San Diego State vs. UNLV: Keys to an Aztec Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
San Diego State goes to Las Vegas in the driver’s seat for the West division of the Mountain West.
The Aztecs must remain focused at the task at hand.
WEEK 12: #19 San Diego State Aztecs (9-1, 5-1 MW) at UNLV Revels (2-8, 2-4 MW)
WHEN: Friday, November 19 — 8:30 PM PT/9:30 PM MT
WHERE: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.
RADIO: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 / iHeart Radio App / SiriusXM ch. 383
SERIES RECORD: San Diego State leads the all-time series 19-10. The Aztecs currently have a 2-game winning streak against the Rebels, and last beat the Rebels in 2020 34-6 in Carson.
LAST WEEK: San Diego State held on to beat Nevada, 23-21 whereas UNLV upset the Warriors in Las Vegas, 27-13.
ODDS (as of 11/16, via Vegas Insider): San Diego State -11
SP+ PROJECTION: San Diego State by 18.9
FEI PROJECTION: to be determined
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: San Diego State 62.84% win probability
Marcus Arroyo has found some success in his stint as head coach with a 2-game winning streak. The former Oregon offensive coordinator has his team looking for an upset on UNLV Senior Night miraculously pull off a 3-game winning streak. Since 2013, UNLV has lost every home matchup to San Diego State.
San Diego State drives up I-15 to firm up their position as top of the West division and play in their first game at Allegiant Stadium. Brady Hoke’s Aztecs are determined to leave Vegas in the green and not look ahead to their Black Friday contest against Boise State.
Three Keys to a San Diego State Victory
Don’t Look Past UNLV
On paper, this reads and smells like a lookahead game for San Diego State. Despite owning the matchup for the last two decades, UNLV might have started to turn a bit of a corner.
Last week against Hawaii, the Rebels held Hawaii under 100-rushing yards while their offense put up 465 total yards.
UNLV running back Charles Williams broke records last week, and it was the second-highest single-game rushing performance in school history. The super senior in his 6th season rushed for 266 yards on 38 carries with 3 touchdowns, also pushing him over 1,000 yards this season and well on his way to match his college best at 1257 yards.
The focus for the Aztecs isn’t what offense will the Broncos will run next Friday, but how they plan on stopping the Rebels running back.
Find an Offensive Rhythm
Offensively for the Aztecs, they are closer to the UNLV Rebels than meets the eye.
Yards Per Game:
SDSU 328.9 113rd in FBS
UNLV 313.9 119th in FBS.
3rd down conversions
SDSU 49/141 102nd in FBS
UNLV 50/143 101st in FBS.
San Diego State balanced their offense against Nevada with 34 pass plays and 39 run plays, but SDSU has to get better at converting 3rd downs as they went 3/15 against Nevada. The Aztecs offense has been profoundly worked on a formula of run-run-pass, but keeping the game in control means moving the chains.
Greg Bell and the running backs have to find the lanes and be dominant on offense. Bell continues to churn out 100-yard games, but it is unclear why it seems Coach Hoke prefers Kaegun Williams or Chance Bell in the 4th quarter. Finding their rhythm will always start with the backs and moving the chains.
Let Matt Araiza Be Great
The only upside to one of the lowest 3rd down conversion ratios in the nation is having a talented punter receiving the national spotlight from college football aficionados.
Matt Araiza had 5 punts for 278 yards at an average of 55.6 yards last week against Nevada. He leads the entire FBS in yardage 3187 off 61 punts. The closest punter in terms of distance is Iowa’s Tory Taylor at 2883 yards. Taylor leads FBS in punts inside the 20 with 31, but Araiza is not too far behind at 29.
Araiza is able to flip the field consistently through his junior season and opposing special teams have not put enough pressure on Araiza. The kid has got the golden leg.
The Aztecs offense still won’t fire on all cylinders as has been the trend the entire season. Greg Bell again will find paydirt and accomplish another 100-yard day but will go missing in the third quarter as the UNLV Rebels put up their second score of the day. The UNLV offense will be able to find some inefficiencies in San Diego State’s defense, but the pressure will be too much for the Rebels to handle. San Diego State rolls.
San Diego State 24, UNLV 14