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A quick Q&A with San Diego State University

This could be an amazing game. Here are some early insights into the Aztec's.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Some questions for you.
1. After winning the conference last year, your record has to not be what the fans expected. Can you provide detail into the season (injuries, hard schedule. or etc.?)

2. From a Buffalo perspective, you have a strong QB, WR, and RB. Your offense seems to have a strong balance. What does the offense do well and were does the team struggle.

3. Buffalo has a great Defensive Line, All American Mack at Linebacker, but struggles in the secondary. Buffalo does well when the pressure on the QB creates happy feet. How is the Aztec's offensive line?

4. As stated earlier, I expect the Aztec fans to be 10 to 1 (or maybe more) in the stands as compared to Buffalo. Does the fans travel with the team? What do you expect the turnout to be?

5. Buffalo sounds very similar on the offensive side of the ball. UB has Bo Oliver who set Buffalo's all time yards and attempts (beat current Green Bay Packer James Starks records). Bo is a small runner pushing 5'8" but can punish you (work out freak), juke, or flat out run away. Bo looks to possibly be a late round draft pick or at the last will be invited to a camp. UB with a run of 5 straight years with a different QB, found a QB late last year in Joe Licata. Only a sophomore but plays very smart. Does not try to force plays and is the pure definition of a pocket passer. Wide receiver Alex Neutz is a stud. Set UB's TD record and was a one man wrecking machine against Baylor (well the only one who had any success against Baylor. Another player looking at late round draft. UB also has up and coming tight ends. Tell me about SDSU's defense.

6. Special teams. Buffalo does not have a player who will threaten running back kicks. Buffalo does have a kicker with a cannon leg and could hit from 55+ if asked.

7. What else should we know about the team? What players should we key on that has a chance to play on Sunday's?

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1. Starting QB started off REALLY cold and was benched in the Ohio St. game for a walk-on QB who played well, but not great, for the rest of the season. Early season injuries to our RB (Muema) slowed him down, best LB in the conference out for the season early and our NT is out, but we stayed pretty healthy besides that. EIU is one of the top FCS schools and we took them lightly. We deserved to lose that game for sure. We should have beaten Oregon St. at home, but threw a late pic 6 and they stole the W. We did well the rest of the year, taking #16 Fresno to the last play of the game, but missing the winning FG. We took UNLV lightly and got smacked out last game of the year. We had 4 overtime games this year (most in FBS history) and mostly close games. Wild season for sure.

2. Our QB is very inexperienced, accurate, but has a noodle arm. We have a legit burner in WR Lockett, and an emerging star in WR Ruffin. Our horse at RB is Muema who is a bruiser, similar to Oliver. We have an NFL fullback in Chad Young. Young has blocked for I think 5 1,000 yard guys now, IIRC, and he will lay some wood. We have a true frosh RB in Pumphrey who will be the fastest player on the field for sure. Our play calling is limited because our QB has such a weak arm, and we don't have a pass catching TE to speak of. With weather being an issue, expect a heavy dose of Muema, Young and Pumphrey.

3. Our O-line is incredibly inconsistent, and struggled a lot last week. They are better run blockers than they are pass protectors, and our QB won't scramble ever. Expect a lot of sacks and screen plays because of this.

4. We average 33K at home games, but we don't travel well at all, that's why we barely got accepted to a bowl game despite being 7-5 and 3rd in MWC. It is hard to get people to leave SD to go to Idaho, especially with a lackluster season (especially with the way it ended). I'm not a numbers guy, but for sure <5K Aztec fans. Boise is in our conference and somewhat of a rival since we beat them 2 years in a row, so the fans may be rooting for us or against us. We do have a victory (1-0) on the smurf turf, so we have some experience there.

5. We run a 3-3-5. Our D-line is experienced but small. Our LB corps are studs despite losing the best LB in the MWC to injury. We are deep at LB and rotate a lot of guys. Our "Safeties" are the stars of our defense with a couple possible late round NFL guys. Nat Berhe is a stat machine and always around the ball and Erik Pinkins likes to try and kill people when he hits them. Our CBs were very green to start the year, but REALLY stepped up and are pretty good now. Whitaker had 2 INTs and a TD against Boise, and makes a lot of big plays. Our redzone D is the worst in the country. No really, it is. Fun fact: Junior Seau's nephew is #55 and plays LB. We play a few true frosh on D who have made a lot of mistakes this season, but get better and better every game. RS freshman DB Demontae Kazee always seems to make a big play when we need it.

6. We have the worst kicking game in the country. No really, we do. We do not kick field goals anymore and we have missed a few extra points. Our HC also has balls of steel and will go for it on 4th down anywhere past our own 40. Our kicking game cost us the game vs. Fresno St. SDSU is notorious for having a terrible kicking game. Our punter is pretty good though. We have a homerun KR in Lockett who had a couple last year, and PR Tim Vizzi has a PR for TD in 2 straight games, he is good.

7. We are SDSU, not SD ST or San Diego. We will play an exciting game, making huge plays and shooting ourselves in the foot too. We run at least 2-3 trick plays a game, and we do pretty well with them. Our best players are: RB Muema, DB Berhe, LB Tenhaff, WR Ruffin and RB Pumphrey. If this game is anything like our season, it will go to OT. Our highlight of the year is beating Boise again and our lowlight is losing our season opener (also a firework show in which 40K+ people attend) to an FCS school. IF we win, we will be only the 5th team in FBS history to start a season 0-3 and finish with 8 wins.

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