nationally in yards per carry (2.5).
Six of San Diego State’s last eight opponents have failed to rush for more than 80 yards. Prior to the Utah State game, the Aztecs had held four consecutive opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (72 at Penn State, 12 vs. Fresno State, 53 at Hawai’i and 35 yards at San José State).
Since Rocky Long began his tenure as the team’s defensive coordinator (prior to the 2009 campaign), San Diego State is 12-4 when holding the opposition to less than 75 yards rushing and 14-4 when the opposition averages less than 2.50 yards per carry.
A key to the Wolf Pack’s success under head coach Brian Polian’s downhill rushing mantra has been establishing the ground game. Nevada is 14-3 (.823) when outrushing its opponent compared to 3-16 (.158) when being outrushed in the Polian era. This season, Nevada is 5-1 when leading in rushing compared to 1-4 when trailing.
Nevada is also 14-4 (.777) when rushing for at least 200 yards and is 3-15 (.167) when being held under 200 rushing yards under Polian. Nevada is 6-1 this season when eclipsing 200 yards rushing. The Wolf Pack is currently averaging 221.1 rushing yards per game, which ranks fourth in the Mountain West and 22nd nationally.
SAN DIEGO ST is 3-1 against the spread versus NEVADA since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[OL] 11/22/2015 – Joey Anglemire “?” Saturday vs. San Diego State ( Knee )
[DB] 11/22/2015 – Jarid Joseph “?” Saturday vs. San Diego State ( Concussion )
[LB] 11/22/2015 – Travis Wilson “?” Saturday vs. San Diego State ( Shoulder )
[OG] 10/14/2015 – Adam Khouri out for season ( Concussion )
[TE] 09/29/2015 – Matt Moen out for season ( Undisclosed )
[WR] 09/08/2015 – Brayden Sanchez out for season ( Knee )
SAN DIEGO ST
[LB] 10/22/2015 – Fred Melifonwu quit the team ( Personal )
[FB] 10/15/2015 – Parker Wells left the team ( Personal )
[DL] 10/13/2015 – Dakota Turner out for season ( Knee )
[OL] 10/13/2015 – William Tuihalamaka has left the team ( Personal )
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