Ricky’s Mountain West Conference NCAAF pick for 2017 is the San Diego State Aztecs.
Ok, here comes the running game. Now try and stop it.
The Aztecs lose superstar RB Donnel Pumphrey (2,133, 17 TD) but still have the luxury of a 1000-yard back from last season in Rashaad Penny as well as Juwan Washington who’s ready to rip apart opposing run defenses. The big concern with the offense is how the retooled OL will perform as they only return one starter from last season’s group. Fortunately the Mountain West is not known for its stellar run defense so there is hope.
QB Christian Chapman is an underrated and efficient QB who is a fine fit for what the Aztecs want to do on offense. He will be pleased to know that leading WR Mikah Holder (21.5 per catch) is back this season as is their fine TE David Wells.
The Aztecs run defense has been outstanding the past two seasons (#6 FBS last season, #7 in 2015) but will be challenged to maintain a similar ranking this year with only six starters returning to the stop unit. They will also be without last year’s leading tackler Calvin Munson who led the team with 116 tackles while registering 11 TFL.
There are some concerns about the pass defense suffering after star CB Demontae Kazee graduated to the NFL as well as the lost production in the sacks and TFL department. Rocky Long will have these guys playing good defense. Hard to project them as being great.
Kaboom. This should be one of the best units in the FBS. PK John Baron made 21/23 FGs last year and garnered 1st Team MW honors. The Aztecs have a new punter but it is an experienced and skilled leg in Steven Coutts. San Diego St returned 3 KO for TDs last year and both lethal weapons are back in 2017, however, Rashaad Penny may give up these duties as he is now the #1 RB.