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San Diego State Football: Keys to the Game Against Hawaiil

After beating Fresno State at home, San Diego State continues their Mountain West campaign in Hawaii.

Chase Price during last year's game against Hawaii.
Chase Price during last year's game against Hawaii.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

WEEK 6: San Diego State Aztecs vs Hawaii Warriors

WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 9pm PST

WHERE: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI

TV: Oceanic, TWC SportsNet, Mountain West Network

COACHES: Rocky Long, Norm Chow

SERIES RECORD: 18–9-2, 30th meeting all time

One can see how hard it is to fly across the ocean to play a football game with a 3-4 hour time change. The Warriors are 2-0 at home this season and they've been licking their wounds after getting blanked the last two games. It seems like Hawaii has more bulletin board material than the Aztecs, but San Diego State might be coming together at the right time.

Keys to the Game

Keep Running

Though Donnel Pumphrey might not be in uniform on game day, the biggest key to victory— this first key— is the run game. The Aztecs racked 305 yards on the ground and dominated the Fresno State defense. Chase Price filled in as the number one back and led all rushers with 151 yards. Price could get it done and Rashaad Penny is a playmaker who needs to get the ball. The Hawaii defense has given up 605 rushing yards through the last two games-- this game is prime for another perfect day on the ground for San Diego State.

Defense Wins

Last week against Fresno State, the Aztec defense held the Bulldogs offense to under 89 total yards. Fresno State's quarterback is horrific, but 77 yards of passing offense is outstanding for the Aztecs. Nationally, the Aztec defense is ranked 10th in yards allowed at 319.1 yards. The 3-3-5 defense that was predicted to dominate through the Mountain West started to show their true colors versus Fresno State and it’s important they continue their dominance.

Don't Make Maxwell Smith the Hero

Relying on Smith’s arm to win the game means nail biting for four quarters. Through the first five games, Smith has not thrown over 200 yards and has 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio with a 43.1% completion percentage. All Smith has to do is manage the game, and make his line calls for the run game. He might not be able to sling it, but manage the game correctly and the game is in the bag.


Hawaii pulled an upset in their opener in beating Colorado 28-20, but it’s been a long list of defeats on the road for the Warriors. The Warriors cannot wait to play a team that looks to be a more competitive than facing a Boise State or a Ohio State. Hawaii is currently favored by 1.5, but I imagine San Diego State’s rotation of fresh running backs and their defense will put them up top.

San Diego State 21, Hawaii 17