Los Angeles natives talk about returning home for a game in Rose Bowl

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Los Angeles natives talk about returning home for a game in Rose Bowl

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

by Aaron Tolentino, Sports Editor

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Despite being the home of one of the closest Division I programs to San Diego State football, UCLA has only seen the Aztecs 22 times in almost 100 years.

Saturday will mark the first time the Aztecs are able to make the short 129-mile trip for a non-conference matchup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the first time in a decade when SDSU lost 33-14.

The Aztecs recruit a lot of players from Los Angeles, which makes sense geographically considering that large pool of talent is only about a couple hours away (minus the LA traffic, of course).

10 years later, those Los Angeles natives get to go back home to play in front of a hometown crowd and give their thoughts on this rare experience.

Senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino: Los Angeles, CA; Salesian High School

Growing up as a kid in Los Angeles, senior linebacker Kyahva Tezino had two football teams to root for: USC and UCLA since no NFL team was in the area at the time.

Tezino rooted for USC during the Reggie Bush and Pete Carroll days, marking the first time he started watching football.

He said it’s been a dream of his to play in one of those iconic stadiums: the Rose Bowl or the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play at one of those stadiums,” Tezino said. “I’m just happy we get to play somewhere that’s close in LA.”

There may not be an Aztec that will have more family at Saturday’s game than Tezino.

Tezino expects to have 60 to 70 people show up – including his family, friends, former teachers from Salesian High School and former coaches he had growing up.

Unfortunately for Tezino, SDSU players are only allotted four guest tickets each game. He hopes his teammates not from Los Angeles have extra guest tickets they want to give away.

The good thing for Tezino is he’s been asking teammates since fall camp, so maybe that gives him an advantage in securing those tickets before his other teammates.

Sophomore cornerback Darren Hall: Pasadena, CA; Rancho Cucamonga High School

Tezino might have some competition from sophomore cornerback Darren Hall who hails from Pasadena, the exact city the Rose Bowl is located in.

Any kid playing football from that area would relish the opportunity to play on the Rose Bowl grass.

“Being from Pasadena, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Rose Bowl, so I’m going to have a lot of friends and family there. We’re going to need a hundred tickets for that game,”  Hall said. “Playing in the Rose Bowl is a big thing for me and my family.”

Hall plans to have his immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, god family and plenty of friends over to the game.

Hopefully for Hall and his family, he returns for the game healthy as he missed last week’s game against Weber State due to injury.

“There’s more motivation to be healthy,” Hall told The Daily Aztec. “But don’t want to rush things, taking things slow this week, but I’m looking forward to playing.”

Junior running back Chase Jasmin, Agoura Hills, CA; Westlake High School

Junior running back Chase Jasmin hails from the San Fernando Valley, specifically Agoura Hills. Instead of having to drive more than 155 miles away to SDCCU Stadium, Jasmin’s family only has to travel roughly 37 miles to Pasadena to see their guy play.

Locals from the area dream about playing in the iconic venue, and Jasmine is no different.

“Growing up in that area, the Rose Bowl has always been something everyone wants to play in,” Jasmin said. “It’s definitely going to be a special game to play there and have my family watch me play. It’s kind of a dream come true.”

Jasmin plans on having his grandparents, aunts and uncles come to watch him play, so he’ll need to do a lot of work to ask for extra tickets from his teammates.

He plans to have 15-20 guests, but that won’t change anything in the way he plays.

All that’s different is there might be a little more nerves, but the preparation remains the same.

“There’s nothing different about approaching this game,” Jasmin said. “I’m sure there’s a little extra butterflies (though).”

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