With San Diego State University and its football program vying for national recognition, it is worth noting that they are now the most recognizable football program in the city of San Diego.
Their slogan “One city. One team” is appropriate as the program is starting to become very productive.
SDSU has had moments of relevancy but, for the most part, they have failed to get into the top-25 and stay there. Teams led by Todd Santos, Dan McGwire, and Ryan Lindley were solid squads, but in competitive college football, they lacked the overall talent to compete with the big dogs. That has been an issue for SDSU. The school itself is a wonderful program, in a great city, but they have continually lost talent to more prestigious schools up the freeway. Reggie Bush and Marcus Allen won Heisman Awards and were both San Diego high school products, but neither even considered staying home. When a school like USC recruits you, it’s a no-brainer.
Not being in the Pac-8, Pac-10, or Pac-12 has really not helped the school. USC, UCLA, and other colleges play the best schools each week in their schedule. Getting reps against the best athletes helps pro scouts evaluate players more efficiently, and thus more players want to go to these continually winning programs.
As SDSU fans ran onto the field after the team’s victory over previously #19-ranked Stanford a few weeks ago, I could not help but to be overcome by emotion. The city of San Diego has suffered greatly this past year, and this victory did volumes towards lifting the heavy hearts of San Diego sports fans in this trying time.
As this school gains a reputation and builds for the future, there are certain players who exemplify what it means to be an Aztec. These players are truly Aztecs for life and that is just not a common phrase used by alumni. Rashaad Penny is an Aztec for life. The young man looks poised to play on Sundays very soon, as he is powered by his work ethic and drive for success.
Penny is a hard-nosed runner who continually gains extra yardage after contact. In the NFL, you are not going to run over your opposition and there are very few backs who can run away from the defense. With that being said, you need a running back who is unafraid to initiate contact and more importantly after said contact, he simply needs to fall forward. If a running backs gets 20-30 carries in a game and is able to fall forward each time for an extra yard of two, those add up. Think about it, an extra 40 yards or so on an NFL day is the difference between a mediocre back and a productive one.
The value of Rashaad Penny is not measurable. Not only is he one of the best tailbacks in the nation, but he is a team player and a leader.
Juwan Washington is a second-year back who has received his share of carries thus far this season. Penny has taken it upon himself to mentor this young man. A team atmosphere is what makes this Aztecs squad special. In the ultimate team sport, the Aztecs all pull in the same direction for a common goal. Coach Rock Long deserves much praise for creating this mentality among his players.
If you have failed to support this team and you live in San Diego, then shame on you. The San Diego State Aztecs deserve our attention, especially in the day and age we live in. Their play on the field is NOT money-driven and you can absolutely count on the school and its program to remain in San Diego forever. The team is currently 5-0 for the first time in decades. They are an exciting unit, that has a star (Penny), and is getting national recognition. If that doesn’t motivate you, I sincerely don’t know what will. Get your butt out to the stadium and support this team. Go Aztecs!