After San Diego State gagged and blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead to Wyoming on Nov. 14, I figured we’d learn a lot about these Aztecs the following Saturday against Utah.

And we did — San Diego State still is willing to roll over when the going gets tough.

Needing to upset No. 23 Utah to have any chance of an undeserved bowl bid — we at MrSportsBlog don’t think ANY 6-6 teams should ever play in a bowl game — the Aztecs sure didn’t act like it was a must-win game as they watched Utah build a 38-point halftime lead.

The Utes (9-2, 6-1 Mountain West Conference) called off the dogs and the Aztecs did eventually score during a 38-7 trouncing that showed San Diego State (4-7, 2-5) is still a long ways away from respectability.

Factor in Wyoming’s 24 unanswered points the week before, the Aztecs allowed an embarrassing 62 consecutive points between their own scores. Of course, by San Diego State’s standards, that’s not all that horrendous.

You might recall the 2006 season when Chuck Long’s first season sprung late-season leaks too. His squad allowed 93 straight points — 52 to TCU and 41 to New Mexico — between scores.

You have to question the preparation anytime a team gets worked in such a manner — San Diego State was playing another Mountain West Conference team, not an SEC or Pac-10 team — and that subject never sits well with a head coach.

Aztecs coach Brady Hoke was quizzed about the subject afterwards, according to quotes posted on Utah’s athletics Web site (http://utahutes.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/recaps/112209aac.html).

“I don’t think the team was unprepared,” said Hoke, presumably with a straight face. “Our guys were ready to play, but we played a tremendous football team. Utah is an awfully good team. They have been cultivating that for a couple of years. They are well coached and play hard.”

They certainly played harder than the Aztecs. The Utes needed just two offensive plays to score their first touchdown and blew the game open with a 24-point second quarter.

At that point, it appeared that Utah might score 60-plus points on the Aztecs but Utes offensive coordinator Dave Schramm (a former San Diego State assistant) showed some mercy.

Utah true freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn passed for 198 yards and a touchdown. The Oceanside High alumnus originally committed to Colorado while in high school but avoided the Dan Hawkins train wreck in Boulder by changing his mind and signing with the Utes.

San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley was miserable in the first half, completing just 4-of-18 passes with Utah’s Joe Dale picking off one and returning it 30 yards for a score. Overall, Lindley was 17-of-37 for 207 yards and two interceptions. He threw a fourth-quarter touchdown to Dominique Sandifer.

The Aztecs close their season against UNLV next Saturday. The Rebels have fired coach Mike Sanford and there’s no telling what type of effort they’ll bring to Sam Boyd Stadium.

Let’s hope San Diego State is better prepared and puts forth a better effort. It’s hard to tell how much progress the Aztecs have made this season when the victories have come against Southern Utah, New Mexico State, Colorado State and New Mexico. Lose to UNLV and the answer becomes pretty clear: Not much.

Of course, there are worse things than being Brady Hoke and coaching a team missing out on a bowl for the 11th straight season. Or did you miss athletic director Jeff Schemmel’s resignation, tied to cheating on his wife and hitting up the school for travel reimbursement for the affair?

Compared to that mess, the football program isn’t in that much disarray. But it still can’t spot the top of the Mountain West without a high-powered telescope.

New coach in that big old comfortable second-floor office, but same old San Diego State.

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