Aztecs welcome Sacramento State for home opener


Aaron Tolentino

Sophomore wide receiver Tim Wilson Jr. runs after the catch during the Aztecs 31-10 loss to Stanford on Aug. 31 at Stanford Stadium.

by Kyle Saunders, Staff Writer

San Diego State football will play its first home game of the season on Sept. 8 when Sacramento State travels to SDCCU Stadium.

This will be the first meeting between the Aztecs and the Hornets.

The teams are coming off opposite results in week one. The Hornets beat St. Francis of Illinois 55-7 at home, while the Aztecs suffered a 31-10 loss at Stanford.

Regardless of last week’s results, SDSU senior quarterback Christian Chapman said the team is focused on winning their first game of the year.

“Bring it home, it’s the first game,” Chapman said. “Get one win under our belt. Take it week by week. Get things rolling, we really need this win.”

SDSU not only has a chance to put the Stanford loss behind them, but also start off a three-game homestand right with a victory Saturday.

The Aztecs are looking to continue to build off a solid performance by junior running back Juwan Washington, who rushed 158 yards on the ground and a touchdown against Stanford.

Head coach Rocky Long said that the Aztecs’ offensive line played better than he expected against the Cardinal, a positive note for the run game.

I thought that we played better at the line of scrimmage than I thought we would,” Long said. “I thought we would be a little outmanned on our offensive line by their defensive line, and that was not the case. We held our own and sometimes we were the better line of scrimmage.

SDSU will have to deal with the Hornets’ two-headed rush attack, featuring sophomore running back Elijah Dotson and junior running back Ja’Narrick James. The two combined for four touchdowns and 144 yards on the ground last week against St. Francis.

Long has taken note of the recent performances by the Hornets.

“They’re a very talented, explosive football team that last year and the first game this year (have) shown they can play the game really, really well,” Long said.

The Hornets come into the game with an offense that racked up over 400 passing yards and 248 rushing yards, along with 55 points on the scoreboard.

Leading the Hornet offense is senior quarterback Kevin Thompson, who started his career in the Mountain West Conference with UNLV before transferring in 2015.

Since his time at Sacramento State, Thompson holds the school’s single-season record in quarterback efficiency at 171.80, and threw for 1,800 yards last year with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.

With all the talk and analysis of last week, Chapman said the Aztecs are ready to move past the loss, and are simply trying to get a home win on Saturday night.

“We’ve just got to come back this week, just trying to win,” Chapman said. “Especially being our first home game, I just want to win.”