Central Mich.’s New Mexico Bowl Clash With SDSU Looks Like A Close Game

December 20, 2019


Ypsilanti, MI —

The highlight of tomorrow’s college football viewing could easily be the New Mexico Bowl (2PM, ESPN), a game featuring the rejuvenated Central Michigan Chippewa’s against the Aztecs of San Diego State.

The Chips, who were a less than stellar 1-11 in 2018, find themselves kicking off the opening weekend of the official college football bowl season of 2019, a pretty good one year turnaround for their new coach and their new attitude. Coach Jim McElwain and his staff, took a solid defensive foundation and juiced up a languid offense, flipping 1-11 into 8 – 5 and first place in the MAC’s-West Division.

CMU’s offense doubled it’s offensive production going from 15 PPG in 2018 to almost 32 PPG in 2019. They were led by two near thousand yard rushers (Jonathan Ward – 1082 and Kobe Lewis – 977). The senior Jonathan Ward is a bullet point for the opposition’s defensive coaches, he has good speed, agility and definite power at 6’2, 200 pounds. He also has that determination that you want to see in your featured running back. Kobe Lewis, is a sophomore that does not have the same size, but has the speed and moves that give the backfield that thunder & lightening combination.

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Under center, senior QB Quinten Dormady (2,148 – 14TDs, 6 INTs) is part of a two-headed monster at the quarterback position along with junior David Moore (1,143 – 5TDs, 4 INTs).

The CMU defense is led by sophomore LB Troy Brown (85 Tackles, 16 TFL, 1 Sack), a linebacker from Flint (Carson-Ainsworth), senior DL Sean Adesanya (15.5 TFL, 7 Sacks) and redshirt freshman DL LaQuan Johnson, also from Flint (Burton-Bendle) (13 TFL, 6 Sacks).

In the San Diego Aztecs, the CMU offense will find a stern test. SDSU only gives up an average of 13 PPG, with the strength of their defense being against the run (72 YPG average). CMU averages 187 YPG on the ground and with a near thousand yard rusher in the backfield. On almost every offensive down, the Aztecs will have to think ‘defend the run’ first, then look for the more exotic stuff.

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The SDSU offense is less explosive than CMU’s averaging 19 PPG, and 329 yards of Total Offense in a fairly balanced attack (134 YPG Rushing/196 YPG Passing). With these numbers the goal for Coach McElwain’s staff should be a fast start, with points of any kind early and often. CMU’s defense should be able to handle the Aztec’s offense if they get ahead and force SDSU into a one-dimensional (throwing the ball) style of play.

The Aztec’s offense is led by senior QB Ryan Agnew (2,175 – 11 TDs – 5 INTs) who has played in 11 of the 12 SDSU games. His back-up, Carson Baker, a redshirt freshman was 19 of 24 for 172 yards and 1 TD in the only game that he appeared in this season, a game that Agnew did not play in.

SDSU has 4 RBs who along with the scrambles of QB Agnew, have at least 120 yards rushing each. But, only sophomores Chance Bell and Jordan Byrd have at least one 100+ yard game on their resume for this season. The Aztec’s top performing back, Juwan Washington, had a total of 500 yards for the season.

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Overall, this game is a good match up of styles, CMU’s averages 446 YPG of offense, while SDSU’s defense only gives up an average of 289 YPG.

SDSU’s offense averages 329 YPG, while CMU’s defense is around 352 YPG allowed.

As stated before, if CMU can score early (TDs or FGs) and often, the advantage will really shift to their side of the field. But, if they allow themselves to be slowed down by the SDSU defense, it could become a game that they will have to really work hard at, in order to end this successful season with a bowl victory.

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Tony Dixon is a Co-host for The College Football Wrap-Up(c), MISPORT-TV’s original content vehicle that reviews the past week’s college football games played by Michigan based colleges and universities across all divisions and conferences. The show also utilizes the TPR(c) (Team Performance Rating) to measure a team’s performance in the past game and also to quantify it’s performance over the seasons games. The teams are then ranked according to their TPR number, the higher the number, the stronger the performance.