San Diego State looks for a third consecutive 2-0 start for the first time in more than 40 years when the team travels to Tucson for a 7 p.m. Saturday showdown with Arizona.
The meeting will be the first of consecutive games against the Pac-12 Conference. SDSU returns to its temporary home in Carson Sept. 18 to entertain No. 21 Utah.
Head coach Brady Hoke expects Arizona (0-1) “to be all offensive-minded to some degree.” He added he also foresees a Wildcats team “that likes to pressure” on the defensive side.
Since the start of the 2019 season, the Aztecs are 6-4 on the road.
After a shaky first half in their own opener, the Aztecs rattled off 28 unanswered points after the half to defeat New Mexico State, 28-10.
Hoke noted that his team has “got to start faster.”
“That is one of the things that was a little bit of a hangover from a year ago, but we’ve got to do a better job,” he said.
But they did turn it on late. The Aztecs forced three Aggies turnovers to close out the game, including an interception return for a touchdown by senior linebacker Andrew Aleki.
Defensive end Cameron Thomas wants to see more of the same against Arizona.
“Getting to the quarterback is a very big deal and it’s expected out of us,” the junior said. “With our secondary being young, I think it’s important for us to get as much pressure on the
quarterback as possible.”
Other standouts against the Aggies included junior Matt Araiza. He punted nine times for a school-record average of 56.8 yards – four of which pinned the Aggies inside their 20-yard line. In addition, senior running back Greg Bell rushed for a career high 161 yards.
In the victory, San Diego State extended several winning streaks. They include 12 straight wins in non-conference home games and nine straight over New Mexico State.
If they log the win over Arizona, SDSU will open the season 2-0 three years in a row for the first time since 1975-77.