Sitting on a 21-7 lead, the Aztecs forced the Rebels to punt and took over the ball at their own 15 with only 43 seconds left in the first half. So, what do you do? Run a couple of ground plays and head for the dressing room? Not our Aztecs. Quinn Kaehler completed a 24-yard pass to Larry Clark and a 15-yard pass to Mikah Holder to put them in Rebel territory. Then Lloyd Mills made a spectacular catch for a 45-yard gain to the one-yard line. After an incomplete and unscripted pass by Donnel Pumphrey, he ran the ball in for his fourth TD of the game, making it 28-7.
Remembering that we were without our two top receivers – Ezell Ruffin with a broken collar bone, and Eric Judge with a knee injury – it makes that drive even more impressive.
There were lots of other positives. No turnovers by the Aztecs. Two interceptions by the Aztecs. Scored in 5 of 5 Red Zone chances. Pumphrey ran for 167 yards. Improved tackling. But pass defense still leaves us concerned.
A quick look ahead – With his injured shoulder keeping Quinn Kaehler out of action this week, Nick Bawden, a true Freshman, will start at QB. From what I’ve seen of him, don’t be surprised if he really takes charge in Friday’s key game with Fresno State!
Lloyd Mills makes a 45-yard reception to set-up the Aztecs’ fourth TD of the first half;
Donnel Pumphrey scored 4 rushing TDs (photos by Ken Ables)