San Diego State Recap: Vintage Aztec Football dominates Hawaii, 34-10

Nov 14, 2020; Carson, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs running back Greg Bell (34) runs the ball against Hawaii Warriors defensive back Cortez Davis (18) during the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State Recap: Vintage Aztec Football dominates Hawaii, 34-10

San Diego State Recap: Vintage Aztec Football dominates Hawaii, 34-10


San Diego State Recap: Vintage Aztec Football dominates Hawaii, 34-10

San Diego State runs all day on Hawaii football.

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Vintage San Diego State football on display Saturday afternoon.

After getting upset by San Jose State last week, San Diego State was staring at an opponent that was able to upset them in back-to-back years in the Mountain West. The Hawaii Warriors under QB Cole McDonald and former coach Nick Rolovich were able to match the intensity of Aztec football and sneak wins away from the back-to-back West-division favorite.

This time with seasoned coach Todd Graham and with redshirt sophomore QB Chevan Cordeiro, the Warriors were able to hand New Mexico a loss with 400+ yards passing with 4 touchdown passes last week.

Coach Brady Hoke knowing their quest for a 22nd conference championship looks like a tougher path since their loss to San Jose State. The response to adversity this early in the Mountain West season means something big will happen, right?

Because on the rare Saturday afternoon start, San Diego State went back to what they knew best: run and defend.

When Greg Bell started breaking into the Warrior secondary with 20-plus yard runs, the Aztecs knew the game was theirs to control.

The Aztecs offense didn’t need much from Carson Baker even after a mistake-filled game previously, but the running back cadre of the Bells (Greg and Chance) and Jordan Byrd led the way. Baker only threw for 30 yards the entire game albeit with 2 interceptions, while the ground game went for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns.

It definitely wasn’t a pretty start for either program as the first 3 possessions by the Aztecs resulted in punts and the Aztec defense was able to keep Hawaii on the same track. The key was that the Warriors weren’t able to get into the red zone until the 2nd half.

The Aztecs defense in the first half was hungry and came to eat.

Pile on 7 sacks on Cordeiro, the Aztec defense looked vintage. Caden McDonald of the Aztecs got a strip fumble early in the first half that basically put this out of reach for the Warriors. McDonald is becoming the star linebacker that Kyahva Tezino was for a long time in the middle of Rocky Long’s defense, and now under Brady Hoke, it looks like he will continue to develop into a dominating presence.

Against Hawaii, the Aztecs did more than enough to cover up some of their glaring mistakes. The secondary continues to be a liability, giving up home-run plays like a 75-yard TD score from Hawaii. Carson Baker’s interceptions have hurt them in the previous weeks and it doesn’t help to turn short fields for the Aztecs defense. Then Jordan Matthew’s muffed punt while the Aztecs were on cruise control. Granted, the Aztecs took advantage of a Hawaii team under a new coaching staff and QB, this game could have gone sideways if plays like that occurred in the first half.

Looking ahead, the underlying question is what do the Aztecs do when they now start a 2-game road trip. The Aztecs go to Reno next week to take on a 3-0 Wolfpack team and then in two weeks go off to fight for the oil can against Fresno State. How will the Aztecs react going forward without a bye this season? One still has to consider if COVID-19 cases like those in the Pac-12 and SEC could find its way to Mountain West programs.


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