Aztecs Football Preview: SDSU Hoping to be Offensive in 2021

San Diego State looks for points to support stellar defense

In 2020, SDSU's football team was really good on one side of the ball. The Aztecs ranked 3rd in the nation in total defense and 11th in scoring defense.

In 2020, SDSU's football team was really not very good on one side of the ball. The Aztecs were 97th in total offense and 93rd in scoring offense.

If they can find a happy medium the Aztecs have a chance to be very, very good in 2021.

While the defense lost three starters from their secondary they bring back an experienced, extremely talented front that averaged more sacks a game than traditional powers like LSU, Oregon and Texas. Senior linebacker Caden McDonald and junior defensive lineman Cameron Thomas are both sack-a-game talents so the Aztecs should be tough to score on again this season.

If Jordon Brookshire is the answer at quarterback then the offense will carry its weight in 2021. After trying Carson Baker (who was ineffective) and Lucas Johnson (who got hurt) Brookshire started the final two games a year ago, winning once and nearly engineering an upset of BYU on the road. He earned the starting spot through training camp with Johnson and true freshman Will Haskell backing him up.

Brookshire has veteran receivers in Jesse Matthews and Kobe Smith and talented tight end Daniel Bellinger to rely on but the passing game will only need to be serviceable because this team is loaded with running backs.

A quartet of seniors should all get plenty of reps and all of them could be feature backs in different programs. Greg Bell, Kaegun Williams, Chance Bell and Jordan Byrd have all scored touchdowns from at least 25 yards out in their careers. Ready to launch behind them is redshirt freshman Jaylon Armstead, a 5'11", 220 pounder who runs like a dude 20 pounds lighter.

Head coach Brady Hoke has been extremely complimentary of that group and an offensive line that's shown improvement under new position coach (and former San Diego Chargers guard) Mike Goff.

On special teams, junior kicker Matt Araiza is one of the best in the Mountain West conference (he might end up with punting duties, as well). Byrd is one of the most explosive kick returners in the nation while he and Matthews will likely share punt return duties.

The season opener against New Mexico State should be a walk in the park. After that the Aztecs get a pair of Pac-12 opponents with a trip to Tucson to face Arizona before hosting Utah at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. After beating up on Towson, Mountain West Conference play starts and the schedule there is favorable.

The toughest test is a trip to defending MWC champs San Jose State. The other best teams in the conference are Fresno State, Boise State and Nevada. The Aztecs get them all at home.

Taking all that into consideration the Aztecs ceiling is 10-2 while their floor is 6-6. I'm thinking they probably split the difference and go a very respectable 8-4, which will be plenty good enough to get them back to a bowl game.

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