Photo courtesy of San Diego State Athletics.
By Daniel Tom, Staff Reporter
On Saturday Oct. 24, a new era began at Dignity Health Sports Park as it welcomed Division I college football and San Diego State to Carson where it defeated the UNLV Rebels by a final score of 34-6 in its season opener.
The Aztecs trekked north to Carson after it was announced in September that SDCCU Stadium, where the team had previously resided for the last 52 years, was being torn down in preparation for a new stadium development set to open in time for the 2022 season.
In their first game of the season, the Aztecs flexed their muscles and showed off the run game by executing 31 run plays for 213 yards on the ground in the first half while averaging at least 7 yards a carry.
SDSU did not have to rely much on their passing game. Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker, making his first start as the number one signal caller, completed 12 of his 25 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter.
First year head coach Brady Hoke, who takes over for long-time coach Rocky Long who moved on to New Mexico this offseason, was impressed with how his team performed on the night, along with the preparations they had in a short offseason.
“The guys did a great job preparing. I thought we came out there with a lot of energy. They were excited to go out and play. We were playing as a team. We did a nice job.”
Hoke also gave praise to his quarterback and offense on how they performed throughout the night. “Carson [Baker] did a nice job. He really did a good job of making a few things happen in the fourth quarter when he scrambled and found [wide receiver] Ethan [Dedeaux] was really well done. He did a really good job of operating the procedures of the offense.”
Hoke adds his thoughts on the team’s recipe for success playing a shortened season and away from San Diego.
“We have got a group of seniors that have absolutely done a tremendous job as far as we’re making sure we’re trying to take care of each other and stay in our pods, everything, the protocols that we can do that will help us play. The other thing is our underclassman knows that it only takes one guy to screw up what we’ve got going on. The coaches have been creative in their coaching and what we are trying to accomplish. All those things are part of being able to come out here tonight.“
The Aztecs are 2-0 on the young season and will look to build on a successful start. They defeated Utah State 38-7 on the road this past weekend and are back home on Nov. 6 to host San Jose State.