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

Three observations from the Aztecs’ 38-7 win over Utah State

Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics
Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker scrambles away from UNLV defenders during the Aztecs’ 34-6 win over the Runnin’ Rebels on Oct. 24 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

San Diego State football went into Logan, Utah on Halloween night riding high from their win over UNLV last weekend and came away with a 38-7 victory over the Utah State Aggies. 

The Aztecs dominated both sides of the ball to improve to 2-0 on the year and get their first road win. SDSU now finds itself tied at the top of the Mountain West Conference.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game.

1. Second half emergence

Coming out of the locker room at halftime, SDSU was only up 10-7. The Aztecs outgained the Aggies in yards by a total of 225-136 in the first half, but couldn’t translate that advantage to points on the board. 

Following a penalty and sack to sophomore quarterback Carson Baker, it appeared momentum was swinging in the Aggies’ favor. SDSU then marched 91 yards down the field en route to a touchdown by senior running back Greg Bell. Without looking back, the Aztecs went on to score three more touchdowns in the second half to get to 2-0.

Head Coach Brady Hoke said coming out of halftime swinging is something he had been preaching to his team since last week.

“We had talked about it since last week, we talked about it after the football game and obviously it was something (we wanted), to be a more complete football team,” Hoke said. “We want to go out there and take every opportunity to play the best we can… I thought the guys went out there and did that today.”

2. Dominating rushing performance

Dropping 38 points is typically indicative of an entire offense performing well, but the Aztecs’ running game stole the show on Saturday. 

SDSU rushed for 407 yards, with Greg Bell leading the way at 161 yards on the ground. Junior running back Chance Bell was just behind him with 98 rushing yards of his own.

The longest run of the night came from junior running back Jordan Byrd, who bursted for a 72 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to cap off the win. 

In the postgame press conference, Greg Bell made sure to credit his offensive linemen for his performance. 

“My (offensive) line blocked real well tonight and opened a lot of holes for me and everything worked out well,” Bell said. 

Through two games now, the Aztecs have averaged 357.5 yards per contest and continue to spread the wealth to each of their six running backs. Each back rushed for at least 20 yards in Saturday’s win. 

With a plethora of options at tail back, Hoke said running backs coach Jeff Horton has created an environment where guys want to see each other succeed. 

“The one thing that coach Horton (has) is a great room,” Hoke said. “He’s got guys who care about each other, he’s got guys who are happy when one of them have a success… We’ve got a great set of backs, every one of them is very valuable to us and this team.” 

3. Defense still reigns

Had it not been for a last-second touchdown heave from Utah State quarterback Jason Shelley as the first half clock expired, SDSU would have held the Aggies to zero points. 

Despite the one mistake, the Aztecs’ defense held Utah State to 215 yards and just 11 first downs. 

SDSU also managed to get three turnovers, with two interceptions and one fumble recovery. 

“Overall, I thought they played with a great physicalness at the line of scrimmage and then we’re fortunate to have guys at the back end that like to tackle and like to hit,” Hoke said. 

Utah State struggled to get anything going offensively, only averaging 3.84 yards per carry.

Senior safety Dwayne Johnson Jr. said his defense comes to games with one goal in mind: holding opponents to zero points.

“I feel like we have a great momentum right now,” Johnson Jr. said. “(We’re) playing fast, physical, and we’re trying to shut teams out. There really ain’t nothing left to be said, to be honest.”


About the Contributor
Luis Lopez, Assistant Sports Editor
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Three observations from the Aztecs’ 38-7 win over Utah State