San Diego State (2-3, 0-1 Mountain West) has another tough date on the schedule, at 5 p.m. Saturday on the road against unbeaten Air Force, ahead of the Aztecs’ first bye week.
The Falcons (4-0, 2-0 MW) enter the game on a nine-game win streak, dating back to last season, with a significant number of returning players.
Air Force, which runs an option offense led by quarterback Zac Larrier, also has won four straight home games.
“You don’t see it a lot and it’s always harder when you have good athletes in those positions. I think they’ve recruited very well,” said head coach Brady Hoke.” The quarterback, he was a track guy also, so when he gets out on the edge, he can go. Offensively, they’re a good football team.”
The Falcons top college football in rushing offense at 340.5 yards per game, while Larrier has run for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
Linebacker Zyrus Fiaseu cites the Sam Houston game, in which Air Force scored just 13 in a winning effort – they put 39 or more points on the board in their three other 2023 contests – as the template for slowing the Falcons.
“It’s all about stopping the run,” Fiaseu said. “When you stop the run, you force them to do things that they’re not as good at, which is passing.”
Top performers for the Aztecs in last week’s loss to Boise State include true freshman wide receiver Baylin Brooks. In his breakout game, he set career highs in receptions with 5 and receiving yards, 117, while logging his first career touchdown.
He also became the first Aztec true freshman with at least 100 receiving yards since Az Hakim had 143 at Wyoming on Oct. 22, 1994 and just the fourth in SDSU’s Division I history (since 1969).
In addition, senior Brionne Penny added a career-high 97 yards as San Diego State almost had its first game with multiple 100-yard receivers since Dec. 3, 2011.
“Seeing young kids like Baylin get out there and play, and really turn it on for us, it’s been huge for our confidence as a whole unit,” offensive lineman Cade Bennett said. “We just have to keep pushing. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re on our way.”