Aztec Football: San Diego State to Test Mettle Against Sun Devils

San Diego State’s WR Fred Trevillion catches a pass during the game between UC Davis Aggies and the Aztecs on Sept. 02, 2017 at San Diego Stadium in San Diego California. (Photo by Tom Walko/Icon Sportswire)

San Diego State is hoping to start its season with two consecutive wins when it faces Arizona State this weekend in Tempe, Ariz.

The last time the Aztecs went 2-0 at the start of the season was in 2011 but the Sun Devils won’t make it easy for them. Under the new offensive coordinator Billy Napier, ASU has revamped its passing attacks, which has the potential for big plays.

The Sun Devils demonstrated that potential last week in the 37-31 win over the New Mexico State Aggies. ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in that game. San Diego State coach Rocky Long, however, is not discounting how deep ASU’s bench is.

“Well, they’re a spread football team, they’ve got great skill at wide receiver, they’ve got great skill at running back and they have an outstanding quarterback,” he said. “They put pressure on you wherever you want them to put pressure on you.”

The Sun Devils, however, are not consistent in their offense. In their season opener, the offense scored on their the first two drives and didn’t score again until the third quarter. The Aztecs, however, have been consistent in their defense.

Last week in the win against the UC Davis Aggies, San Diego State’s defense forced three turnovers (including two interceptions) and recorded eight tackles for loss. Since 2015, the SDSU leads the nation in interception with 51.

“You know, turnovers are an amazing thing and we’ve been lucky to get a lot of turnovers the last couple years. Sometimes that will dry up on you,” Long said. “So if we can get the quarterback to make some more bad throws, we’ll get more interceptions.”

Saturday’s game is one of two back-to-back meetings with a Pacific 12 Conference team.

“It’ll be an opportunity for us to see where we stand as far as where we are with that kind of competition level,” Long said. “I’m sure our players are looking forward to it and the heat’s not supposed to be too bad.”

Saturday’s game starts at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally on the Pac-12 Network.