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Aztecs dominate New Mexico 34-10, prepare for season finale against Air Force

San Diego State shows signs of preseason brilliance in 34-10 win over New Mexico.

Before the start of the season, the Aztecs were cautiously optimistic about their chances this football season. Despite losing a few key players to the NFL, they had plenty of backup to fill in. Additionally, the transfer of quarterback Braxton Burmiester from West Virginia seemed to end that controversy. There was much talk of the Aztecs fighting for the Mountain West title and a national ranking. The game against Arizona and the resulting 38-20 loss caused a total team reset and reality check. After three games, the Aztecs were tied 2-1 and suffered two losses to Pac-12 teams. Two games later they were 2-3 after a complete collapse against Boise State. Action was required. Coach Brady Hoke fired offensive coordinator Jeff Hecklinski and assigned the position to Jeff Horton. He also traded safety Jalen Mayden, a former high school quarterback from Texas, to quarterback. He also hired former Aztec star Ryan Lindley to deal with his new quarterback. Never has so much been expected and Hoke has fulfilled his choices. Since then, the Aztecs have been 5-1, the only blemish being a last-minute collapse against western division leaders Fresno State. The Aztecs took this newly buffed achievement and ran wild with their schedule. New Mexico is just the latest casualty in the Aztec bowling journey.

The Aztecs merely established consistent numbers. 459 yards in total offense, 282 passing and 177 rushing. They finally got their 100-yard rusher in Kenon Christon. Mayden threw for 280 of those yards with 15/25 passing and 2 TDs. Mekhi Shaw, championing his newly acquired scholarship, led the Aztecs with 120 yards and 2 points. The Aztecs held the Lobos on 209 yards of offense and 0-11 on third-down conversions. They were also wiped out in the time of possession from 34:38 ​​to 25:22. The Lobos even started freshman quarterback CJ Montes in hopes of making an offensive breakthrough his predecessors couldn’t. He landed 15/23 for 112 yards and an interception. The only real highlight was running back Nicholas Jones with 68 yards on 8 carries, a respectable 8.5 yards. It will have to wait until next year for New Mexico, which is currently 2-9 and playing its final game of the season against Colorado State. It’s difficult to maintain success in Albuquerque, but coach Danny Gonzales is the best person to help develop the team over time. Right now, the Aztecs are looking at the MWC championship game with two of the teams they lost to, Boise State and Fresno State. One hit against the Bulldogs and the Aztecs are in the final. What they have to do now is take care of business against the Air Force.

Air Force Falcons (Conf. 8-3, 4-3, Division 2-3) vs. San Diego State Aztecs (Conf. 7-4, 5-2, Division 3-1)
location: Snap Dragon Stadium, (35,000), San Diego, California

line: Air Force -1.5 (Provided by DraftKingsSportsbooks) Over/Under 43.5 points. The Falcons are slight favorites according to the Oddsmakers. The result prediction appears to be a 23-21 Falcon win. The Falcons have had losses only against their Wyoming, Utah State and Boise State division enemies and have dominated their western division enemies Nevada and UNLV. They come off a 24-12 win over Colorado State.

appointment time: Saturday, November 26 at 6:00 p.m. PST

TV: CBS Sports Network

radio: San Diego Sport 760

Story: This is the 38th meeting between the two teams with the Falcons holding a 19-18 lead. The Aztecs have won nine in a row, including last year’s 20-14 game in Colorado Springs. The teams first met in 1980 with a 13-10 Aztec win. San Diego State averaged 24 points during that stretch.

Aztecs face off against the Air Force

The Air Force’s offense is rooted in an offensive attack rather than an airstrike. They lead the country in rushing for nearly 3,700 yards, averaging 340 yards per game. Who needs to throw when you’ve got one of the best rushers in Brad Roberts at 1,400+ yards a year. The Falcons have won the Commander-in-Chief trophy by defeating both the Navy and Army and had bragging rights in the state after beating both Colorado and Colorado State. With these accomplishments, one would think the Air Force would be sitting well in the conference race. The three defeats against their divisional rivals have left a stale taste in their mouths. The Falcons appear to have overcome their early-season disappointments and are on a meteoric rise similar to the Aztecs’ late-season rise. In addition to their speed, they obviously own the game clock with an average of 36 minutes of ball control. Roberts has all the honors, but it’s managed by senior quarterback Haazig Daniels. He adds another 584 yards and 7 TDs in a lead. If he doesn’t pass the ball to Roberts, Daniels either feeds it to John Lee Eldridge III (648 yards, 4 TDs) or another of more than a dozen backs. Obviously, charge is the key to Aztec defense, but one must not fall into a false sense of security. Occasionally Daniels will throw and has added 719 yards through the air in six touchdowns. The Falcons’ offense is strong and will require a disciplined approach to deal with their triple option. The Aztecs, however, cannot sit on their laurels. They’ll be under heavy pressure on offense to maintain consistency as the Falcons keep teams at 14 points per game and under 265 total offensive yards.


The emergence of Mekhi Shaw has prompted Coach Hoke to give him a well-deserved scholarship. This was well deserved and expected and Shaw received it during a team meeting today. The Aztec offensive clicked behind Mayden’s lead. They must attempt to turn ball control in their favor and unbalance the Falcons with a deft selection of rush and pass. Shaw and Jesse Matthews have both stepped up as go-to receivers and tend to open up when Mayden has fallen back to throw. Can Christon keep the momentum after a breakout rushing play? On defense, a team must play a different brand of ball each time it encounters the Air Force. Discipline and task are very important in curbing Air Force ground play. It starts with the dive, then the quarterback option. Defenders must run based on their keys and try not to track too much. A key to observing is whether the outside backer or corner can hold the pitchman back and force him back inside. The Aztecs have proven impressive against the run this year and are once again being pushed to achieve something. An Aztec win would make them 8-4 and look strong for a bowl pick. There are several options including the Potato Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Arizona Bowl. There could be a few other bowl tie-ins coming up at the end of the season. Last season I had predicted a 32-28 win for the Aztecs. I think there will be a little fewer goals and put the Aztecs at 28-24. I’ve just watched the Aztecs make the right decisions and execute well, reinforcing key players. I expect Mayden to show his consistent game again. Look for Tyrell Shavers to find a long touchdown pass like he did against San Jose State. A resurgent Aztec team is looking to finish strong, offering fans on Mesa some bright spots in the off-season.