Saturday, October 21, 2017

Tom Ables Final Blog

On Saturday, Tom attended the Boise State game. It was his 788th Aztec football game. He had been released from the hospital that afternoon, but would not be denied seeing his Aztecs. On Sunday we discussed blog content from the game the night before, as well as the upcoming Homecoming game with Fresno State. The next day he went to the hospital and passed away peacefully that morning. The Fresno game will be the first home Aztec game without Tom Ables in the stands since November 3, 1945. Here’s what he wanted to say...

All is not lost! The good news is that we are no longer in the BCS era where an undefeated season was required to get a New Year’s bowl invite. But there’s no margin for error either. One of the New Year’s bowls has to take the highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion, which will most likely be from either the Mountain West or the American Athletic Conference. They have to take one of us.

I still like our chances. But we have to take care of business starting tonight against Fresno. South Florida and Central Florida are both undefeated right now. They play each other in the regular season finale, so at least one will have a loss and no chance at the ACC championship. Chances are they will each lose a game before season’s end. A 12-1 Aztec team with wins over Stanford and Arizona State should be ranked higher than a 12-1 USF or UCF. If Memphis wins out, they would also be in contention, as would Navy.

It was great to see Rashaad Penny rush for 1,000 for the second year in a row. I look for a good game from Rashaad against the Bulldogs. On to Fresno State…

Saturday’s game will be the 57th game in the series – the most versus any opponent – dating back to 1923 (Aztecs won 12-2). The Aztecs have won 29, the Bulldogs 23, and there have been 4 ties. I have been to 48 of those games; the first a 7-0 win at Aztec Bowl in 1946.

Rashaad Penny 1,000 yards, 2017 (Ernie Anderson); Miles Burris sacks Fresno QB David Carr, 2011 (Ken Ables)
 There have been some great games in the series, including the two “Fog Games” played in Aztec Bowl in the early ‘60s, the Aztecs beating the Bulldogs in Jim Sweeney’s and Pat Hill’s last games as Fresno coach. I have seen 26 of the 29 victories.

The Aztecs and Bulldogs played nearly every year through the ‘70s. After the Aztecs joined the WAC in the late ‘70s, the game became harder to schedule. The two teams did not meet at all in the ‘80s. The Bulldogs joined the WAC in 1992 and they played every year. In 1999 the Aztecs left for the MW and the teams played only two non-conference games until the Bulldogs joined the MW in 2012. The 2011 game was the debut of the Old Oil Can trophy. The Bulldogs were still in the WAC and the MW did not have a playoff game yet. After spotting Fresno a 21-0 lead, the Aztecs outscored the Bulldogs 35-7 for a 35-28 win.

Keep the Oil Can in San Diego!


(Ernie Anderson)

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