San Diego State Aztecs look to capture another MW Conference title.
Despite losing Donnel Pumphrey, the Aztecs are predicted once again to win the MW.
Who will step up this year for the Aztecs?
The San Diego State Aztecs received all 28 first-place votes during the MW Media Summit last week in Las Vegas to win the Western division. This marks the third straight season the Aztecs were picked to win their division and the second year to receive all first-place votes.
This is only the third time in league history that any team has received each first-place vote in the Mountain West. TCU received this honor back in 2010 and SDSU last season. Both teams would go on to win the conference championship.
The Aztecs come into the new season with significant momentum following a successful 11-3 record last year. They defeated Wyoming, 27-24, in the MW Championship game and finished their season with a solid 34-10 victory against Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl.
SDSU finished with a No. 25 ranking in both the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches poll, only the second time in the program’s history (also in 1977). Their 11 wins tied a single-season record and the Aztecs became the first team to have back-to-back 11 win seasons.
After San Diego State (168 points), Hawaii (135) was picked to finish second in the west division followed by UNLV (105), Nevada (79), San Jose State (54) and Fresno State (47) respectively.
The Boise State Broncos have been picked to win the Mountain Division with 161 points, which included 21 first-place votes. Colorado State trailed with 135 points and six first-place votes, and the defending Mountain Division champion Wyoming had 114 points and one first-place vote.
Aztecs’ senior Rashaad Penny was named the preseason special teams player of the year. He has received the MW Special Teams Player-of-the-Year award in 2015 and 2016. Penny was also listed as preseason all-conference at running back for the first time.
Penny rushed for 1,018 yards and 11 TDs on 136 attempts (7.5 avg.) and had 15 catches for 224 yards (14.9 avg.) and three TDs last season. In addition, he returned 20 kickoffs for 624 yards (31.2 avg.) and was tied for second the country in kick return touchdowns (2). He did announce during media days that he is reducing his time returning kicks.
Despite ranking first in interceptions (26), fifth in turnovers gained (29), and sixth in total defense (105.7 yds/game), the Aztecs did not have a defensive player on the preseason all-conference team.
2017 Mountain West Preseason Poll
1. San Diego State (28 first-place votes) -168
2. UNLV – 105
3. Nevada – 79
4. San José State – 54
5. Fresno State – 47
1. Boise State (21) – 161
2. Colorado State (6) – 135
3. Wyoming (1) – 114
4. Air Force – 82
5. New Mexico – 68
6. Utah State – 28
2017 MW Football Preseason All-Conference Team
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Josh Allen, Jr., QB, Wyoming
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Andrew Wingard, Jr., DB, Wyoming
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year: Rashaad Penny, Sr., KR, San Diego State