USD-SDSU will play for first time since 1961
Dylan Brockmeyer | Assistant Sports Editor | @dbrock08
The unusual face-off will be played in Qualcomm Stadium thanks to an unexpected hole in the Aztecs’ schedule. The last time these two rivals met was in 1961 when the Aztecs came out on top with a crushing 42-12 victory.
Following that game, USD suspended its football operations for seven years until the program was fully reinstated in 1973. Since then, the Toreros have won or shared three Pioneer Football League (PFL) titles in the last four years.
In 2014, the team made the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) playoffs for the first time in school history.
USD currently plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, the second tier of college football, while SDSU plays Division 1 football, the highest tier of college football.
This plays a huge role in each program since SDSU’s team distributes 85 football scholarships, while USD, due to conference restrictions, gives out zero athletic scholarships to football players.
Junior wide receiver Trevor Barney is looking forward to playing in such a large venue in one of America’s most populated cities.
“Playing in an NFL stadium in front of all of San Diego will be a very exciting experience for our team,” Barney said. “We all have connections some way or another in San Diego and now we finally get the opportunity to play in front of the whole city. This is a very special game for all of us.”
Last season, under third year head coach Dale Lindsey, the Toreros finished 9-3 and won the PFL championship. This year’s offense is expected to be led by junior running back Jonah Hodges, who rushed for 1,214 yards and six touchdowns in 2014.
Redshirt junior linebacker Nic Henson and junior cornerback Jamal Agnew are the defensive leaders heading into the season.
Henson was one of the team leaders in tackles last season, posting 90 total tackles and five tackles for loss. Agnew led the Toreros with four interceptions while also breaking up 19 passes by opposing quarterbacks.
The Aztecs have played in a bowl game each of their last five seasons and finished their 2014 season with an overall record of 7-6 with a 5-3 record in the Mountain West Conference.
They are a very strong defensive team with eight returning starters. As a whole, the defense ranked 10th in passing yards allowed, 13th in points allowed, and 16th in total defense.
Coach Lindsey has noticed several positive changes during training camp that should give his team a great chance of competing for a conference title again.
In an interview with Torero Athletics, Lindsey expressed his admiration for the SDSU program while mentioning that his team will be facing a tough challenge.
“We will have to play our very best to compete against them,” Lindsey said. “I don’t know that we have the same amount of talent the Aztecs have, but we do have some very good, smart, hard-working guys. We want to be solid against the run and not give up the cheap pass.”
There is a lot of hype not only surrounding the game between the two schools, but also for the entertainment at Qualcomm.
The tailgate goes from 2:30-4:45 p.m. at $30 a ticket and following the game there will be entertainment from the KGB Sky Show.
This is the 40th edition of the Sky Show, which will be a vibrant fireworks display to cap off the event.
Hopefully, the show can serve as a celebration after a Torero victory, which will be no easy task.