Aztecs To Invade Moscow This Weekend

Idaho hosts San Diego State University of the Mountain West Conference this weekend in the home opener for the Vandals, and will try to pay back the Aztecs for an Idaho loss at San Diego in 1996.

Both Idaho and San Diego State have stumbled out to slow starts this season. Idaho's 3 losses to start this season, all on the road, have been well documented on this site. SDSU has also had its problems as they also break in a new head coach. In 3 games this season San Diego State has played 2 on the road, including a hard fought 16-14 loss at Fresno State to open the season, and a 34-14 loss at Colorado. This weekend they lost at home to Arizona State 38-28 after building a 22-0 second quarter lead.

Picked to finish near the bottom of the Mountain West Conference this year (they've suffered back-to-back 3-8 seasons), the team is a good quarterback away from having a more competitive team. And that quarterback may have emerged this weekend against ASU.

Below is a quick glimpse at the players to look for this weekend, followed by links to additional information on the San Diego State Aztecs.

Denis Poroy / AP
Flanker #16 J.R. Tolver is one of several big play specialists for the Aztecs.
Aztec Offense

Projected starting lineup:

QB Adam Hall, 6-3, 215 Jr
TB James Truvillion, 5-10, 195, Sr
SL Ronnie Davenport, 6-1, 195, Sr
FL J.R. Tolver, 6-2, 205, Sr
SE Kassim Osgood, 6-5, 210, Sr
TE Tyson Thompson, 6-2, 255, Sr
LT Brendan Darby, 6-7, 300, Jr
LG Jasper Harvey, 6-3, 285, Fr
C Johnathan Ingram, 6-2, 300, Sr
RG Raul Gomez, 6-3, 305, Sr
RT Damien Holman, 6-3, 310, Jr

This team is loaded with talent at wide receiver and runningback, and they have an offensive line that is breaking in 3 new starters this season. Quarterback Adam Hall is averaging 371.7 yards passing per game this year (and over 500 against Arizona State on Saturday), and has plenty of talent among the specialists to continue to be dangerous. The top pro prospect is wide receiver J.R. Tolver, a threat from anywhere on the field. Split End Kassim Osgood (a 1-AA All-American before joining SDSU), at 6-5, is a huge target. The line, which is breaking in 3 first year starters this year, includes a 6-7 tackle and a 6-8 guard. The teams specialty is spreading the field and going vertical with the ball. First year head coach Tom Craft takes over a team which has had several good recruiting classes (with a tremendous amount of high school talent nearby) and should have a winner on the field soon.

Denis Poroy / AP
A 3 year starting cornerback, #26 Jeff Shoate is a cover corner known for cutting off half the field from alot of offenses.
Aztec Defense

Projected starting lineup:

DE Amon Arnold, 6-4, 265, Sr
DT Jared Ritter, 6-3, 260, Sr
DT Brook Miller, 6-4, 280, Jr
DE A. Gbaja-Biamila, 6-5, 250, Sr
SLB Stephen Larsen, 6-1, 230, So
MLB Kirk Morrison, 6-2, 235, So
WLB Beau Trickey, 6-1, 230, Jr
CB Jeff Shoate, 5-10, 180, Jr
SS Josh Dean, 6-0, 210, So
FS M. Underwood, 5-10, 190, So
CB Ricky Sharpe, 6-1, 190, Sr

Graduation dealt a harsh blow to the SDSU interior defensive line and defensive backfield, but the linebacking corp may be the strength of the team. The Aztecs run a base 4-3, and the defense should keep them in most games this season. MLB Morrison earned some freshman All-American honors last season, while SLB Trickey is a returning starter next to him. The cornerbacks are tough, returning starter, including 3 year starter Jeff Shoate and second year starter Sharpe. Both safeties are first year starters and young.

The defensive ends include a big, veteran, athletic senior in Akbar Gbaja-Biamila (Akbar was awarded a 6th year of eligibility this summer, and is pegged to earn All-Conference honors). However, the opposite starting DE was injured in the ASU game, and will be replaced by senior Amon Arnold. The depth chart behind these guys is fairly young without a ton of experience. The interior defensive line was dealt a blow when 2 players expected to play significant roles on the team were declared academically ineligible. The tackles will be led by senior Jared Ritter (6-3, 260) and junior Brock Miller (6-4, 280). Expect to see freshman Freddie McCutcheon (6-0, 290) and junior Anthony Foli (6-4, 290) in the rotation.

Read More

San Diego State University Official Web Site

CollegeFootballNews SDSU Preview

The Sporting News report on SDSU/Arizona State Game

Aztec Message Board

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