SAN DIEGO — The duty of a football quarterback is to advance the ball regardless of whether he throws to a receiver, hands off to a ball carrier, or carries the ball himself.
Carlsbad High School graduate Christian Chapman, who is now the first-string quarterback for San Diego State University, lacks the impressive passing statistics of many of his National Collegiate Athletic Association colleagues but led the Aztecs to an 11-3 season last year that included victories over Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference championship game and over Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“I think he’s developed into a better quarterback as he’s played,” San Diego State head coach Rocky Long said during the Aztecs’ Media Day on July 20.
Chapman is currently a junior. Last year he completed 153 of his 251 passes for a total of 1,994 yards. Twenty of his passes were caught for touchdowns, and he only threw six interceptions. Although sacks and kneel-downs are subtracted from a quarterback’s rushing yardage, Chapman’s rushes for gains totaled 244 yards; his 71 attempts included 28 sacks.
The Aztecs as a team rushed for 3,680 yards, and 34 of the Aztecs’ 636 rushing attempts were for touchdowns. Donnel Pumphrey gained 2,133 yards and crossed the end zone 17 times, Rashaad Penny had 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground with an additional 224 yards and three touchdowns on 15 receptions, and when Juwan Washington filled in for the starters, he gained 441 rushing yards and scored six times on carries.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected Pumphrey in the fourth round of this year’s National Football League draft. This year Penny is a senior and Washington is a sophomore. Long expects Penny to carry the ball approximately 30 times per game and anticipates Washington having the ball on 15 to 20 rushing plays each contest.
Long noted that a successful running game will actually give Chapman more flexibility. “If we run the ball well enough, he’ll have chances to make some big plays in the passing game,” Long said.
Oceanside High School graduate Mikah Holder and fellow senior Quest Truxton are San Diego State’s first-string wide receivers.
“We’ve got to have Mikah and Truxton start making some big plays in the passing game,” Long said.
The Aztecs begin play Sept. 2 at home against the University of California, Davis and follow the season opener with games Sept. 9 at Arizona State and Sept. 16 at home against Stanford. Mountain West Conference play for the Aztecs begins Sept. 23 at Air Force.