Arena Sportsnet

Aztecs Set For Saturday Season Opener

SDSU FOOTBALL NEWS AND NOTES (entering 2017 season)

* San Diego State, the two-time defending Mountain West champion, opens its 95th season of football, its 49th at the Division I level and seventh under the direction of head coach Rocky Long at home on Saturday against UC Davis. The game is set to start at 5:30 p.m. PT and will be followed by the 42nd annual SkyShow.

* SDSU tied a school-record in 2016 by winning 11 games (for the second consecutive season), earned its second straight conference championship and third league crown in five years, advanced to its school-record seventh consecutive bowl game and defeated Houston, 34-10, in the Las Vegas Bowl. SDSU ended the season ranked 25th in both the Associated Press and Coaches Polls (the only other time SDSU ended a Division I campaign ranked in the AP Top 25 was 1978 (post-1977 season) (16th)).

* San Diego State returns 12 starters (5 offense, 6 defense and 1 special teams) from last season’s squad.

* Sixteen different Aztec players received preseason accolades, with six players (PK John Baron II, QB Christian Chapman, LB Ronley Lakalaka, RB Rashaad Penny, RB Juwan Washington and TE David Wells) on watch lists for national honors.

* Seven Aztec players received first-team all-Mountain West preseason honors from at least one publication – S Parker Baldwin, PK John Baron II, LB Ronley Lakalaka, RB Rashaad Penny, OG Antonio Rosales, WR/PR Quest Truxton and TE David Wells.

* SDSU is 19-3 in its last 22 home games dating back to Nov. 2, 2013. The Aztecs have outscored their opponents, 739-366, during that span (33.6-16.6) and outgained the opposition, 9,152 to 6,580. Total turnovers in those 22 games: SDSU 22, Opp. 46 (+24 TO margin).

* The Aztecs are 49-40-5 all-time in season openers, including a 41-16-4 mark in home contests. SDSU has won its last three season openers – defeating Northern Arizona, 38-7 in 2014, San Diego, 37-3 in 2015 and New Hampshire, 31-0, in 2016.

* San Diego State is one of 21 teams nationally to play in a bowl game each of the last seven seasons (2010-16) and one of just two from the Group of 5 (also Boise State).

* Since the beginning of the 2015 campaign, San Diego State has won 22 games. That is the tied for the fifth-highest win total nationally during that span, trailing only Alabama (28), Clemson (28), Ohio State (23) and Western Kentucky (23). Other schools that have won 22 games during that span include Houston, Oklahoma and Stanford.* Among the 128 FBS schools, head coach Rocky Long is one of only 10 active coaches to lead their team to a bowl game in each of his first six seasons as a head coach. Of those 10 coaches, only five (including Long) are active streaks. Among G5 schools, only Troy Calhoun of Air Force led his team to a bowl game his first six seasons (his streak was broken in 2013 and is not active).