SDSU Mountain West NCAA
San Diego State is looking for a smoother performance Saturday as the team seeks its first win of the year. Photo credit: Derrick Tuskan via goaztecs.com

When head coach Brady Hoke looks at San Diego State’s season-opening loss to Arizona, he sees a lot to correct. And he’s not letting himself or his coaching staff off the hook.

“Our focus this week is obviously to improve, play better at every position, coach better (at) every position,” Hoke said.

Two areas he noted in particular from the Aztecs’ 38-20 loss – third-down conversions and tackling, the latter especially for a team known for its defensive prowess. And he’s not the only one.

“We played bad, like we had 35 missed tackles on defense. That is not Aztec football in any way,” linebacker Caden McDonald said.

Jordan Byrd is ready to turn the page.

“You know, we didn’t have the best outcome that we wanted, but we just got to move on and practice harder this week and get ready for the game,” the running back said.

That would be with Idaho State, arriving for the 5 p.m. game Saturday at Snapdragon Stadium, SDSU’s new home. The Bengals are coming off an Aug. 27 beating by UNLV. They fell 52-21.

The Aztecs are meeting Idaho State for the first time since the 2004 opener at Qualcomm Stadium, where SDSU scored the first 38 points en route to a 38-21 win. San Diego State hasn’t started 0-2 in a season since going 0-3 in 2013, though they turned that campaign around to go 8-5.

Aside from San Diego State’s mistakes, they have a banged-up quarterback as a result of the Arizona game. Nevertheless, Braxton Burmeister will start against Idaho State, Hoke said, explaining that “he threw the ball (Monday) and did a pretty good job.”

Another thing to prepare for? Rain. After the knee-buckling heat faced by the team (and the crowd) for last weekend’s opening of Snapdragon, San Diego may get more September rain due to Hurricane Kay. Hoke said the team will do drills to be ready.

“Well, it’d be pretty weird, you know?” he asked. “When’s the last time we’ve gotten rain?”



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Ellen Bullock