#38 San Diego FCS Football 2021 Preview

San Diego Toreros
Overall Rank: #38
#1 Pioneer
 San Diego Logo
For the first time since Coach Dale Lindsey took over the program in 2013, San Diego failed to win at least a share of the Pioneer League title. The Toreros started off 3-0, but there were signs of potential trouble after beating Drake and Presbyterian by just three points. Then San Diego lost at home to a good Davidson team. They still could have won a share of the title though before a shocking upset loss at Valparaiso put an end to that little streak.
2020-21 Record: 4-2, 3-2
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Dale Lindsey (68-21 at San Diego, 68-21 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tyler Sutton
Defensive Coordinator: Bobby Jay
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Emilio Martinez, RB, 461 yards
Passing: Mason Randall, QB, 1,561 yards
Receiving: Michael Carner, WR, 538 yards
Tackles: Kyle Bilchik, LB, 38
Sacks: Kyle Bilchik, LB, 2.5; Muhindo Kapapa, DL, 2.5
Interceptions: Michael Hawkins, CB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Terrence Smith, WR Christian Brown, TE Derek Kline, OL DJ Wright, LB Kama Kamaka, S Hunter Nichols, CB Zamir Wallace
Key Losses: DL Kevin Glajchen, DL Chris Reese
The -1.17 turnover margin was a big reason for San Diego’s struggles last year. Quarterback Mason Randall threw 11 interceptions compared to just ten touchdowns. That was his first season as the starter though and improved decision making should be expected in 2021. Wide receivers Michael Carner and Christian Brown and tight ends Derek Kline and Michael Gadinis are quality targets and will help make Randall’s life easier in the pocket. Carner led the way in the spring season, catching 35 passes for 538 yards and four scores. The ground game will again be led by Emilio Martinez. His 4.6 yards per carry last season was not great, but with an experienced offensive line returning, Martinez should have a better campaign in the fall.
The front line lost First-Team All-PFL honorees Kevin Glajchen and Chris Reese, but the rest of the defense returns relatively intact. Muhindo Kapapa will be the new star of the defensive front. Linebacker Kyle Bichik tallied a team high 38 tackles and added 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles-for-loss. Nickelback Kama Kamaka, cornerback Michael Hawkins and safety Hunter Nichols all earned First-Team accolades last season and this should be a very effective secondary.
The Bottom Line:
The first four games of San Diego’s season will likely be the most interesting. They start with non-conference home games against Cal Poly and UC Davis before traveling to Montana State. And then PFL play begins with a trip to Davidson. That game could very well decide who wins the league and reaches the playoffs.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2020-21 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 108.8 (73rd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 260.2 (16, 1)
Total Offense: 369.0 (35, 2)
Scoring Offense: 23.7 (48, 2)
Rushing Defense: 78.8 (7, 2)
Pass Defense: 187.2 (36, 4)
Total Defense: 266.0 (9, 1)
Scoring Defense: 17.5 (11, 2)
Turnover Margin: -1.17 (89, 6)
Sacks: 3.17 (13, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.17 (12, 3)