The SDSU Aztecs head east to play the #21 North Carolina Tar Heels. It is a great opportunity for SDSU to get a win against a ranked opponent and start the road games strong. They will have to come out fast and smart to beat this Tar Heel team.
On offense for the Aztecs the tempo starts with the running game. Donnel Pumphrey had the start last week where he had 111 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. Chase Price game in to ground and pound with 45 yards and 1 touchdown on 11 carries. The North Carolina defense is quick so these backs will have to be faster. Smart blocks mean these backs will not be touched and that allows them to explode to the end zone.
Quinn Kaehler will have to embrace the role of game manager if he wants to win. The North Carolina secondary is healthy this week and are some of the fastest corners in the country. Ezell Rufiin will still the be the number 1 receiver but watch for a second option to emerge in this game. Kaehler will need it if he wants the passing game to be efficient and mistake free.
North Carolina’s offense is led by junior quarterback Marquise Williams. UNC runs a spread offense with lots of read option plays and tricks. Williams is a running quarterback but the running backs and receivers are capable of running as well. The defense will be tested against this speedy offense especially when the Aztecs defense is stacked with linebackers.
To win this game, the defense will need to force turnovers. UNC had four fumbles in their previous game but only lost 1. They also had 3 interceptions. SDSU needs to capitalize on those opportunities and not drop picks or miss fumbles. When a running quarterback is in the game, it will be important to get in his head and hit him hard to see the turnovers appear.
I think the Aztecs get out of here with a win of 31-17. They will force the UNC offense to throw which yields a few interceptions that are converted into touchdowns by the offense. Pumphrey shows off his wheels against the fast UNC defense and Kaehler plays efficient. SDSU will play UNC on September 6 at 5 p.m. Pacific time