After steamrolling into Tempe with a victory in 2017, San Diego State will be looking to protect home turf with the Sun Devils looking to return the favor by the coast.
ASU has been the talk of the college football landscape after two impressive wins, one against a good opponent and one against a bad team. Now ranked as the No. 23 team in the nation, ASU will have to try and replicate their early success away from the friendly confines of Sun Devil Stadium.
San Diego State enters the matchup at 1-1, with a blowout loss to No. 9 Stanford and a two touchdown victory over Sacramento State. Despite the win against Sacramento State, the Aztecs did suffer two key injuries to quarterback Christian Chapman and defensive tackle Noble Hall Jr. Both are expected to miss anywhere from three to six weeks.
Let’s look at the Aztec players ASU will have their hands full with Saturday.
RB Juwan Washington — Junior
SDSU lost star running back Rashaad Penny to the NFL Draft, but have found a more than capable replacement in the 5’7” 190 pound Washington. The Aztecs are going to look to run the ball, and run a lot of their offense out of the read option.
Washington has 60 carries for 341 yards and four touchdowns through the season’s first two games, and ASU will key in on stopping him if they want to succeed on Saturday. He’s not used too often in the passing game, as he’s only caught three passes so far this season.
ASU’s defense will have the unique advantage of having Danny Gonzales on the sidelines, who was the defensive coordinator at SDSU the previous season and with the school since 2011.
LB Kyahva Tezino — Junior
SDSU and longtime head coach Rocky Long have been operating the now infamous 3-3-5 defense for years. It’s new emergence at ASU has turned a unit that was known to get torched by good quarterbacks, into one that can make life difficult for offenses.
The emerging star on the Aztecs in 2018 in Tezino. He leads the team in tackles and has 1.5 sacks through two contests. Tezino received minimal snaps during his first two collegiate seasons, but is now one of the key cogs in the San Diego State defense.
QB Ryan Agnew — Junior
Here’s the ultimate question mark. Agnew will be making his first collegiate start this weekend against a ranked opponent.
He was 11-for-17 replacing the injured Christian Chapman against Sacramento State throwing for 159 yards and two interceptions. He’s played sparingly during his first two seasons with him receiving action in special offensive packages.
Like Chapman, he’s very mobile and accurate and won’t be asked to make big plays with his arms and will rely on being able to move in and out of the pocket.
If ASU is able to bring pressure from their linebackers like they did against Michigan State, it could be a long night for Agnew.