San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Football travels to Logan to take on Utah State

Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics
Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker attempts to escape a defender during the Aztecs’ 34-6 win over UNLV on Oct. 24 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

San Diego State football is headed to Logan, Utah where the Aztecs will kick off their first road game of 2020 against Utah State on Oct. 31. While the Aztecs cruised to their first victory of the season against UNLV on Oct. 24, Utah State suffered their first loss of the season at Boise State. 

The Aggies looked similar to UNLV in week one. Both teams had weak offensive passing performances, their defenses looked overwhelmed, their kickers missed extra points and experienced some success running the ball.

Both teams also got beat by multiple scores last Saturday. 

The Aggies’ offense was nowhere to be seen until the second half and only amounted thirteen points the entire game.

Passing game

The Aggies entered 2020 without former quarterback Jordan Love. To replace him, Utah State called on junior quarterback Jason Shelley, a Utah transfer who hadn’t started a game since his freshman year with the Utes. 

“This is a guy who started five games in the Pac-12” SDSU Head Coach Brady Hoke said. “He has experience, he’s very athletic.”

 Shelley completed 14 of his 27 passes for a measly 92 yards and an interception against Boise State Saturday night. The receiving corp for the Aggies struggled to get open against Boise State’s secondary.

Junior receiver Deven Thompkins led the team with five catches for 37 yards while also converting the team’s longest reception of the day for 13 yards.

Utah State failed to get any formidable passing game going, throwing for the fewest yards in the Mountain West Conference in the first week of play. Whether this was due to a strong Boise State secondary or if the Aggies were getting their ‘first-game jitters’ out of the way, one area of the offense seemed to flounder but another seemed to come on late and showed the toughness of the Utah State offense. 

Run game

Both of Utah State’s touchdowns came in the second half. Senior running back Jaylen Warren led the rushing attack with 23 carries for 89 yards and both of the Aggies’ touchdowns.

As a team, they ran the ball 43 times for 111 yards for an average of 2.6 yards per carry. When the passing game failed to produce in the first half, Utah State went away from their spread offense with three or four wide receiver sets, and switched to a Wing-T with two receivers.

Most of their success on offense came when the running between the tackles. In Utah State’s two scoring drives, they ran a total of 22 plays with 17 of those being running plays. 

“I don’t know if they started the game the way they wanted to, but the second half they really came on.” SDSU Defensive Coordinator Kurt Mattix said. “They were able to establish a run game and put some points on the board. We talked about last week having to defend the top leading rusher from UNLV in the conference. (Warren) is a very hard runner.” 

What to expect

Judging a team off of one game is unwise, but Utah State struggled to find any offensive consistency and gave up a lot of yards after the catch (279 total passing yards). The good news for the Aggies is they get to play at home this Saturday. The elevation and temperature expected to be in the mid-50s in Logan could be a factor against the Aztecs, who practiced in low to mid 90s heat during fall camp. The presence of fans in the stands this week also poses a challenge for the Aztecs. 

“It’ll be noticeable considering we just played a game with no fans at all,” SDSU junior defensive lineman Keshawn Banks said. “It’ll probably be a little louder than the audio we had at our stadium, but for us, it doesn’t really matter. We’re coming to play football.” 

It’s also worth recognizing the challenge Utah State faced going into Boise State to start the season with a new quarterback at the helm. SDSU’s first road trip of 2020 has the potential to be a loss if Utah State can get Shelley up to speed. But if the Aggies fail to do so, expect the Aztecs to roll with momentum on both sides of the ball. 

“We got beat by them last year, so we’ll be coming in with a chip,” SDSU junior running back Kaegun Williams said.

About the Contributor
Andrew Finley, '21-22 Assistant Sports Editor
Andrew Finley is 22 years old and was born and raised in Ramona, Calif. where he resides today. He is a junior who transferred from Grossmont College in fall 2020 with an associate's degree in journalism. During that time, Finley was an assistant football coach for his alma mater Ramona High School. He was hired straight out of high school as the youngest assistant coach on the staff. Finley is now an undergraduate journalism student with aspirations of being a professional sports reporter/analyst once he graduates.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Football travels to Logan to take on Utah State