#28 San Diego 2018 FCS Football Preview

San Diego Toreros
Overall Rank: #28
#1 Pioneer
 San Diego Logo
San Diego has been on a steady rise nationally under the guidance of head coach Dale Lindsey. The Toreros have won a road FCS playoff game in each of the past two seasons as they dominated Northern Arizona 41-10 in the first round down in Flagstaff, Arizona last year. San Diego went to North Dakota State and lost 38-3 to the Bison but still have plenty of reason for optimism and excitement heading into the 2018 season as they are the favorite in the Pioneer League once again.
2017 Record: 10-3, 8-0
2017 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Dale Lindsey (46-13 at San Diego, 46-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Christian Taylor and Jim Jackson
Defensive Coordinator: Bobby Jay
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Emilio Martinez, RB, 1,033 yards
Passing: Anthony Lawrence, QB, 3,131 yards
Receiving: Michael Bandy, WR, 367 yards
Tackles: KJ Mahoney, LB, 64
Sacks: Connor Spencer, DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Two players with 2 each
Other Key Returnees: S Daniel Tolbert, CB David Tolbert, OL Nolan Bisogno, OL Jake Michaels, OL Aidan Valencia, DL Kevin Glajchen, DL Chris Reese, DB Arrion Archie,
Key Losses: RB Blake Martin, WR Justin Priest, TE Ross Dwelley, RB Joseph Binda Jr., S Colton Giorgi, DL Jonathan Petersen, NB Max Michaels, OL Joe Hurney, OL Trevor Provencio, OL Miles McArdle, DB Kishan Patel, K Patrick Murray, P Jack Flatau
Anthony Lawrence returns at quarterback this season and that should accelerate the reloading process that will take place on offense. Lawrence completed 65.5 percent of his passes last season and threw 33 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. Emilio Martinez will lead the running game. He had an excellent freshman season rushing for 1,033 yards and ten touchdowns. The wide receiver corps has some work to do as they need to replace the lost production of wide receiver Jason Priest and tight end Ross Dwelley. Michael Bandy is the top returning pass catcher for the Toreros after catching 25 passes for 367 yards in just nine games. If Bandy can play an entire season he should get near 50 or more catches this season. The offensive line will take some time to gel as there is a lot of experience that needs to be replaced. Nolan Bisogno, Jake Michaels, and Aidan Valencia are prime candidates to be the core of the 2018 offensive line for San Diego.
Jonathan Petersen was one of the best pass rushers in all of FCS football last season as Petersen racked up 18 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss. Thus, there will be a huge challenge for San Diego along the defensive front to replace that lost production from Petersen. Connor Spencer, Kevin Glajchen, and Chris Reese should have more opportunities to rack up sacks this fall. So, it should be an interesting fall camp to see who steps up and takes control of the defensive line. KJ Mahoney will lead the linebacker position after tallying 64 tackles last year. Slowing down opposing teams in the passing game will need to happen this fall for the Toreros. San Diego allowed 261.4 passing yards per game last season. David and Daniel Tolbert will need to come up with even more big plays this fall as they combined for four interceptions last season.
The Bottom Line:
The schedule starts off with a visit from Western New Mexico for the home opener followed by road trips to UC Davis and Harvard. You can expect probably a 2-1 start for the Toreros before the start conference play. Stetson visits to kickoff the conference schedule and that will set the tone for the rest of the conference slate. San Diego defeated the Hatters 48-7 down in Deland last season. The toughest test in conference play might come from Dayton as they limited the Toreros to 23 points last September in a 23-7 contest. Overall, if the offensive line can be rebuilt quickly, you can expect San Diego to win nine or ten regular season games and win the Pioneer Football League once again in 2018.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 167.6 (47th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 254.2 (25, 4)
Total Offense: 421.8 (28, 2)
Scoring Offense: 36.4 (7, 1)
Rushing Defense: 93.8 (10, 1)
Pass Defense: 261.4 (111, 11)
Total Defense: 355.2 (53, 4)
Scoring Defense: 17.5 (13, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.85 (14, 2)
Sacks: 2.54 (31, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 0.62 (2, 1)