San Diego State vs. Utah State: Three Keys To An Aztecs Win
San Diego State heads to Logan to face Utah State after a dominant season opening 34-6 rout against UNLV.
The Aztecs will find no love in Utah. (Quarterback Jordan Love was picked in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft)
WEEK 9: SDSU (1-0, 1-0 MW) vs. Utah State (0-1, 0-1 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, October 31st — 7:30 PM MST / 9:30 PM EST
WHERE: Merlin Olsen Field in Maverik Stadium- Logan, Utah (25,513)
RADIO: 1280 AM The Zone / 101.5 FM (KGB) and XTRA 1360 AM.
SERIES RECORD: San Diego State leads the series 12-2.
LAST MATCHUP: September 21, 2019 | USU won 23-17 at SDCCU.
ODDS: SDSU -7.5.
Logan, UT — Here come the Aztecs . . .
The San Diego State Aztecs (1-0) are on the road, heading to Maverik Stadium to take on the Utah State Aggies (0-1). The Aztecs opened their season last week with a decisive 34-6 home win over UNLV. Right around the same time, Utah State was dominated in a 42-13 loss on the road to Boise State. They will struggle to replace quarterback Jordan Love who was selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Utah State defense allowed 450 total yards and 42 points in their season opener against a good Boise State team. San Diego State opened their season with rock solid defense holding UNLV to 6 points and 186 total yards. San Diego State was also brilliant on third down. It’s true, Utah State played against one of the best teams in the Mountain West conference, but there are points of major concern they will have to contend with this season.
Here’s how the Aztecs can score a win in Logan.
Three Keys to an Aztecs Victory
1. AZTECS: this is our house.
There is no evidence to prove that Merlin Olsen Field in Maverick Stadium doesn’t belong to the Aztecs when they are there. Sure there’s a big bull on the side of the stadium, and the gridiron has the Utah State logo; but the Aggies have never been able to defeat the Aztecs there. Until this changes, it’s safe to say the Aztecs will be right at home.
And why should Saturday be any different? The Aztecs are pretty close to running on all cylinders from what we saw last week. Alternately, with the loss of first round draft pick caliber quarterback, Jordan Love, the Aggies are trying to keep their heads above water with Jason Shelly.
2. shake and bake on offense, baby!
San Diego State got the run game flowing against UNLV, and produced 287 rush yards. Greg Bell ought to be called “Taco” Bell because he runs for the border every time he gets the ball. So does Chance Bell. Maybe, just maybe we’ll witness a “Battle of the Bell’s.” Greg Bell led last week’s game with 19 carries for 111 yards. The team averaged 6.2 yards per carry and managed three touchdowns on the ground.
Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker, in his second start of his career, completed just 48% of his passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Dedeaux caught the sole touchdown pass, and Elijah Kothe reeled in one pass for 33 yards. While Baker’s performance wasn’t stellar, his previous performance against BYU certainly was. Baker is a play maker, and because of it, the Aztecs can mix up the air assault and a dominant run game.
3. shell shelly and worry warren
Junior Jason Shelly has taken the helm as Utah’s starting play caller. He struggled last week completing just 51.9% of his passes for 92 yards and one interception. Shelley posted just a 16.2 QBR, one of the worst marks in the Mountain West this season. The Aggies totaled just 203 total yards. Senior running back Jaylen Warren carried 23 times averaging 3.9 yards per carry and was the only Aggie to find the end zone. He scored twice.
The dominant Aztec defense will have to aggressively collapse the pocket and force rushed plays on Shelly. If they rattle him it will be hard for him to be effective and be productive.
They will need to set their sites on Jaylen Warren as well, and not give him the chance to find an opening. He’s one of Utah State’s offensive key assets, so containing him will limit Aggie advancement and scoring.
In this match, the Aztecs have the upper hand on both offense and defense. The Aggies should not be underestimated, but they will struggle on both ends of the field. If Baker unleashes an air assault, this game could be a lot of fun (for Aztec fans).
The Aztecs will likely win without too much trouble, but might give up two touchdowns and a field goal. They will exit the gridiron with a 5-0 record further denigrating Aggies fans everywhere.
Final Score: San Diego State 38, Utah State 17