Caden McDonald in action in the Aztecs’ 23-21 win over Nevada. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan, via

San Diego State can control its own destiny Friday when the Aztecs take on Boise State, one of three teams vying for a spot in the Mountain West championship game.

No. 22 SDSU (10-1, 6-1 MW) stands alone in the West Division, but Boise State (7-4, 5-2 MW) is joined by Air Force and Utah State atop the Mountain Division.

San Diego State, though, could get good news Thanksgiving night. The Aztecs’ regular-season finale, at 9 a.m. in their temporary home in Carson, follows Fresno State’s game at San José State.

If the Bulldogs lose Thursday, SDSU clinches the West and heads to the championship match, regardless of Friday’s outcome.

But if Fresno State (8-3, 5-2 MW) wins and SDSU falls – leaving both teams at 6-2 – the tiebreaker goes to the Bulldogs, who handed the Aztecs their only loss of the season last month.

Linebacker Caden McDonald is well aware of the stakes – and Boise State’s recent play. The Broncos own a four-game winning streak, and are “definitely playing their best football right now,” the senior said.

“They’re peaking at the right time … Their whole offense is rocking and rolling right now,” he said. “Our game plan is to try and stop them as a whole (offense).”

SDSU is No. 21 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, down two spots, probably due to their narrow victory over UNLV last week, after being heavily favored.

Head coach Brady Hoke acknowledged the win “was not pretty,” but took solace in that “the team hung in there and played together.”

If they continue to do so, San Diego State could log another milestone Friday. In 99 years of the school’s football program, no team has ever won 11 regular-season games in a single campaign.

The 2021 team has matched SDSU’s best start since finishing 11-0 in 1969 and 10-1 in 1977.

San Diego State and Boise State will meet for the seventh time. In their last game, in 2018, the Aztecs prevailed 19-13. The series is tied 3-3, with four of the previous six games decided by six points or less.

Prior to the game, at Dignity Health Sports Park, the Aztecs will honor 32 seniors, some of whom will play their final regular-season game. Some seniors, though, are expected to return by taking the extra year of eligibility offered by the NCAA due to 2020’s COVID-19 impacted season.

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