East County standouts to help lead SDSU Aztecs into 2013 football season

0
23
WEBHelix High School graduate Sam Meredith (98) will look to help lead the SDSU defense to success in 2013..jpg

The San Diego State University football team will kick off its 2013 season in spectacular fashion Aug. 31 at Qualcomm Stadium by playing host to the KGB SkyShow gala. The Aztecs are hoping to produce some fireworks on the field as well.

SDSU opens the season with a non-conference game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Kick-off is 5 p.m., followed by the annual crowd-pleasing fireworks display.

The San Diego State University football team will kick off its 2013 season in spectacular fashion Aug. 31 at Qualcomm Stadium by playing host to the KGB SkyShow gala. The Aztecs are hoping to produce some fireworks on the field as well.

SDSU opens the season with a non-conference game against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Kick-off is 5 p.m., followed by the annual crowd-pleasing fireworks display.

The Aztecs, once ticketed to play in the proposed national-imprint Big East, are now back in familiar territory in the expanded Mountain West Conference, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this season. In fact, the now 12-team MW has split into two geographic divisions, with each division champion meeting in a post-season conference championship game in December.

SDSU is picked to finish second to Fresno State in the new MW West Division. Joining the Aztecs and Bulldogs as divisional foes are San Jose State, the University of Nevada-Reno, Hawaii and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The MW’s Mountain Division includes Boise State, Air Force Academy, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State.

San Jose State and Utah State are both new additions to the MW this year.

Not all teams in the MW will play each other. Each team in the conference will play five divisional games and three cross-divisional games (picked by a computer program) each year.

Homegrown

SDSU entered training camp with 114 players and will cut down to 105 once school starts in late August. The Aztecs continue to recruit locally, and have a sizable number of San Diego County products on their roster, including five East County former high school standouts.

Junior defensive lineman Sam Meredith (Helix), sophomore defensive lineman Robert Craighead (El Capitan) and junior punter Joel Alesi (Christian) all return while red-shirt freshman linebacker Micah Seau (Bishop’s) and freshman defensive lineman Malcolm Jackson (Mt. Miguel) join the varsity unit this season.

Meredith appeared in all 13 of SDSU’s games in 2012 (a 9-4 overall record). He collected 21 solo tackles and 15 assists for 36 total tackles to go with 5.5 sacks.

Craighead appeared in eight games with three tackles, including two solo stops.

Alesi averaged 43.5 yards on six punts last year, with a longest punt of 56 yards.

Other San Diego County products include graduates from Mira Mesa, Madison, St. Augustine, Mission Bay, Castle Park, Oceanside, Lincoln, Mater Dei Catholic, La Costa Canyon, Valley Center, San Diego, Ramona, Scripps Ranch and Otay Ranch high schools.

Scarlet and Black

SDSU has appeared in three consecutive post-season bowl games, including last year’s 23-6 setback to BYU at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Aztec head coach Rocky Long said the team’s biggest question marks this season are finding a back-up running back and an offensive lineman.

“We have to find one more offensive lineman who’s able to start,” Long stated in an athletics department release. “I think we have the best running back in the league (Adam Muema), but he needs a decent backup so he doesn’t have to carry the ball 40 to 45 times a game. 

“On defense, we’ve got one area of concern – at cornerback. We don’t have any corners who have proved they can play. Other than that, everything looks pretty good.” 

Also on order, according to Long, will be a quality back-up to quarterback Adam Dingwell.

Muema rushed for 1,458 net yards in 2012 and scored 16 rushing touchdowns. The yardage total was the eighth most ever by an Aztec in a single season and third-highest ever by a SDSU sophomore (trailing only Ronnie Hillman’s 1,711 yards in 2011 and Marshall Faulk’s 1,630 in 1992).

Muema, along with senior safety Nate Berhe and junior linebacker Jake Fely, each received selection to the MW preseason all-conference team.

Extra points

After hosting Eastern Illinois, SDSU will play a key road game at Ohio State on Sept. 7 in a game to be televised by ABC-TV. The Aztecs then return home for a high profile encounter against Oregon State slated for Sept. 21. That game, which will feature a 4:30 p.m. kick-off time, will be telecast by the CBS Sports Network.

SDSU travels to New Mexico State for a Sept. 28 encounter and will host Nevada on Oct. 4 in its first divisional encounter.

The Aztecs play at Air Force on Oct. 10, a rare Thursday match-up to be telecast by the CBS Sports Network. SDSU then hosts Fresno State in an important divisional encounter on Oct. 26 before tackling visiting New Mexico on Nov. 2.

The Aztecs play consecutive road games at San Jose State on Nov. 9 and at Hawaii on Nov. 16 before returning home to host Boise State on Nov. 23.

SDSU concludes regular season play with a Nov. 30 divisional game at UNLV.

The San Jose State, Hawaii and Boise State games will also be telecast on the CBS Sports Network. ESPN will televise the Nevada game. 

For more information, visit go.aztecs.cstv.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here