SDSU vs. Fresno State: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The October Surprise? San Diego State has unlocked its offense.
Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire
More than a competition spanning decades and conferences, more than a mere rivalry: THIS IS WAR.
WHEN: Saturday, October 29th — 7:30 p.m. PST / 10:30 p.m. EST
WHERE: Valley Children’s Stadium in Fresno, CA (40,727)
WEATHER: Mainly clear. Low near 45F. Winds light and variable.
LIVE STREAM: fuboTV (Watch for free)
RADIO: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 / iHeart Radio App / SiriusXM ch. 383
SERIES RECORD: This is the 61st matchup between the Aztecs and the Bulldogs. SDSU maintains a 30-26-4 series lead.
LAST MEETING: Fresno State defeated the Aztecs in Carson, CA, 30-20 on October 30, 2021, to reclaim the Old Oil Can from the Aztecs.
WEBSITES: GoAztecs.com, the official San Diego State athletics website; GoBulldogs.com, the official Fresno State athletics website.
ODDS: Aztecs +8.5
Fresno, CA- The Aztecs head north on Saturday night to face their oldest rival: the Fresno State Bulldogs. Kickoff commences at 7:30 pm, at Valley Children’ Stadium, and this game will be a definite must see.
For starters, the victor of this game is probable to represent the West Division in this season’s Mountain West Championship.
In addition, the Aztecs and Bulldogs have fought on the gridiron for 99 years, dating back to SDSC’s first season. More than a competition spanning decades and conferences; more than a rivalry: THIS IS WAR.
Finally, to the victor go the spoils. The grand prize? “The Old Oil Can.”
Dozens of athletes killing themselves for an old rust bucket is like watching a group marooned sailors fighting over a deserted island’s last coconut. Both teams dig deep to win because the Old Oil Can is a bona fide beacon of prestige.
WHY THE BULLDOGS WILL WIN
Quarterback Jake Haener is out for Saturday with a sprained ankle, unless coach Jeff Tedford unveils his own October surprise. Logan Fife is expected to start as quarterback. He’s not Haener, but Fife has led the Bulldogs to victory in their last two games. Fife however has thrown six interceptions. Tedford still insists that Fife is the guy.
On offense, tailback Jordan Mims (131 carries, 645 yards, 7 TDs) is a juggernaut, and wide receivers Jalen Moreno-Cropper (45 catches, 504 yards, TD), and Nikko Remigio (33 catches, 357 yards, TD) are dangerous.
Defensive end David Perales is a menace who leads the Bulldogs with 6 1/2 sacks and nine tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Levelle Bailey has 50 tackles, leading the Bulldogs. Senior defensive back Elijah Gates has 34 tackles, including a forced fumble.
Bulldogs defense is strong and has given up just one touchdown over the past two games. They do have the potential to stall out the Aztecs’ offense.
If the Bulldogs defense is on point, preventing the Aztecs’ offense from scoring, and if the Bulldogs produce more than 23 points, Fresno State should have the upper hand to win this game.
WHY THE AZTECS WILL WIN
SDSU started season 100 on a bad foot, paying dearly against UA, Utah, and BSU. They were marred by a major offensive crisis.
After an embarrassing TOTAL offensive collapse against Boise State, the Aztecs placed offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski on the sacrificial altar. The Sun God, in turn, magically transformed safety Jalen Mayden into a stellar starting quarterback. Then: lo and behold: injury prone quarterback Braxton Burmeister was transfigured into an effective wide receiver.
Either that, or Jeff Horton was an underutilized coach who won’t squander his return to OC, and Mayden was an impressive quarterback all along…
With back-to-back wins against Hawaii and Nevada, SDSU offense has an actual strong offensive presence now.
Defensively, the fumble return for touchdown against Nevada by Patrick McMorris last week was the 4th non-offense TD this season for SDSU, who are now tied for the most nationwide with Alabama, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
On Special Teams, kicker/punter Jack Browning made three field goals for a 2nd straight game. SDSU has the best special teams efficiency rating in the country according to ESPN.
With a burgeoning offense, and statistically elite defense and special teams, the Aztecs are looking better and better since their offensive team reorganization.
If the Aztecs rush for 200 yards, statistically they should win the game. If they hold Fresno State to less than 17 points, statistically they should win the game. If Aztecs defense shut down Logan Fife and capitalize on his proneness to making turnovers, the Aztecs will win this game.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN
This game will be a tooth-and-nail battle. Fresno State will have the home field advantage, and this game will be loud and packed.
The outcome could tilt either way, but in the end, Jalen Mayden will grind out plays in the air; on the ground and he’ll run for the chains if he has to. Meanwhile the Aztecs defense will aggressively work to shut down Logan Fife.
This game will be very close, but despite the odds, the Aztecs will upset the Bulldogs and bring the Old Oil Can back to San Diego until both teams do it all again next fall.
Final Score: Fresno State 21, Aztecs 24