Eric Purdy takes a look at the San Diego State Aztecs as they try to use their young team and great recruiting class to steal a few more wins in 2015.
The San Diego State Aztecs mascot leads the team out before the game against the San Jose State Spartans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
(C+P) — The San Diego State Aztecs are reaching an interesting crossroads. After winning 34 games in the nine seasons between 2000-08, the Aztecs have won 34 in four years. They attended four bowls from 1969-2009, and now four in a row.
But eight wins gets sorta boring. As a San Diego State fan, you have to know how much better off your program is than at any point since the 1970s, but you find yourself getting frustrated. This program is in great shape, and recruiting has had a positive impact. The only question is whether the Aztecs can at some point break into double digits in the win column.
San Diego State was both slightly better and much less lucky in 2014. A year after going 6-2 in games decided by one possession, they went 0-2 in such games. The defense took a nice step forward, but a limited offense sank a little bit further. If Rocky Long wasn’t fully enmeshed in Glenn Mason Territory before 2014, he definitely was when it ended, especially since the season wrapped up with a how-did-they-lose-that defeat to Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.
“I expected eight or nine wins,” says Long, so the Aztecs were a bit disappointing. But they were also crazy young. Their best running back, two of their three best receivers, their best defensive tackle, and linebacker, and most of their defensive backs were sophomores. They survived with a limited quarterback, handled their business against weaker teams, and played well at home.
Most importantly, they didn’t get knocked off their overall trajectory, which, thanks to recruiting, is distinctly upward.
Until San Jose State crashed the party with an out-of-nowhere awesome class, SDSU had carved out a clear niche as the No. 2 recruiting team in the Mountain West. According to the 247Sports Composite, Long had signed the second-best class in the conference each year from 2012-14 and combined with exciting transfers, Long has built a base of talent. And if last year’s growing pains turn into this year’s maturation, SDSU could be on the way to impressive.