New Mexico vs. #25 San Diego State: Keys to an Aztec Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction – MWWire

San Diego State entered the AP Top 25 this week.

Contact/Follow @tedmcgovern & @MWCwire

Brady Hoke’s #25 Aztecs face off against Danny Gonzales’ Lobos featuring Defensive Coordinator Rocky Long.

Carson, CA- SDSU is one of only 17 undefeated teams in FBS and one of two in the Mountain West along with Wyoming.

Aztecs head coach Brady Hoke said last week that while being undefeated at this point in the season is great, he wants to use what they have learned so far to win a championship.

WEEK 6: New Mexico Lobos (2-3, 0-1 Mountain West) vs. #25 San Diego State Aztecs (4-0, 0-0 Mountain West)

WHEN: Saturday, October 9th — 9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST

WHERE: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA  (27,000)

TV: Fox Sports 1

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS1, by following this link.

RADIO: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 / iHeart Radio App / SiriusXM ch. 383

SERIES RECORD: This will be the 43rd matchup between these two schools. San Diego State leads, 27-15; SDSU has won 7 straight games.

LAST WEEK: San Diego State was on a bye week, while New Mexico lost  against Air Force 38-10.

ODDS: San Diego State -19.5


Saturday night will be former head coach Rocky Long’s first game against SDSU since resigning as head coach in January 2020. Long took over as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Lobos after nine seasons as head coach at SDSU.

The game also marks the homecoming of former Aztec Safeties Coach and Defensive Coordinator Danny Gonzales, who left the Aztecs in 2018 after seven years to become the Defensive Coordinator at Arizona State. Gonzales is now in his second year as Head Coach of the Lobos.

Both coaches played football at New Mexico and spent time coaching at their alma mater before coming to San Diego State, which makes their return emotional. Coach Long was the head coach at New Mexico from 1998 through 2008, while coach Gonzales was either a player or an assistant on his staff in that eleven-year span.

This game should be an emotional one for not only the two Lobo coaches but for the Aztec players and coaches as well. A large percentage of the current Aztecs players were recruited to and played at San Diego State during Long’s tenure as head coach. Two players, running back Jordan Byrd and defensive end Keshawn Banks, are from the New Mexico area and were recruited by Gonzales when he was a coach at SDSU.

It will be a hard-fought contest between two teams with tremendous respect and appreciation for each other.

1. Pressurize Terry Wilson

New Mexico quarterback Terry Wilson is a prolific passer.  Wilson is a Kentucky transfer and was second all-time there with 17 wins, and was the only player in school history with over 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. Wilson will likely unleash an air assault in this game.  He has been intercepted three times so far this season, so the Aztecs secondary might be able to add a couple more to the tally if they put the pressure on him.  San Diego State leads FBS in total interceptions since 2014.

Aztecs must remember that Wilson won’t hesitate to run for the chains.  If the Aztecs defensive line cuts down his play time the pressure might cause him to make mistakes, and fail to advance.

The Lobos average just 302.6 yards total on offense, ranking 121st in FBS.

2. Tailback Attack

Remarkably, the Lobos have not yet mastered the 3-3-5 defense- a signature Rocky Long formation.  It can take some programs three or more years to get it right, but this is a genuine surprise.  Because of the fact, the Lobos allowed 408 yards on the ground against Air Force last week, and the Aztecs can definitely capitalize on the Lobos’ disorganization.  San Diego State might be wise to run the ball repeatedly while the Lobos still get their bearings.  Jordan Byrd could have a stellar game against his New Mexico opponent.

3. Agitate Agitate Agitate the Lobos

Brady Hoke will know what the Lobos will attempt to do.  In this match, however, the Aztecs are playing like a well-oiled machine.  The Lobos, on the other hand, are playing like an engine with sugar in the gas tank.  Frustration will kick in for the Lobos and if provoked, they will likely make penalties that will further set them back to a point that is not recoverable.

If the Aztecs really want to frustrate the Lobos somebody should remind Coach Long that, had he stayed in San Diego, the new Aztec Stadium would likely have eventually featured Rocky Long Field.  Long likely would have passed Don Coryell as the winningest coach in SDSU history- a record that could have stood for decades


In a year or two, the Lobos might be one of the top teams in the Mountain West; however they just have not arrived yet.  The Aztecs ARE the top team in the Mountain West now, and have defeated two Pac-12 teams this season alone.  They’re playing like a top 15 team, and the Lobos won’t be able to contain them whatsoever.

Final Score: New Mexico 17, San Diego State 41