Aztecs look to open seven-game season with a win against UNLV

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Aztecs

Mountain West football is back, and so is Aztec football. San Diego State University opens up its season at “home” tonight versus the UNLV Rebels.

SDSU will be playing their home games in Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. 

Both teams will have their head coaches making their debuts with the teams. Last offseason, the Rebels hired former Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo as head coach. Arroyo will improve a UNLV team that went 4-8 (2-6 Mountain West) in the 2019 season. 

Arroyo has yet to announce a starting quarterback for tonight’s game, but he has a few options to put under center for the Rebels. The top candidates are TCU transfer Justin Rogers and last year’s starting quarterback Kenyon Oblad. 

Brady Hoke is the new head coach for the Aztecs, replacing Rocky Long, who led the team to nine straight bowl games in his nine seasons with the team. He was the Aztecs’ head coach in 2009 and 2010, going 4-8 and 9-4, respectively. 

Hoke will look to continue the recent success of San Diego State football, a team that has amassed double-digit wins four times over the past five seasons. The Aztecs went 10-3 (5-3 Mountain West) last season. 

Hoke brought in a new coaching staff, hiring offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski and defensive coordinator Kurt Mattix. 

Hecklinski was Hoke’s assistant head coach at SDSU in 2009 and 2010 and Michigan’s wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator when Hoke was there. Mattix has been the defensive coordinator at Eastern Kentucky for the past four seasons.

Mattix will have a tough task against Charles Williams, the Rebels’ running back who rushed for 1,257 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. He had six games with 100+ rushing yards in 2019, including 113 in a 20-17 loss to the Aztecs. 

San Diego State will look to contain Williams better this year, and this team will be led by one of the best defenses in the country. The Aztecs allowed only 12.3 PPG last season, good for second in the country. 

Redshirt sophomore Carson Baker will lead the offense. Baker, a Helix graduate, will make his second collegiate start after starting the final regular season of 2019. He started due to an injury to Ryan Agnew, leading the Aztecs to a 13-3 win over BYU. 

Baker will look to lead an Aztec offense that scored only 21.2 PPG last season, and Hecklinski will try to improve it. 

In such an odd 2020 year, the Brady Hoke-led San Diego State Aztecs will be back on the field as they play a seven-game season.

Tonight’s game is at 7:30 PT on CBS Sports Network.

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Bobby Murphy
Bobby is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University and is majoring in Sports Journalism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from San Diego, loves to write, and has a deep passion for baseball, football, and basketball. He also co-hosts the "Devils Talking Padres" podcast.

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Bobby Murphy
Bobby is currently a sophomore at Arizona State University and is majoring in Sports Journalism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from San Diego, loves to write, and has a deep passion for baseball, football, and basketball. He also co-hosts the "Devils Talking Padres" podcast.