Before the season began, San Diego State football Coach Denny Stolz joked that the first question after the first game would concern the play of his new quarterback.
But that question was never asked in the pointed terms that Stolz expected.
Not until the Aztecs suffered a 13-7 loss Saturday against previously winless Colorado State did the play of Stolz’s starting quarterback, Brad Platt, seriously come into doubt. And when it did, it was Stolz who asked and answered the question himself.
With the Aztecs on their way to being shut out in the first half for the first time since their opener at UCLA, he gave Scott Barrick the word.
“He told me to start warming up,” said Barrick, a redshirt freshman from Fallbrook High School, who previously played only in the late stages of three one-sided Aztec losses. “He said I was going to play in the second half.”
Barrick started the second half at Colorado State and led the Aztecs to their only touchdown. But whether that means he will make his first start Saturday when the Aztecs play Utah in a Western Athletic Conference game at Salt Lake City, Stolz was not ready to say after Saturday’s game.
Until the second-half switch Saturday, the choice of a starting quarterback had been a given. Platt’s position had not been in serious trouble since he earned the spot in spring practice. But now the quarterback job can be added to the list of uncertainties facing the Aztecs (1-6 overall, 1-3 in conference play).
Barrick and Platt, a junior, are listed as co-No. 1s on the Aztecs’ latest depth chart.
“Offensively, we just had a lot of inconsistency, and we self-destructed a little bit,” Stolz said.
Playing with a strong wind at their backs, the Aztecs managed only 1 first down in the first quarter, and their best drive of the second quarter ended at the Ram 16 when cornerback Selwyn Jones intercepted Platt’s pass in the end zone intended for Monty Gilbreath.
It was the 10th interception Platt has thrown, compared to 3 touchdown passes.
“Monty was open,” Platt said. “I didn’t get enough on the ball. He (Jones) turned around and the pass was right in his gut.”
Shortly after that, Stolz had Barrick warm up. Platt finished his half of the game, completing 10 of 17 passes for 89 yards. That gave him 130 completions in 226 attempts (58%) for 1,466 yards on the season.
The Aztecs got off to a shaky start under Barrick as he fumbled a snap on his first series, and then completed a 45-yard pass to wide receiver Jimmy Raye on his next series only to have Raye fumble and the Rams recover.
Barrick came back to throw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Raye on his third series, but a last-minute drive ended when Jones intercepted a Barrick pass at the Colorado State 10. That was 4 plays after another interception of Barrick was nullified by a penalty.
Barrick was 12 of 19 for 152 yards after completing only 2 of 10 attempts for 9 yards in his previous 3 appearances.
“Barrick came in and played pretty well,” Stolz said. “We’ll be using him more in the future.”
Just how much is the new question facing Stolz.
Joe Santos continued his strong punting since taking over the job 3 weeks ago. Santos averaged 49.7 yards on 6 punts against Colorado State despite windy conditions. It was the best game average (minimum 5 attempts) for a San Diego State punter since Mike Saxon averaged a school-record 54.8 yards on 6 punts against Brigham Young in 1983. “Some of the kicking into the wind was the best I’ve ever seen,” SDSU Coach Denny Stolz said. . . . Alfred Jackson played on the Aztec punt-return team, his first action since he dislocated 2 fingers 2 games earlier. Jackson, a wide receiver, has been working at cornerback since his injury. . . . Tight end Kerry Reed-Martin sustained a mild concussion after a hit in the fourth quarter, but it should not keep him out of Saturday’s game at Utah, SDSU trainer Don Kaverman said. Nose tackle Brad Burton (right ankle) is the only player listed as questionable. . . . A check of school records showed that Art Preston should have been credited with 2 more touchdowns in 1951 and thus his school record for scoring is 204 points, not 192 as previously listed. That means that tailback Paul Hewitt now needs 24 points to equal Preston’s mark.