Hawai’i vs. San Diego State: Three Keys To An Aztecs Win
The ‘Bows and Aztecs each have a 2-1 record. At least one team will fall out of West Division championship qualification.
After a stunning loss to the Spartans, the Aztecs need a ‘Bows victory to maintain 2020 West Division contention.
WEEK 10: HAWAI’I (2-1, 2-1 MW) vs. SDSU (2-1, 2-1 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 14th — 11:00 AM HST / 1:00 PM PST
WHERE: Dignity Health Sports Park; Carson, California (27,000)
TV: Spectrum PPV (Hawaii), Channel 4 in San Diego County on Cox and Spectrum
STREAMING: Team1Sports app
RADIO: 101.5 FM (KGB) and XTRA 1360 AM.
SERIES RECORD: San Diego State leads the series 20-11-2.
LAST MATCHUP: November 23th, 2019 | Hawai’i won 14-11 in Hawai’i
ODDS: SDSU -11
Carson, CA — The Aztecs will most certainly enter this game with a lot less swagger, having handed a win to a surprisingly formidable Spartans team who were more or less being managed for three quarters- before an interception and a muffed punt sealed the Aztecs’ fate. After seven straight wins against the Spartans, Aztecs head coach Brady Hoke took this loss right on the chin.
A serving of humble pie isn’t always the worst thing, unless San Jose State runs the table and finishes the abbreviated 2020 season undefeated. Nevada is also currently undefeated.
The Aztecs will re-group, re-tool and after an internal about face, a higher degree of seriousness will be ingrained throughout the entire team.
Hawai’i has its strengths and weaknesses. The ‘Bows offense this year is surprisingly unstable, and its saving grace has been quarterback Chevan Cordeiro’s ability to scramble like a champ, in light of a patchy offensive line. He has made this team better than it would otherwise be under another play caller’s command, but the Aztecs defense will test him entirely.
Here’s how the Aztecs can score a win.
Three Keys to an Aztecs Victory
1. get offensive
Quarterback Carson Baker has completed 51 passes this season for 561 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Receivers Jesse Matthews and Kobe Smith are Baker’s catchers, combining to haul in 19 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. Greg Bell has rushed 66 times this season for 377 yards and three touchdowns, showing immense talent.
The Aztec offense has averaged 452 yards per game, and will face off against a Warrior defense that allows 433.7 yards and just under 28 points per game. The one area that needs to improve is red zone offense. The Aztecs have scored touchdowns on half of their 16 red zone possessions (four field goals).
If the Aztecs offense eat up time and manage to power through the Rainbow Warriors’ underwhelming defense, they can have a banner day in the end zone.
2. pick six
Aztec defense must overpower Rainbow Warrior offense, pure and simple.
The Aztecs boast one of the nation’s top defenses ranking No. 2 in total defense (233.0 yards/game), No. 9 in scoring defense (13.7 points/game), No. 4 in passing yards allowed (133.3 yards/game), and No. 12 in rushing yards allowed (99.7 yards/game), so they will likely get the job done effectively.
The Aztecs backfield should be able to intercept ‘Bow passes and convert turnovers into points. Cordeiro has thrown nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns, and the Aztec backfield can capitalize on it.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has completed 64% of his passes this season for 749 yards, four touchdowns and, yes, three interceptions. All four touchdown passes occurred against New Mexico. Receivers Jared Smart (17 rec., 161 yds) and Rico Bussey (13 rec., 115) are Cordeiro’s top targets.
Tailback Miles Reed averages 5.8 yards per carry, but has not yet found the end zone. He will face a brick wall against the Aztecs.
3. play like the west division is at stake
The West Division won’t be won during this game, but it can be lost.
One of these teams will go on to a 3-1 record, and the other 2-2. The loser of this match will essentially be disqualified from a potential Mountain West Championship game. If San Jose State gives up a game (or two) at some point, then the winner of this game could very well go on to represent the West Division in the 2020 Mountain West Conference Championship…
This game matters.
The Aztecs will enter this game with their heads screwed on straight after a humbling loss to a team whose track record involves more FCS preseason losses than wins. Losing to the Spartans was humiliating. They will likely take out their shame on an unwitting Rainbow Warriors visiting team.
The Aztecs will manhandle the ‘Bows through elite defensive performance.
San Diego State 30, Hawaii 14