Three Keys to an Aztec Victory
Rush for over 200 yards
The Aztecs, after rushing for over 200 yards and winning each of their first three games this season, are now 50-2 in their last 52 games when rushing over 200 yards.
The Tigers allow 177 rushing yards per game, including giving up 328 against North Dakota State last weekend. While the Aztecs rushed for 204 yards against the Utes this past Saturday night, they only averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Removing Lucas Johnson’s 54-yard run in the 3rd quarter, the average drops to 3.4. Greg Bell received 33 of the 45 carries in that game.
While Bell is expected to continue to carry a big load Saturday, look for the Aztecs to get their primary backups more involved in this one as they look to keep Bell fresh heading into conference play and the remainder of the season.
Win the turnover margin
SDSU has now committed one turnover or less in 19 of its last 24 games, including the last two games against Pac-12 opponents. Towson won the turnover margin by 1-0 against North Dakota State and still lost by 28 points.
Coach Hoke discussed during his weekly press conference that while the defense has done a great job limiting the opponent’s offense, “we’ve got to create more turnovers.” After creating three turnovers in the 3rd quarter against New Mexico State, the Aztecs have only created one interception in each of the past two games. Look for the Aztecs to turn up the heat in this game and force at least three Tiger turnovers.
Utilize play-action for big plays to wide receivers
Outside of the 40 yard TD pass from Brookshire to Ethan Dedeaux against Arizona, the Aztecs downfield passing game has been non-existent. The two big plays to tight end Daniel Bellinger in that same game were passes that did not travel past the line of scrimmage but led to a big yardage play due to his run after catch. The primary X and Z wide receivers, Jesse Matthews, Tyrell Shavers, Kobe Smith, and Elijah Kothe, have combined for eight receptions for 63 yards. The Aztecs’ passing offense and passing efficiency rank 125th and 109th in the FBS, respectively.
Given the Tigers will come into this game intent on stopping the run by loading up against it, the Aztecs will be able to utilize that over-aggressiveness for numerous opportunities to hit plays down the field in man-to-man coverage.