Former El Capitan standout now toeing the line with the SDSU Aztecs

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San Diego State University and the University of San Diego are located just 9.4 miles apart, yet Saturday’s college football pairing between the two schools is only the second in history.

SDSU defeated USD, 42-12, at Aztec Bowl on Nov. 18, 1961, in the only previous matchup between the teams.

Saturday’s encounter at Qualcomm Stadium is sure to be well attended with the annual KGB SkyShow treating fans to a post-game fireworks extravaganza. Kick-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.

San Diego State University and the University of San Diego are located just 9.4 miles apart, yet Saturday’s college football pairing between the two schools is only the second in history.

SDSU defeated USD, 42-12, at Aztec Bowl on Nov. 18, 1961, in the only previous matchup between the teams.

Saturday’s encounter at Qualcomm Stadium is sure to be well attended with the annual KGB SkyShow treating fans to a post-game fireworks extravaganza. Kick-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.

SDSU is coming off its fifth consecutive bowl game appearance and, for the first time in the Aztecs’ 17-year history as a member of the Mountain West Conference, is picked to win the conference’s West Division title.

There are obviously a lot of expectations; the team’s contingent of local players is obviously excited about the challenge.

“Being a local guy, I grew up being a SDSU fan and now I can’t think of anything better than playing for SDSU,” explained junior left guard Nico Siragusa, a graduate of Mater Dei Catholic High School. “I’m living the dream.”

Former El Capitan High School standout Robert Craighead is also living the dream of being an Aztec.

A senior offensive lineman, Craighead (6-3, 300) is making the move this season from the tight end position to that of right guard on the offensive line. He caught four passes for 42 yards and a two-yard touchdown last season.

He said the adjustment to his new position is coming along.

“I’m still having some issues that I have to work on as far as my mechanics and getting my assignments down,” Craighead explained.  “I’m pretty sound but there’s still some technique issues that I have to work on. I should be good come game day.” 

The former Vaquero standout admitted the right guard position is more demanding.

“It’s very technical, the (offensive) line,” he said. “We all have to work as a unit. All five of us have to work as one. If anyone makes a mistake, we all get blamed for it.”

The Aztecs are beginning their fifth season under head coach Rocky Long, the all-time winningest coach in conference history. Long has guided SDSU to 32 victories in his first four seasons, which stands as the second-highest total in school history.

Craighead said he admires Long for the job he’s done with the team.

“He’s very demanding, very physical and very tough but he’s a great guy and takes care of his players,” Craighead said. “It’s all about respect. If you respect him, he’ll respect you.”

The Aztecs are looking for respect from their opponents this season, starting with the Toreros on Saturday.

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