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San Diego State vs. Nevada: Keys to an Aztec victory

The Aztecs look to win their sixth consecutive game when they face the Wolf Pack on Saturday.

Hawaii v San Diego State Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

On Saturday night, the San Diego State Aztecs will travel on the road to face the Nevada Wolf Pack. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Aztecs have a 87.2% chance to win. Below are three keys to ensure a victory for the Aztecs.

1. Dominate the run game.

Coming into Saturday’s game, Nevada currently ranks 127th out of 128th among FBS teams for rushing yards allowed (457 yards/game). Meanwhile, the Aztecs currently have the 7th best rushing offense (432 yards/game) and the rushing yards leader in Donnel Pumphrey (1581 yards, 13 TDs). In addition, the Aztecs have received support from junior running-back Rashaad Penny (576 yards, 7 TDs) over the course of the season. Ultimately, there is no reason to question that the Aztecs could have their way and put this game out of reach early if the run game is successful. The last time that the Aztecs ran for over 400-yards was against the Utah State Aggies on Oct. 28th.

2. Defense leads to offense

After completing their second shut out of the season, the Aztecs have had been successful because of their excellent defense. Specifically, the Aztecs have only conceded an incredible 15 points/game and only allowed 86 rushing-yards per contest. However, the Aztecs have averaged less passing yards (141) per game in comparison to amount their opponents have thrown against them (187). The Aztecs should be able to contain a Wolf Pack offensive that averages a little over 26 points per game. Overall, San Diego State must bring pressure and get stops in order to put their loaded offense on the field and put up points.

3. Special Teams

The Aztecs have relied on John Baron II all season long. The sophomore kicker/punter has successful completely 12 of 14 (.857) field goals through nine games. Baron displayed his talent two weeks ago on the road against the Utah State Aggies. Despite rain pouring throughout the game, Baron made four field goals and two of them were more than 40-yards out. As well, the Aztecs have found success in their punt return game. Quest Truxton is ranked 18th in the nation in average punt returns (11.4) and the Aztecs average approximately 27 yards per kick return. The Aztecs’ kick and punt returns can give their offense better field position, and make drives shorter to put them closer in the red zone. According to, the Aztecs have converted on 26 of 29 (90%) drives and 21 of 29 (72%) resulted in TDs in the red zone.