#54 San Diego State Football 2013 Preview

San Diego State Aztecs

Overall Rank: #54
Mountain West Rank: #3

San Diego State Team Page#54 San Diego State Football 2013 PreviewBuy San Diego State Football Tickets

November 23 should be one for the ages. That's when Boise State, the big kahunas of the Mountain West Conference, travel to San Diego to take on the Aztecs. You see, last time the two teams faced off, Boise was 7-1 and ranked 19th in the country. San Diego State's upset over the Broncos ruined one season while putting a stamp on another. For a point of reference, the 10-2 Broncos went on to play in the MAACO Bowl. The 11-1 Broncos, I think, may have had a slightly better bowl offer. As for the Aztecs, 2012 made it a trifecta of impressive seasons in a row and now Head Coach Rocky Long will be trying to make it a trifecta of his own after joining SDSU in 2011 and leading the crew to back to back bowls.

2012 Record: (9-4, 7-1)
2012 Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU (L 6-23)
Coach: Rocky Long (17-9 at San Diego State, 82-78 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bob Toledo
Defensive Coordinator: Rocky Long

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Adam Muema, RB, 1458 yards
Passing: Adam Dingwell, QB, 939 yards
Receiving: Ezell Ruffin, WR, 319 yards
Tackles: Nat Berhe, DB, 94
Sacks: Jake Fely, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Eric Pinkins, S 3

Other Key Returnees: WR Colin Lockett, OL Bryce Quigley, OL Zack Dilley, OL Japheth Gordon, LB Derek Largent, LB Nick Tenhaeff, DB King Holder, S Marcus Andrews

Key Losses: QB Ryan Katz, RB Walter Kazee, TE Gavin Escobar, WR Brice Butler, DB Leon McFadden, DB Josh Wade

As mentioned, San Diego State has put together a handful of good seasons in a row now. Last season's success was mainly thanks to their defense and their running game. The Aztecs finished in the top three in the Mountain West in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense, sacks, tackles for loss and scoring offense. They finished fourth in total offense and rushing offense to boot. And much of that top flight defense is coming back. The team's three big defensive performers (linebacker Jake Fely, defensive back Nat Berhe and DB Eric Pinkins) are all back. In fact SDSU will see the return of an entire corp worth of linebackers as Derek Largent and Nick Tenhaeff are also back. San Diego State should be even better on the defensive end than they were a year ago. To help matters, the running game should be better as well. Rushing leader Adam Muema will look to improve upon a season that saw him finish fourth in the conference in yardage and score 16 times on the ground.

The problems this team will have are as evident as their strengths were. Quarterback Ryan Katz is gone. The team's top two receivers are gone as well, which includes now-NFL tight end Gavin Escobar. Muema's main backup at RB, Walter Kazee, has also departed. That is a ton of offensive production that needs to be accounted for. And the Aztecs were already pretty poor through the air even with all these guys. Their passing offense ranked 103rd in the country. On average, they accumulated more rushing yards per game than passing yards. After allowing a ton of sacks and being poor in the punting game, it is a little bit surprising San Diego State performed as well as they did in 2012. They may not be so lucky this coming season with Ohio State and Oregon State on the schedule before October even rolls around.

The Bottom Line:
A bowl game seems likely. However, repeating atop the Mountain West Conference will take more than one upset win over Boise State. This team returns a lot of talent on defense but will miss as much experience on the offensive side of the ball. A lot hangs on the shoulders of Adam Muema to be one of the best ball carriers in the MWC. A tricky out-of-conference schedule will give SDSU a couple chances to see where they stand before battling their common foes.

Projected Bowl:  Armed Forces Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 220.69 (20th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 175.92 (103, 8)
Total Offense: 396.62 (61, 4)
Scoring Offense: 32.85 (36, 3)
Rushing Defense: 133.46 (28, 1)
Pass Defense: 235.54 (65, 7)
Total Defense: 369.00 (39, 3)
Scoring Defense: 24.38 (42, 3)
Turnover Margin: .08 (55, 5)
Sacks: 2.46 (31, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.69 (99, 9)


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