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South Alabama vs San Diego State Preview

Both teams torched by Power-5 teams head to San Diego to find redemption.

USA QB Cody Clements ready to pass on Nebraska.
USA QB Cody Clements ready to pass on Nebraska.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

WEEK 3: South Alabama Jaguars vs San Diego State Aztecs

WHEN: Saturday, September 19, 5pm

WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA

TVCampus Insiders

RADIO: 105.7 FM The Max and AM 1700

COACHES: Joey Jones, Rocky Long

SERIES RECORD: 0-0, 1st meeting

The University of South Alabama comes to San Diego, California, for the first meeting of a home-and-home series -- don't adjust your monitor San Diego will return the trip. Both South Alabama and San Diego State are recovering from beatdowns from Power-5 schools, Nebraska and Cal respectively.

South Alabama started their football program in 2009, transitioned to a full member of the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, and made their first bowl game last year. In their infancy, they’ve done well.

San Diego State is 1-1 after the loss against Cal, but in terms of bowl eligibility they’re 0-1. A win against South Alabama would make right their ship and maybe a meeting with Boise State awaits them in December.

What to watch

USA QB, Cody Clements

The roster was injected with talent from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, including senior quarterback Cody Clements. He isn’t Jared Goff, but through two games he has a 56.9 pass percentage with 455 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Better than the Maxwell Smith and Christian Chapman platoon through two games. He didn't exactly light it up at Nebraska, but garbage time in the second half allowed him to throw a bit.

A Team Scorned

Long’s 3-3-5 defense was picked apart by Goff and Clements and South Alabama could be in trouble again. The SDSU defense, one of the nation’s best defenses in 2014, looked like swiss cheese and made too mental mistakes. Overall the team had twelve penalties including many personal fouls, including two from veteran Malik Smith. I imagine the team has gotten the message to stay disciplined throughout the rest of 2015.


During his press conference today, Rocky Long asserted Smith the starter for Saturday. He basically used the same reasons he used to announce a Maxwell Smith prior to the San Diego game. The SEC experience wasn’t enough to win over the coaches come game time, and frankly Smith looks like he needs seasoning. SDSU has not found their answer for the 2015 quarterback.


San Diego State could find themselves in trouble if they continue to struggle moving the ball again. The South Alabama defense isn’t Cal though, so I also expect Pumphrey to have a comeback day and take back headlines. South Alabama has a few of UAB's formers starters on offense, so their chemistry just needs the right environment to explode. In this matchup at home, San Diego State has the better edge.

South Alabama 14, San Diego State 31