Aztecs start fast, punish Arizona 38-14

Credit: Arizona Daily Star

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Credit: GoAztecs

In their game last week against New Mexico State, the San Diego Aztecs started slowly and fell behind in the first half 10-0.

The team eventually rallied to a 28-10 win as they showed positive adjustments and frankly started to play with more desire. They proved, a slow start was nothing to be concerned about. Especially since it was the first game for the Aztecs with fans in the stands since the 2019 season. Emotions were running high on the team.

On Saturday, in the desert, the Aztecs began the game on fire and put pressure on the Wildcats in virtually every aspect of the game. Rushing touchdowns by Jordon Brookshire and Greg Bell gave the Aztecs an early 14-0 lead. After a blocked punt by Keagun Williams and a Tyrell Shavers return for a touchdown, the Aztecs found themselves up 21-0 in the first seven minutes of the ballgame.

The team went into cruise control from that point on in the contest.

Awarding SDSU, a running powerhouse on offense, a big lead is not a great way to guarantee success for a team. The Wildcats scored a touchdown to make it 21-7, but SDSU promptly scored again as Daniel Bellinger made it to the end zone on a beautifully called tight-end screen. The Aztecs also drove down the field and scored on their second to last possession of the first half, making it a 35-7 game at the midway point. Domination at the line of scrimmage was a key for SDSU in their win on Saturday.

Jordon Brookshire was accurate with the ball going 10-14 for 183 yards with two touchdowns. He limped around the field as the half ended and even spent some time on the trainer’s table. The quarterback came out with no problems in the second half, showing no signs of an injury. His health will be a point of interest going forward. Brookshire was not asked to throw much either late in the game. Eventually, the quarterback came out in the fourth quarter as Lucas Johnson saw time for the second week for SDSU.

Credit: Arizona Daily Star

Johnson only attempted one pass in the game. His job was to control the tempo and hand the ball off to his running back. Greg Bell and company piled up 271 yards on the ground for the Aztecs. Bell broke a 55-yard touchdown 98 seconds into the game, and that set the tone. SDSU moved to 49-2 when they rush for at least 200 yards.

Greg Bell continues to progress and really shows an ability to play on Sundays. The running back shows the versatility of a punishing runner who falls forward after contact and also displays big-threat ability with plus speed as he accelerates in the open field. With exceptional vision and patience when running the ball, he displays all you want to see from a lead back. The former Bonita High School Baron will enjoy an excellent year for the Aztecs. Bell finished the night with 125 yards on 17 carries, scoring one touchdown.

The play calling turned less creative offensively early in the third quarter as the Aztecs wisely just ran time off the clock. Williams and Chance Bell got the ball often, and it was an excellent chance to see what they bring to the table.

The Aztecs frustrated and disheartened the Wildcats to a 38-14 game, which was way more lopsided than the score indicates.

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News and Notes

  • Daniel Bellinger is a large threat at the tight end position and recorded 113 yards on three receptions in the first half of the game. The 6-foot-6 tight end is mobile and impossible to bring down on half-hearted tackles. Getting the senior pass-catcher  involved early in the game was a top priority for the team coach Hoke said postgame. His development is crucial as it takes the Aztecs away from being a one-dimensional, run-only offense into a dual-threat. Expect the team to find more creative ways to get this man the ball.
  • Despite a leg injury, Jordon Brookshire ran the ball and looked daunting to tackle from time to time. He was particularly impactful in the red zone and scored a rushing TD for the second week in a row.
  • Jordan Byrd was utilized with a few different looks. The speedy back ran for 17 yards on three carries. He also caught two balls for five yards. As the offense opens up, expect Byrd to be utilized creatively.
  • Cameron Thomas is an athlete. The defensive end pressured the QB numerous times but is hardly a one-trick pony. Thomas was a factor in the run game as well, as he plays all the way till the whistle blows. The high-energy defensive end is blossoming into a force.

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