After starting the year 6-1, undefeated in conference play with a win @ Boise State, San Diego State looked like the Mountain West favorites, until the Aztecs fell off a cliff, finishing the year 1-5, including a loss as a 24 point favorite at home against UNLV, and as a 17.5 point favorite at home against Hawai’i. The streak tumbled the Aztecs from 44th to 87th by the end of the year after a 27-0 embarrassing performance against Ohio in their bowl game. A lot returns though and the Aztecs should bounce back.
For the first time in seemingly forever, San Diego State didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher. Juwan Washington brought in… 999. Washington (ten touchdowns, five yards per carry) was backed up by Chase Jasmin, who racked up nearly 600 yards of his own along with five touchdowns (4.3 yards per carry). Both will return for 2019. Jordan Byrd is an interesting name who averaged six yards per carry in limited touches as a true freshman. Just two starters return on the line, but the Aztecs bring in Oregon transfer Jacob Capra at center.
SDSU is obviously a run-first team, but Ryan Agnew was solid last year after coming in midyear. He should improve with a whole summer with the first stringers. Deep threat Tim Wilson Jr. is the top returning receiver (19.1 YPC!). Highly touted sophomore Kobe Smith and Ethan Dedaux will also challenge for starting spots.
The Aztecs are going under a scheme change this year, going more spread, but the run game will still be king and consistency at quarterback should help them improve on last year’s numbers.
The defense was really good last year, but just five starters return. S Tariq Thompson was a revelation as a sophomore (five TFL, eight PBUs, two interceptions). Last year’s top tackler, Kyahva Tezino (8.5 sacks, six TFL, 17 QB hurries) is the heart of the defense at MLB.
Where I am worried about this team is the line. Cameron Thomas, a redshirt freshman, will likely have to start at one of the ends, sophomore Keshawn Banks will start at the other end.
Darren Hall is back at the corner after starting as a freshman last year, he will be joined by veteran Luqman Barcoo. This will be a strong, violent Aztec defense as usual, but they might take a slight step back from last year.
San Diego State has made a bowl nine straight years, and have won double-digit games three of the past four years.
There are quite a few tossup games on the schedule, but this is still a conference title contender, and they host their top division rival, Fresno State, in a Friday night game that could decide the division. Home games against Nevada, Wyoming, Utah State, and BYU are also good draws rather than having to travel to any of those teams. Some of them are quite close, but outside of a game @ UCLA the Aztecs are projected to be favored in every game this year, this team has conference title potential.
|Date||Opponent||Opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|14-Sep||at New Mexico State||125||12.1|
|5-Oct||at Colorado State||103||2.6|
|19-Oct||at San Jose State||116||9.3|
Average Projected Record: 8.0 wins, 4.0 losses (5.4 wins, 2.6 losses)