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San Diego State vs. South Alabama Game Preview: Aztecs want revenge

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With an early bye in Week 4, the Aztecs will now come knocking at the door of South Alabama, with a dish they intend to serve cold.

NCAA Football: South Alabama at San Diego State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

SDSU faces South Alabama in a "revenge game." The Aztecs have won their last four revenge games, including a win over California this season.

Rocky Long's team comes into this game well rested at 3-0. To recap, the Aztecs opened the season by shutting out New Hampshire, 31-0. Then, after a hard-fought 45-40 victory over Cal, SDSU went on the road and brought down Northern Illinois, 42-28. With an early bye in Week 4, the Aztecs will now come knocking at the door of South Alabama, with a dish they intend to serve cold.

About San Diego State

If you haven't paid much attention to the current Associated Press No. 19 team, the Aztecs are a true and legit threat to run the table this season and crash the College Football Playoff. SDSU shouldn't be in trouble during Saturday night, all things considered.

Here's where it gets interesting. SDSU, on a 13 consecutive games and five straight road games win streak, concludes non-conference play with a road game at South Alabama on Saturday in Mobile, Alabama. The Aztecs' win streak is the second-longest nationally (Alabama, 16) and the longest for SDSU since a 21-game winning streak from 1968-70 under legendary coach Don Coryell.

San Diego State has not trailed in a game this season.

SDSU jumped from No. 22 to No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 this week, and is enjoying its second consecutive week in the AP poll after 341 consecutive polls without an appearance. This is the Aztecs' highest ranking since the final poll of the 1977 campaign. SDSU also made a debut in the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 24 this week.

Despite coming off of a bye week, Donnel Pumphrey still leads the nation in rushing yards and rushing yards per game this season. The senior has recorded two consecutive games with more than 200 yards, including a 220-yard, three-touchdown effort in his last game at NIU. Pumphrey has two of the top-eight rushing games this season, including No. 1 (281 vs. California) and No. 8 (tied- 220 at NIU). Over the last two games, Pumphrey has gone 501 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 52 attempts (9.6 avg.).

If the Jaguars aren't ready for his speed and galvanizing running style, Pumphrey will be a waking nightmare for South Alabama. SDSU Quarterback Christian Chapman will mix it up with an aerial assault and will get Pumphrey involved in the passing game with some screen passes. The Aztecs will rely on their highly effective offensive line to make room for Pumphrey to execute. SDSU will most likely be in good shape by halftime, and the Jaguars will try to play catch up during the second half to no avail, as the Aztecs keep scoring.

When: Saturday, Oct. 1 - 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

TV Broadcast: ESPNEWS, Watch ESPN

About South Alabama

Quarterback Dallas Davis has completed 58.1 percent of his passes but throws twice as frequently as Chapman does. Davis has thrown for 1,130 yards, five touchdowns- but also five interceptions. South Alabama has four players with double-digit receptions, but Davis' favorite target is 6'4", 240 lb. tight end Gerald Everett, who's made 21 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns. Everett is NFL huge, and fast. He is a really hard guy to stop. The Jaguars haven't had a ton of success running the ball, but they do have Xavier Johnson and Tyreis Thomas, with a combined 304 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The Jaguars enter Saturday's game with blemishes on their record. But they do have a big win over SEC school having defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 21-20. After back-to-back losses to Georgia Southern and Louisiana-Lafayette, Joey Jones' team hosted Nicholls State and won, 41-40. Although they beat Nicholls State, they allowed 40 points, which could be considered a "bad win," if it were a thing.

This will also mark the first home game for South Alabama against a ranked team. The all-time series between SDSU and South Alabama is new. The first game did not go in favor of the Aztecs. The Jaguars took that first meeting last year, 34-27. If the Aztecs can win, though, it would be their first 4-0 start since 1981.

Advantages

Offense: San Diego State. Donnel Pumphrey is remarkable, but he's just a part of why SDSU gets the nod. The o-line is doing its part and sophomore QB Christian Chapman is earning respect quietly with his surprisingly decent throwing game.

Defense: San Diego State. The Aztecs are ranked No. 53 in total defense compared to South Alabama's No. 71 status. San Diego State Linebacker Calvin Munson has made 34 total tackles- 3.5 for loss.

Special Teams: San Diego State. Rashaad Penny, MW special teams POTY has returned one for a 100-yard touchdown. SDSU Kicker John Baron kicked as close to a perfect game against NIU as is possible.

Coaching: San Diego State. Rocky Long led the Aztecs to the MWC title last year, and he has a great coaching staff, and he has definitely delivered last and this season. He's very much the man.

X-Factor: For San Diego State, Pumphrey will be looking to run for 200 yards, to become the #17 all-time rusher.

Ted's San Diego State vs. South Alabama Prediction: Aztecs 49, Jaguars 20