Football: Tolver, Osgood went out with a bang

The corps of receivers former Hawaii and Arizona head coach Dick Tomey called "the best in the country" proved their mettle Saturday night. Even on the losing end of a 41-40 war with Hawaii, San Diego State's J.R. Tolver and Kassim Osgood gave fans a show –- and a nightmare!

Tolver, Osgood leave on high note

By Kalani Takase

RSN Writer
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2002

HALAWA -- Every time San Diego State needed him, J.R. Tolver was there. The record-breaking senior flanker hauled in 18 catches for 283 yards with two touchdowns in a losing effort Saturday night as the Aztecs dropped a close one to Hawaii, 41-40.

Kassim Osgood, the other half of the dynamic duo managed 126 yards on five receptions. He earned 87 of his yards on SDSU's first offensive play of the game on a wide receiver screen pass from Tolver.

"That was scripted. Our coach wanted J.R. to have a pass before his career was over. He used to be a quarterback (in high school) so they just wanted to get in a pass, relive the glory days for him," said Osgood.

Tommy Kirovski would boot his first of four field goals soon after.

Despite the 4-9 record of the Aztecs, the Mountain West Conference-member earned the respect of the Warriors, especially Tolver and Osgood.

"They are big time players, I'm glad that they're in another conference, we're not gonna see them again for a while," commented Warrior head coach June Jones. Added Pisa Tinoisamoa, "Right after they get the ball, they can make guys miss. They're sorta like our guys; very athletic, quick, good athletes. It was hard containing them for a little bit, but once we got the hang of it and broke down and starting tackling right, we did some good things." 

Tolver fought the defense of Abraham Eliminian for the majority of the contest. "He's a really great player and the way their offense is set, they're going to go back to him no matter what you do. That's what they did all night to us. Good receivers, they're gonna get open; you just gotta win the battle sometimes," said Eliminian. "He's a really physical guy. He knows how to adjust to the ball in the air. He just has a knack for being close to the ball." Eliminian explained, "We knew he was a great player. My brother told me he was probably the best player on their team. He's really their go-to guy. We're just glad we came out with the victory, but all the credit to him, he's a senior and I hope he does great things on the next level."

Likewise, the pair held their counterparts in high regards.

Hawaii has a really good defense. Their defense is really dynamic. They have a lot of speed on the edges," said Osgood. The 6-5 receiver worked against Hawaii's Kelvin Millhouse all night. "He's good. I like him, he's really tough to get off the jam and that just makes me better as a player. I really enjoyed going against him and Jacob's brother (Abraham Eliminian)."  

Aztec quarterback Lon Sheriff's night was simply spectacular. "He did a good job, especially under the pressure that he had," said Osgood. Sheriff completed 31 of his 47 pass attempts with no interceptions for 420 yards. He tossed three scoring strikes.

"Lon did great, he came in and did a good job. He stepped up and played well. We expect that of him, he's had some big games over the course of his years. Adam (Hill) came in and played good this year, but when Adam got hurt, Lon's a seasoned veteran and he stepped in today and made plays," explained Tolver. Hill was injured against
Colorado State when he suffered a concussion.

"That speaks wonders for our offense. Any day, anybody can step in there and fill the shoes," said Osgood. Added Tolver, "I played with Lon for two years, so I have nothing but confidence in him. He came out here and proved it that he's a great player and he can make plays on any given day."

Said Sheriff, "We're a group of fighters, we're a quality group of guys and I think it comes through in our play."

SDSU also reeled off 125 yards on the ground. "The long runs kind of threw us off our game plan. That kind of hurt us. We didn't really do a good job stopping the run and they passed off of it too," explained Eliminian.

The Warrior defense stayed in a nickel package for the majority of the night, with just two linebackers and five defensive backs. The two linebackers were usually Keani Alapa and Tinoisamoa.

 "I think it was a little bit of both (missed tackles and nickel package). I just think we started off slow. It was one of those evenings where it was kind of quiet out here. We weren't making the plays that we usually make."  

Tolver and Osgood experienced their last game as Aztecs Saturday night. "I'm looking forward to coming back for the Hula Bowl," said Tolver. Osgood set his sights a bit higher. "Next time I come out here will hopefully be for the Pro Bowl," smirked Osgood.

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