In their season opener against UNLV, San Diego State’s defense was phenomenal. The Aztecs allowed just 25 yards of total offense in the 1st half and won 34-6.
A lot of their players are kinda ticked off about it.
“Our goal as a defense is to pitch a shutout. Anything less than that, to us, is unacceptable,” says SDSU defensive lineman Keshawn Banks, who had five tackles against the Rebels. “That’s the motto we live by. If it’s not a shutout it’s a decent game. If it is a shutout we’ve always got more to do and more to learn from. We’re never really content with what we do until we win the conference championship.”
Their next chance to hang a goose egg will be at Utah State on Halloween night. A year ago the Aztecs lost at home to the Aggies 23-16.
A lot of their players are still kinda ticked off about it.
“There’s definitely a chip on our shoulder,” says Banks. “What’s in the past is in the past but we’re not content with losing to anyone. It’s definitely something that’s talked about in the locker room and on the field so we’re going to go out and try and take care of business so it won’t be something that occurs next year.”
In that loss Utah State had Jordan Love at quarterback. Love was on his way to being a first round NFL Draft pick by the Green Bay Packers but in that game he didn’t throw a single touchdown pass. The only other team to keep Love from throwing a TD? The eventual national champs from LSU.
For a Mountain West program losing a player of Love’s caliber is tough to overcome.
“There’s no doubt. I mean, there’s no doubt, when you’ve got a first round Draft pick as your quarterback you’re going to look a little different,” says SDSU head coach Brady Hoke.
The replacement is Jason Shelley, a transfer from Utah. His first start for the Aggies was not great, with just 92 yards passing and an interception in a blowout loss at Boise State. The Aztecs think that was an anomaly.
“(He’s) a guy who’s started five games in the Pac-12. He has experience, he’s very athletic,” says Hoke. “They ran into a little bit of a buzzsaw up at Boise.”
Even after that inauspicious debut and a lack of Love, the Aztecs are expecting to see the same style of attack that beat them at SDCCU Stadium a year ago.
“They want to do similar things to what they did last year,” says Banks. “They want to spread us out, they want to run zone, they want to air out the ball. They have a new transfer quarterback so nothing surprises me. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before and nothing that scares us.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm on Halloween night. Let’s hope that afterwards nobody on the defense is kinda ticked off about it.