Football in San Diego Lives On With the SDSU Aztecs

Credit: AP Photo

 

Dean Spanos and the NFL committed the ultimate betrayal on the city of San Diego Thursday morning.

Not only did Dean and company decide to relocate the Chargers to rival city, Los Angeles, but they tried to make the city of San Diego look like the bad guys in the process. On top of this, Spanos decided the best way to make the announcement was through a letter released on Twitter the morning Mayor Kevin Faulconer was set to address the State of the City.

However, one last spit in the face of San Diego by childish Dean Spanos, was the release of a new logo and slogan for the team, “Fight For LA.”

Well Dean, this isn’t any city. This is San Diego.

Any respect given, must be earned. And boy, did the Aztecs earn that respect. Football in San Diego is going to live on and thrive without his “professional” team.

If you’re not familiar with Aztec football, here’s a little background information for you.

This past season, the San Diego State Aztecs showed us what entertaining football is all about. The repeat Mountain West Conference champions put up an amazing 11-3 record, beat Wyoming in the MWC Championship game 27-24, then went on to the Las Vegas Bowl to slam Houston 34-10 in front of 3.7 million viewers.

The Aztecs found themselves within the top 25 twice during the season, and once more when they were announced as the 25th rank on the AP Top 25 to finish the season.

Credit: SDSU Aztecs

Not only did they dominate their conference for the second straight year, but the Aztecs also put up an average of 35.2  points per game, while only giving up an average of 20.2 points.  The team played full, complete football the entire season, the offense clicked on almost all cylinders with the pass game greatly improving, and the rushing game, well, dominated the entire nation. A total of 5,703 yards in under 900 snaps with an average of over 400 yards per game. The defense was absolutely intimidating in every aspect with 26 interceptions and 28 sacks on the year while giving up just over 300 yards per game.

D.J. Pumphrey was the highlight of the season, rushing for 2,194 yards and stomping his way through national record books. He became the number one overall rusher in all of NCAA history and moved into the number nine spot on the all-time rushing touchdown list. He played his way into the record books and became one of many historical San Diego running backs.

Damontae Kazee was one of the highlights of the defense, leading the way with seven interceptions returned for 156 yards and a touchdown, eight pass deflections, and 62 total tackles. The senior gave SDSU an outstanding farewell season. Senior Calvin Munson also paid his dues with SDSU, finishing this season with a team-leading 116 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and an interception on the season.

With last season coming to an end, San Diego fans had to say farewell to players like Damontae Kazee, Donnel Pumphrey, Malik Smith, and Calvin Munson, among other seniors.

But, this is not the end to entertaining football in San Diego. 

Rashaad Penny, who will be a senior next season, put up 1,057 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns this past season along with 224 receiving yards and three more touchdowns through the air. Juwan Washington just came off of his freshman campaign, racking up 460 yards on just 55 attempts (8.0 yards-per-carry) and six touchdowns. He also would find one more touchdown and 72 more yards through the air.

A young core of talented receivers will be returning as well. Mikah Holder led the team in receiving this season with 581 yards on just 27 catches for five touchdowns. Junior tight end David Wells will also be returning. He was second on the team in receiving yards with 294, and four touchdowns. Junior receiver Quest Truxton will also be returning next year. He was tied for third overall on the team with three receiving touchdowns last season.

Credit: Denver Post

Starting quarterback Christian Chapman showed his freshman numbers were no fluke. During his freshman campaign, Chapman threw just 49 passes, but completed 59% of them for 436 yards, two touchdowns, and just one interception. In his first full season starting, sophomore Chapman threw for 1,994 yards, 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions. Chapman also showed he was able to be mobile, gaining a total of 244 yards on 71 attempts. Unfortunately, he was wrapped up in the backfield a total of 28 times for a loss of 181 yards to bring his net total to just 63 yards. However, he was able to show his ability to tuck the ball and get a first down when it’s absolutely needed.

The offense will continue to be electrifying next season, with multiple weapons returning to give us San Diego fans our fill of high-scoring football.

Now on the defensive side, there are plenty of sharks still roaming among the pacific waters of San Diego. Junior Kameron Kelly will be returning next season after coming up second on the team in interceptions with a total of five, along with 38 tackles. Ron Smith, who was just a freshman last season was able to find three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns for a total of 77 yards, and 57 total tackles. Ronley Lakalala was just a sophomore last season, but was second overall in tackles on the team with 76, three of which were for a loss. Third overall on the team for tackles was Parker Baldwin, who was able to wrap up 66 total tackles along with two interceptions.

If all these outstanding numbers coming from these young guns don’t get you excited for this next Aztec season, then I’m not sure what can get you hyped for it!

The Aztecs are going to be the lone football team come summertime, and that’s okay. So let’s pack the seats at Qualcomm Stadium and show the Aztecs the support they deserve, because good football is here in San Diego, and it will be here for years to come. #GoAztecs

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Derek Cluff
Derek is just 20 years old living in Escondido, Ca. Derek contributes to EVT, Clipperholics (Fansided), and helped get ITL started. He is a young and an aspiring writer looking to expand himself at every opportunity possible.

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