Keys to Victory: SDSU Aztecs vs UNM Lobos

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Credit: AP Photo

On Friday, November 24th, the San Diego State Aztecs will play host to the New Mexico Lobos in the regular season finale for SDSU.

This game will mark the final game in an Aztec uniform for Rashaad Penny at home. So if you’re done with your Black Friday shopping, swing by SDCCU Stadium to watch Penny play one final time in San Diego.

Like we have done all season long in this piece, we will take a look at what SDSU needs to do on offense and defense in order to close the regular season with a win.

Aztecs on defense

1.- Win the turnover battle

It is not a coincidence that SDSU is undefeated this year when they force the opponent to turn the ball over more times than they do. New Mexico has struggled all season long with turnovers, and other than the game against Air Force in which the Lobos scored 56 points, their offense hasn’t found any consistency moving the ball this season. So if the Aztecs can get them in third and long, there’s a chance that the opportunistic SDSU defense can get their hands on a couple of footballs.

2.- Built for next season

This was supposed to be a down year for SDSU, but the team is on the brink of another 10-win season. There’s no question that this defense struggled at times against bigger opponents, so I’m curious to see how the young players compete in this matchup. Obviously San Diego State is more talented, but football is a game of effort and passion. Which players will start working on their 2018 resume Friday in San Diego?

Aztecs on offense

1.- Show the nation they are wrong

Over the last couple of days, everyone in the San Diego media, and even some national columnists, have expressed their outrage over the omission of Rashaad Penny in some major college football awards. Coach Long and the offensive coaching staff should give Penny 40+ touches on offense and special teams in order to show the nation that the best running back in the nation plays in San Diego. It’s also a great parting gift for a player that has given us some of the most amazing highlights in SDSU history.

2.- Build the offensive line

No unit in football needs more live reps than the offensive line, and Friday’s game is a great showcase for the players that want to be starters going into 2018. During both Aztecs losses, the offensive line struggled mightily due to inexperience. The unit gained valuable experience for the future, and now it’s time to start working on cohesion. Also look for this group to be extra focused and motivated in order to block one last time for Rashaad Penny at home.


This game should be an easy win for the Aztecs. New Mexico is not really good and the Aztecs are playing their final game of the year. The talent discrepancy is too large and the motivation should be on SDSU’s side. Vegas has the Aztecs as 20-point favorites for a reason. I think SDSU will win it by the score of 55-17.

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