San Diego State Aztecs College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
San Diego State Aztecs Biggest Key: Offense
Complete a downfield pass. The Aztecs haven’t winged the ball all over the yard in a long while. The running game and defense dominated the Rocky Long era, but when the O did take a few shots down the field, the production usually followed.
The 2019 offense, though, had problems stretching the field, averaging just 6.6 yards per throw in a bit of a hit-or-miss season. The idea was to not take a whole slew of chances, but that was still way too conservative for the program.
The 2020 offense averaged six yards per throw.
Worse yet, the passing game just stopped altogether in some games. On the year the Aztecs hit just 57% of their throws with six touchdowns and five picks, and they managed to complete fewer than 40% in losses to Hawaii and Colorado.
San Diego State Aztecs Biggest Key: Defense
Generate a steadier pass rush. To get nitpicky with one of the nation’s best defenses, San Diego State was able to come up with a solid 20 sacks and 65 tackles for loss in the eight games, but the production came in bunches.
The defense lived in the backfield against UNLV, Hawaii, Colorado and Colorado State, but fizzled in a few of the other games. UNLV and Hawaii couldn’t do a thing against the Aztec pass rush, but 12 of the 20 sacks came in those two games.
Again, nitpicking, but in 2019 the defense spread out its 31 sacks over the season. But on the plus side, when the D was attacking and effective, forget it – it shut everything down.
San Diego State is 30-0 since 2010 when it comes up with four or more sacks.
San Diego State Aztecs Key Player To A Successful Season
WR Jesse Matthews, Jr.
The starting quarterback – whoever that ends up being – is the most important player to the 2021 season, but he’s going to need help from the receiving corps.
The players are there, the experience is in place, and there’s enough to expect a whole lot more. That means the No. 1 guy has to get the ball in his hands on a regular basis.
The 6-0, 190-pound junior Jesse Matthews might not be the team’s most talented target – that should be transfer Tyrell Shaves – but Matthews is dangerous as a punt returner and a target, catching 23 passes for 314 yards and a score after making 48 grabs in 2019.
San Diego State Aztecs Key Game To The 2021 Season
at San Jose State, Oct. 16
The Aztecs have a few huge games in the West division. They get Nevada and Fresno State at home, and they get Boise State from the Mountain to deal with, but like last year, getting by San Jose State should be a big deal.
The 28-17 loss was the first one to the Spartans in an eight-game span going back to 2012. With a road game at Air Force to follow and a trip to Hawaii a few weeks later, kicking off the run of three road dates in four weeks with a win would be a big deal.
2020 San Diego State Aztecs Fun Stats
– Rushing Yards Per Game: San Diego State 199.4 – Opponents 98.3
– 1st Quarter Scoring: San Diego State 59 – Opponents 20
– SDSU 1st Half Scoring: 143 – 2nd Half Scoring 64