San Diego State vs. Arizona: Game Preview, How to Watch, Livestream, Prediction
Can the Aztecs beat the Wildcats?
San Diego State is in for a catfight.
Hanging on to a victory Aztecs go to Arizona and take on the Wildcats. The Wildcats opened their inaugural season under Jedd Fisch with a loss to BYU at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, mounting a short-lived second-half comeback.
WEEK 2: San Diego State Aztecs (1-0) vs. Arizona Wildcats (0-1)
WHEN: Saturday, September 11 — : 7PM PT/ 8PM MT
WHERE; Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ
TV: Pac-12 Network
RADIO: San Diego State Feed: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 | Arizona Feed: 107.5 FM/ 1290 AM
SERIES RECORD: Arizona owns the all-time record at 10-5. Last meeting was August 30, 2001, Arizona won in San Diego by a score of 23-10.
LAST WEEK: San Diego State defeated New Mexico State 28-10, whereas Arizona lost to BYU 24-16.
ODDS (as of 9/9, via Vegas Insider): Arizona -2
Gone is Kevin Sumlin and his horrendous tenure at Arizona, and for the 2021 season a new staff is instilling a new set of values into the young men in the desert. The Wildcats are tired of handing out of wins, so they’re going to be hungry to win a game in their season opener. San Diego State knows that this part of their schedule will be the most difficult of the year with two back-to-back games against Pac-12 opponents. To pull off the upset, here are the keys to an Aztec victory.
Keys to Victory
It Starts With Caden McDonald
Last week’s game against New Mexico State exposed the young Aztec secondary and it’s clear the key to unlocking the defense runs through the defensive front led by Caden McDonald. The 2020 First-Team All-Mountain West recorded 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 QB hurry in the victory over New Mexico State. It was clear that their second-half performance felt more Aztec-like and the stops and forced turnovers were important to help out the backend of their defense. Junior Cameron Thomas, who recorded 3 tackles, 3 TFL, and 2 QB hurries, recognizes that their performance in the trenches against the Wildcats starts with them, “With our secondary being young, I think it’s important for us to get as much pressure on the quarterback as possible.”
Presumptive Arizona starter, QB Gunner Cruz threw for 34/45 for 336 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception against BYU. With that much emphasis on passing, it’s easy to look at the Aztecs’ secondary as easy bait if they don’t pressure the Wildcats. The Aztecs showed up late to New Mexico State, but if the defense gets to the QB and forces mistakes they can secure a victory.
Clean it up
Running back Greg Bell’s 165-yard day was light work for the senior from Chula Vista, CA. San Diego State’s offensive lineman over the years has been full of guys who can push back the defensive line. However, with the way penalties were called against New Mexico State the offensive lineman need to carry more discipline against the Wildcats. Somehow New Mexico State got under the skin of the players and the quality of play started to go downhill. Overall 3 big personal foul penalties, and a total of 7 penalties were called against the Aztecs. William Dunkle was on the verge of being ejected from the game. It’s imperative that these guys stay together and block because winning this game means running the ball.
It’s Jordon Brookshire’s show
The Arizona defense kept BYU to under 207 passing yards, their fewest yards allowed since keeping Colorado to under 92 yards in 2020. If that stat stays true again for this week, Brookshire’s in for another struggle. Despite facing the only program in FBS with a 13-game losing streak and their 5-2 record against the conference of champions since 2016, San Diego State’s offense is anemic and allergic to the passing game. Brookshire’s problem throwing into coverages, flat-out misses, and drops need to be remedied. Without the added dimension of a passing threat, the Wildcats can pounce on the opportunity to devour the run game.
Moreover, the QB1 needs to make his throws.
San Diego State 24, Arizona 21