Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, September 26, 1999

SAN DIEGO STATE DOMINATES KU

September 26, 1999

Advertisement

San Diego State erased 18 years of bad memories on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

"That's a long time coming on the road for us," Aztecs' coach Ted Tollner said after his Mountain West Conference team's 41-13 rout of Kansas.

The Aztecs snapped a 26-game road nonconference losing streak, last beating UNLV in 1981.

"It's behind us now. We were able to end their nonconference home thing and maybe start one on the road for us," Tollner added after the Aztecs snapped KU's 11-game nonconference home win streak dating to 1993.

The Aztecs did not resemble road kill on Saturday, outgaining KU 413 yards to 23 in storming to a 31-0 halftime lead.

"At halftime when it was 31-0, it was not really a fluke," Tollner said. "It's as complete a half as we've had.

"I'd be lying to say I thought we'd be ahead 31-0 at halftime," Tollner noted. "I really thought this would be a competitive game until the fourth quarter, just like I thought our Illinois game would be and we got whomped."

Illinois thumped San Diego State, 38-10, on Sept. 11 in Champaign, Ill. Last week, the Aztecs fell, 24-21, at USC.

"I don't know if I expected to thump Kansas like that, but we had a lot of momentum after that USC game," junior quarterback Jack Hawley said after completing 19 of 24 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns.

"We felt we should have won that game. If the offense would have played a little better we might have beaten them. Kansas is just the team we were playing. I don't think this had anything to do with them."

Still, the Aztecs moved the ball at will, finishing with 572 yards to KU's 181.

"Our whole line dominated Kansas' d-line pretty much all night," Hawley said. "We have great receivers, great speed and depth at receiver.

"Personally I was a lot more comfortable coming into this game," added Hawley who threw four interceptions against USC. "I'm from the Los Angeles area. The game was on TV with Keith Jackson announcing it. It was the biggest game of my life."

San Diego State's receivers also felt comfortable, considering KU's defensive backs played deep trying to prevent the home-run ball.

"They didn't do anything particularly bad," senior wide receiver Damon Gourdine said after catching eight passes for 79 yards, including a five-yard TD. "It's like a sacrifice. If you are worried about getting beat deep and want to play soft, you've got to pay the price.

"We ran a lot of good underneath routes and were able to get good separation. We also were able to get over the top, too."

Hawley hit Sean Pierce and Derrick Lewis on 22- and 62-yard scoring strikes. Also, he connected with Lewis for 49 yards on a "Hail Mary" pass right before the end of the first half, setting up a 22-yard field goal.

"We showed last week we can play the Pac-10. Those are the mighty Trojans, quote unquote," Gourdine said. "We were getting tired of hearing about losing on the road. We didn't want to hear about it any more."

San Diego State's defenders stopped the Jayhawks cold. Dylen Smith threw for 157 yards and starter Zac Wegner 24.

"I thought he'd play more just because of what I'd seen," Tollner said of Smith, who relieved Wegner. "I saw the Notre Dame game on TV and I thought this guy had some tools. I saw him get more snaps and play more. I thought that's the way the trend was going.

"For us we felt pretty good in spite of last week's loss because we played physical. We told our guys, 'If you play with that kind of effort, wins will come.'''

AZTEC NOTES

  • Starting offensive lineman Brad Elmore of Paola had a strong game protecting QB Hawley. "It was a nice feeling coming and playing in front of friends and family," said Elmore. He said he was asked to walk on KU's team by former coach Glen Mason after his senior season at Paola High. "Kansas had a good pass rush, we just came out and played hard. We had good preparation from the week before."
  • Little Anthony of "The Imperials" attended the game. He's receiver Gourdine's father. "He's a great fan, along with my mother," Gourdine said. "I get asked about him in every interview. I love his music and I'm a fan as well."

Gourdine has musical talent, too. "My dream is to play professional football, but I won't rule that out fully," he said of singing.

-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is gbedore@ljworld.com

Commenting has been disabled for this item.