clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ASU Football Opponent Primer: San Diego State Aztecs

With the departure of Rahaad Penny there is a big question mark surrounding the Aztecs offense in 2018

NCAA Football: Nevada at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State 2018 Schedule

UTSA (Sept. 1) - Read

Michigan State (Sept. 8) - Read

At San Diego State (Sept. 15)

At Washington (Sept. 22)

Oregon State (Sept. 29)

At Colorado (Oct. 6)

Stanford (Oct. 18)

At USC (Oct. 27)

Utah (Nov. 3)

UCLA (Nov. 10)

At Oregon (Nov. 17)

At Arizona (Nov. 24)

San Diego State lost one of the best running backs to ever come through the program since Marshall Faulk did in the early 1990s in Rashaad Penny. However, despite the loss of the Aztecs will return more than half its starters as a team.

San Diego State’s 2017 Season

The 2017 San Diego State Aztecs finished the season with a 10-3 record and second place in the Mountain West Conference behind Fresno State. The Aztecs got off to a hot start by winning their first six contests, including victories over Arizona State and then-ranked No. 20 Stanford. Rashaad Penny finished the season with 28 total touchdowns (23 rushing) and was the No. 1 source of production for the Aztecs. SDSU finished the season with a 42-35 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Key Returners

Offensive returning starters: Soph. LT Tyler Roemer, Jr. LG Daishawn Dixon, Soph. C Dominic Gudino, Soph. RG Keith Ismael, Sr. RT Ryan Pope, Sr. QB Christian Chapman, Sr. WR Fred Trevillion.

Starters lost: Sr. WR Mikah Holder, Sr. RB Rashaad Penny, Sr. FB Nick Bawden, Sr. TE David Wells.

Possible starters: Soph. WR Tim Wilson or Soph. WR Isiah Macklin, Jr. RB Juwan Washington, Jr., FB Isaac Lessard or Jr. FB John Carroll, Jr. TE Parker Houston or Jr. TE Kahale Warring.

Defensive returning starters: Sr. DE Chibu Onyuekwu, Sr. LB Ronley Lakalaka, Jr. LB Troy Cassidy, Jr. CB Ron Smith, Soph. S Tariq Thompson, Sr. S Parker Baldwin.

Starters lost: Sr. DT Sergio Phillips, Sr. DE Dakota Turner, Sr. MLB Jay Henderson, Sr. S Trey Lomax, Sr. CB Kameron Kelly.

Possible starters: Sr. DT Noble Hall, Sr. DE Anthony Luke, Jr. LB Kyahva Tezino, Soph. MLB Andrew Aleki, Soph. S Darren Hall, Jr. CB Kyree Woods or Soph. CB Tayler Hawkins.

Special Teams returning starters: Sr. PK/KO John Baron III, Sr. P Brandon Heicklen, Jr. LS Turner Bernard, Jr. SS Parker Houston, Jr. KR Juwan Washington.

Starters lost: Sr. H Mikah Holder, Sr. KR Rashaad Penny, Sr. PR Quest Truxton.

Reasons for Optimism:

If ASU can lock down San Diego State’s receivers and take advantage of the Aztecs inexperience at the WR position then that will force SDSU to become one dimensional. There was a lot of inconsistent play in the linebacker corps last season, the defensive line is still trying to find its identity, and there isn’t much experience in SDSU’s secondary with two freshmen competing for starting jobs heading into the 2018 season. If ASU offensive coordinator Rob Likens plays his cards right then the Sun Devils will tear up this SDSU defense.

Reasons for Pessimism:

Despite losing a dynamic running back in Rashaad Penny, junior running back Juwan Washington, who had 127 carries for 759 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017, has plenty of experience to take on the role as the feature back in this Aztec offense. SDSU has depth at the running back position with sophomore Chase Jasmin and redshirt freshmen Kaegun Williams and Chane Bell competing for the back up running back position. “We put more on [Washington] this year and he handled it real well. There will more put on him next year. We will depend on him much more than we have in the past.”

Head coach Rocky Long told the San Diego Union Tribune in January. The Aztecs return four out of their five starting offensive linemen, senior wide receiver Fred Trevillion, and senior quarterback Christian Chapman who finished the 2017 season with 1873 passing yards 13 touchdowns compared to only four interceptions. ASU had arguably one of the worst defenses in the country and if they can’t contain Washington in the run game early on then that will open the flood gates for Chapman and company in the passing game.