Aztec Football Ready for Towson on Saturday – SDSU Athletics

AZTECS SET FOR SATURDAY SHOWDOWN WITH TOWSON

*  San Diego State looks for just its second 4-0 start in the last 40 seasons when the Aztecs face Towson, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association located in Towson, Md., Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Game time is set for 12:30 p.m. PT, the earliest start for an Aztec home game since 2017.

* The Aztecs’ only 4-0 start in the last four decades was in 2017 when San Diego State opened 6-0 en route to a 10-3 mark. SDSU recently had other opportunities to extend a 3-0 start but suffered its first loss in a game four three times in the last decade (2011, 2016 and 2019).

* San Diego State enters the week as of one of only 34 unbeaten teams in FBS (130 total teams). Of that group, only nine teams are unbeaten with at least two victories against teams from Power 5 Conference schools – Alabama, Brigham Young, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and San Diego State. Only the Aztecs and Cougars from that list are not current members of a Power 5 league.

* San Diego State is one of just seven undefeated teams that has started two quarterbacks this season. That list includes: Army West Point, Boston College, Georgia, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and San Diego State. 

* San Diego State is making a move toward entrance into the major top 25 polls. The Aztecs have 41 points in the USA Today/AFCA Coaches Poll this week, the 32nd-highest total on the list. SDSU is tied for 33rd in the AP poll with 16 points. This marks the first week the Aztecs have received points in the AP poll this year. San Diego State has appeared inside the AP Top 25 Poll in three of the last five seasons (2016, 2017 and 2019).  

* San Diego State has won four straight “home games” and is 5-1 at its temporary home in Carson, Calif. Since Nov. 2, 2013, the Aztecs are 38-10 in home games, outscoring the opposition by 526 points during that span. SDSU will open its new stadium in Mission Valley on Sept. 3, 3022 against Arizona.

* Last Saturday, San Diego State kept its perfect record intact, defeating Utah, a team that has been ranked as high as No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll this season, 33-31, in triple overtime. The Utes rallied from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to force extra time. The Aztecs clinched the win in triple overtime, converting its 2-point try on a  “Philly Special” with junior wide receiver Jesse Matthews connecting with senior quarterback Lucas Johnson. On Utah’s attempt, a pass was originally called complete on the field, but replay overturned the call securing the SDSU victory (senior linebacker Segun Olubi had the coverage).

* For the second consecutive week, the Aztecs received monster games from all three phases. The offense tallied 33 points and rushed for 204 yards (San Diego State is 50-2 the last 52 times it has rushed for at least 200 yards), the defense allowed only 327 total yards and forced nine punts, and logged its national-leading 118th interception since the start of the 2014 campaign and special teams unit received a 100-yard kickoff return for touchdown by senior Jordan Byrd, SDSU’s national-leading 13th KOR for a score since the start of the 2015 campaign.

* Senior running back Greg Bell produced his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game with 119 yards on a career-high 33 carries and two rushing touchdowns. The Nebraska transfer now has seven career 100-yard games at SDSU in just 10 total games as an Aztec.

* Senior left tackle Zachary Thomas is the top-rated offensive line blocker in the nation according to Pro Football Focus (minimum 90 snaps this season). He owns a grade of 94.0, having no penalties, no sacks allowed and no quarterback hits in 202 snaps this season.

* Johnson, starting his first game of the season, second game of his Aztec career and fourth game of his collegiate career, was an efficient 10-for-19 through the air for 44 passing yards and added 87 rushing yards on eight carries. He did not commit a turnover in the contest.

* In addition to defending the game’s final play, Olubi paced the Aztec defense with a career-high eight tackles and added two quarterback hurries.  He  already has more stops this season (17) than the senior had all of last season (15).

* Junior kicker Matt Araiza continued to show why he is on the Ray Guy Award Watch List posting another monster day. He punted nine times for an average of 51.4 yards per kick with three landing inside the 20-yard line and no touchbacks. He also added a career-long 51 yard field goal in the game. For the season, Araiza has punted 25 times for an average of 53.8 yards (15 have traveled at least 50 yards), while 16 of his 17 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks.

* Defensively, San Diego State has been one of the top units nationally for the better part of a decade. In the 11-games in which Kurt Mattix has served as defensive coordinator (since the start of 2020 season) San Diego State ranks third nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (86.6), rushing touchdowns allowed (5) and  total defense per game (290.6), fourth in yards per rush (2.9), ninth in passing efficiency defense (111.8) and 11th nationally in scoring defense (17.9).

Players Mentioned

Matt Araiza

#2 Matt Araiza

K/P
6′ 2″
200 lbs
Junior
2L

Greg Bell

#22 Greg Bell

RB
6′ 0″
200 lbs
Senior
1L

Jordan Byrd

#15 Jordan Byrd

RB
5′ 9″
170 lbs
Senior
3L

Lucas Johnson

#7 Lucas Johnson

QB
6′ 3″
215 lbs
Senior
SQ

Jesse Matthews

#45 Jesse Matthews

WR
6′ 0″
190 lbs
Junior
2L

Segun Olubi

#24 Segun Olubi

LB/S
6′ 2″
220 lbs
Senior
1L

Zachary Thomas

#76 Zachary Thomas

OL
6′ 5″
300 lbs
Senior
3L