Aztecs hope to showcase talent at annual homecoming game

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With a 7-1 start to the season, the San Diego State University football team is treading on history. The Aztecs are off to their best start since the 1977 season when the team finished with a 10-1 record playing as an independent.

That 1977 team remains the only team in school history to end the season included in the Division I national rankings – 16th in the AP poll and 19th in the UPI poll.

With a 7-1 start to the season, the San Diego State University football team is treading on history. The Aztecs are off to their best start since the 1977 season when the team finished with a 10-1 record playing as an independent.

That 1977 team remains the only team in school history to end the season included in the Division I national rankings – 16th in the AP poll and 19th in the UPI poll.

SDSU will continue its quest to repeat as Mountain West champions when it hosts the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in a key MW West Division game Saturday, Nov. 5, at Qualcomm Stadium. Kick-off is 4 p.m.

Saturday’s game also serves as SDSU’s annual homecoming game.

The Aztecs are one of 15 teams nationally with one loss or less. That elite group includes five undefeated teams and 10 teams with one loss.

Alabama remains the top-ranked team in the nation, followed by second-ranked Michigan, third-ranked Clemson and fourth-ranked Washington. All have 8-0 records.

SDSU enters Saturday’s game against Hawaii with a 4-0 conference record; the Warriors are 3-2 in conference play, 4-5 overall.

The Aztecs have won 15 consecutive games against conference opponents, including last season’s conference championship season, and are five more wins away from securing another MW title.

“I think we’re getting a little bit better every week,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long noted in a recent press conference. “I think some of the guys we were counting on to get better have and some of the veterans have hit their stride where maybe they didn’t play as well early in the season as they are now.

“I think we go into every game thinking it’ll be close and competitive. That’s how we prepare (for games).”

By the numbers

Wyoming (6-2 overall) leads the MW Mountain Division with a 4-0 conference record, followed by Boise State with a 3-1 conference record.

However, Boise State (7-1) is the only MW team currently represented in the Top 25 polls at No. 24.

SDSU had climbed as high as 19th in the rankings following a 3-0 start but dropped out of the Top 25 following its 42-24 non-conference loss at South Alabama on Oct. 1.

Since the loss to South Alabama, the Aztecs have run past UNLV (26-7 win on Oct. 8), Fresno State (17-3 win on Oct. 14), San Jose State (42-3 win on Oct. 21) and Utah State (40-13 win on Oct. 28).

In last Friday’s win over Utah State, John Baron earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week honors after kicking a school record four field goals (in rainy conditions) and tacking on four extra-point conversions (for 16 total kicking points). He also averaged 63.5 yards on eight kick-offs.

Though he was held out of the end zone, running back Donnel Pumphrey, SDSU’s Heisman Trophy candidate, rushed for 223 net yards on 32 carries. The Aztecs out-rushed the Aggies 400-71 in the game.

Pumphrey, cornerback Damontae Kazee, linebacker Calvin Munson and left guard Nico Siragusa (Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista) all made their 35th consecutive starts for SDSU, the longest streak on the team (excluding specialists).

Pumphrey, Siragusa and right tackle Daniel Brunskill each played in their 48th consecutive game, the longest streak on the team.

Heisman watch

Pumphrey continues to lead all of FBS this season in rushing yards (1,469), rushing yards per game (183.6), all-purpose yards (1,620) and all-purpose yards per game (202.50). He is tied for third in rushing touchdowns (13) and tied for fourth in total TDs (13). He has 343 more rushing yards than the player ranked second in FBS rushing.

Pumphrey is the active FBS career leader in rushing yards (5,741), all-purpose yards (6,765), rushing touchdowns (58), total touchdowns scored (63) and 100-yard rushing games (29).

Pumphrey has recorded seven straight 100-yard rushing games overall.

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