Opinion: Aztecs deserve packed stadium for Mountain West Conference Championship


Jenna Meyer

SDSU football is 11-1, and is heading to the Mountain West Conference Championship game in Carson on Dec. 4.

by Jenna Meyer, Senior Staff Writer

After a completed and historic regular season for San Diego State Football, it all comes down to the Mountain West Conference Championship Game on Dec. 4. 

The Scarlet and Black secured the West Division after defeating Boise State in an early morning 9 a.m. matchup the day after Thanksgiving. While the Broncos (7-5, 5-3 MWC) were the first to strike and led SDSU 16-3, the Aztecs (11-1, 7-1 MWC) had the last laugh defeating the Broncos 27-16.

Now the Scarlet and Black hold their own fate, looking towards one more game in Carson, CA, taking on the Utah State Aggies (9-3 overall, 6-2 conference) at noon in a matinee matchup. 

The Aztecs have spent the entirety of the past two seasons at their home away from home in Carson at Dignity Health Sports Park while the new Aztec Stadium progresses towards completion. 

While many loyal fans and students have made the roadtrip, it has not been enough to fill the stands of the sports park with a capacity of just 27,000.

To give a brief rundown of the highlight reel of a season for the Aztecs, here are a few of their crowning achievements. 

Two preseason PAC-12 Wins 

The Aztecs traveled to their first away game of the season, taking on the University of Arizona. From the beginning, the Aztecs dominated and defeated the wildcats in a detrimental way 38-14. 

The following week, the Scarlet and Black went head to head with the Utah Utes. The Utes put up more of a fight and would not go down easy, taking the Aztecs into triple overtime but the Aztecs persevered and came out on top 33-31.

A full season of “away games” and always on the road 

Because the Aztecs played in Carson, every game has been a road game. 

There is no true home field advantage that comes with playing two hours away from campus, students and fans, but the Aztecs have more than managed to continue to succeed.

The team has quickly adapted to a new environment and built their strong resume throughout a season of essentially all away games.

11-1 Overall, 7-1 Conference Records 

While balancing the factor of an entire schedule of “away” games, the team has managed to stay consistent in wins with only one mid-season loss to Fresno State in the Battle for the Old Oil Can.

The Aztecs’ most notable wins include Arizona, Utah, Air Force, and the season finale against Boise State. 

Additionally, the Scarlet and Black were forced into two thrilling overtime matchups with Utah and San Jose State.

AP Poll and College Football Playoff Ranking 

The Aztecs have held their own in both the AP Poll and College Football Playoff rankings. 

The 2021 season was the first time in program history the Scarlet and Black have made it into the College Football Playoff rankings — another historic and monumental section on the resume.

Going into the championship and a potential bowl game selection, SDSU holds #19 in the AP Poll and #19 in the CFP ranking.

Standout players and National Attention

The Aztecs have had two standout players in the 2021 season — former walk-on wide receiver, junior Jesse Matthews, and junior kicker/punter, Matt Araiza. 

Matthews — a two-time player of the game — has made a huge impact in two of the most recent games at UNLV and against Boise State. At UNLV, Matthews had his season high of receiving three touchdowns, leading the Aztecs to defeat the Rebels 28-20. 

Against Boise State, Matthews achieved another season high with 133 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. His agility and big-play ability is a big contribution to SDSU’s offensive efforts. 

Kicker/punter, Matt Araiza, nicknamed ‘Punt God’ by Twitter users, has gone viral and appeared in national news for his record breaking season of kicking and punting. 

Arazia — a six-time player of the game and four-time Mountain West special teams player of the week — has written an impressive resume for himself with highlights including three tackles against Utah, his longest field goal of 53 yards, a punt of 86 yards at San Jose State, an 81-yard punt against Air Force, and the game winning field goal to secure the Homecoming win against Nevada. 

Awaiting the Big Game and going for the championship

While to many students and fans the trip to Carson is a trek, the Aztecs deserve a packed stadium for their final game at Dignity Health Sports Park.

SDSU Athletics has encouraged students to attend games by taking advantage of free mobile student tickets and purchasing $5 fan bus tickets for round-trip transportation to games. They have created an effortless way for students to travel to Carson and it’s time, for the last game of the season, for students to utilize this. 

A call to action for all SDSU students, fans, and alumni: find a way to get to Saturday’s game to cheer on the Aztecs. Their resume and season deserves a packed stadium and electric crowd for their last game in Dignity Health before moving to Aztec Stadium next fall. 

For more information on acquiring game day tickets or transportation, visit https://goaztecs.com/sports/football


Jenna Meyer is a senior studying communications and media studies. Follow her on Twitter @jennaameyer