San Diego State is usually more recognized for its stellar basketball program, but in recent years the football team has also been able to achieve a lot of success. The Aztecs went 11-3 last year and finished 25 in the final AP pole, guided by the rushing of senior running back Donnel Pumphrey. Despite Pumphrey’s departure to the NFL, San Diego State still has some weapons that could give ASU trouble come Saturday. Here are some San Diego State players to watch out for.
Rashaad Penny (Senor RB)
In Pumphrey’s absence, Penny has taken over as the bell-cow back for the Aztecs. Penny ran for over a thousand yards last year as a back-up and got off to an explosive start this season with 197 yards in the season-opener. San Diego State has built one of the premier rushing attacks in the country and with Penny leading the way, ASU must prioritize slowing down the running game if they want any chance to win.
Mikah Holder (Senor WR)
While San Diego State certainly focuses significantly more on the running game, they still have some weapons on the perimeter, including senior wideout Mikah Holder. Last season Holder led the team with 581 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns and was the team’s primary receiving threat. What Holder lacks in size (6’0, 185lb) he makes up for with speed and agility, as he averaged 21.5 yards per reception last year. With ASU’s continued struggles against the pass, the Sun Devils must make sure to keep Holder in check throughout the game.
Ronley Lakalaka (Junior LB)
On the defensive side of the ball, a leader for the Aztecs had been junior linebacker Ronley Lakalaka. As one of the best tacklers on the team, Lakalaka secured 72 total tackles last year with 3 tackles for a loss. With the issues ASU has had with their offensive line, expect to see Lakalaka adding to his tackles for loss total for this season, as he will likely get ample opportunities to do so against ASU's porous offensive line.
San Diego State will certainly be a challenge for ASU Saturday, and if the Sun Devils want any chance to win the game they have to shit down the players listed above.