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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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SDSU Aztecs fans celebrated in the stands at Snapdragon Stadium. (SDSU) SDSU Aztecs fans celebrated in the stands at Snapdragon Stadium. (SDSU)

San Diego State Set for 2023 Opener vs. Ohio

SDSU enters its 101st season of football, 55th at the Division I level and sixth under the direction of the 2011 National Coach of the Year, Brady Hoke, when it welcomes Ohio on Saturday.
By GoAztecs

San Diego State and Ohio University will face off to on Aug. 26 at Snapdragon Stadium to kick off the 2023 football season. It will be the first of three home games to start the 2023 campaign for the Aztecs.
The Bobcats went 10-4 in 2022, advancing to the Mid-American Conference (MAC) title game and winning the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. 

Ohio is one of five 10-win teams SDSU will play in 2023, joining Air Force (10-3), Oregon State (10-3), Boise State (10-4) and Mountain West champion Fresno State (10-4). Out of San Diego State's 12 scheduled opponents in 2023, eight will be against bowl teams, including UCLA (9-4), San José State (7-5) and Utah State (6-7).
•    San Diego State enters its 101st season of football, 55th at the Division I level and sixth under the direction of the 2011 National Coach of the Year, Brady Hoke.
•    After playing 23 straight games (two-plus seasons) out of San Diego County (streak started on Nov. 30, 2019 vs. Brigham Young and also included 2020 and 2021), the Aztecs will play their second straight seven-game home schedule at Bashor Field at Snapdragon Stadium in Mission Valley.
•    SDSU rallied from a 2-3 start by winning five of their next six games (5-1) and finishing 7-6 overall for its 13th consecutive .500 or better season. That is tied for the sixth-longest streak nationally and is the longest streak among Pacific Time Zone teams. In 12 of those 13 seasons, San Diego State has posted a winning record.
•    The Aztecs have posted a .500 or better overall record and a winning record in Mountain?West action in each of the last 13 seasons.
•    SDSU returns 14 starters off the 2022 squad (5 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams).
•    San Diego State plays one of the toughest schedules in the country this year with five games against 10-win teams - vs. Ohio, at Oregon State, vs. Boise State, at Air Force and vs. Fresno State - and eight vs. bowl teams from a year ago - also vs. UCLA, vs. Utah State and at San Jose State. 
•    The beginning of the Aztecs' schedule is particularly tough as five of their first six opponents made a bowl in 2022, including games vs. Ohio (10-4) on Aug. 26, UCLA (9-4) on Sept. 9, at Oregon State (10-3) on Sept. 16, vs. Boise State (10-4) on Sept. 22 and at Air Force (10-4) on Sept. 30 before hitting its open week in the first week of October. 
•    Saturday's Aug. 26 opener will be SDSU's earliest game in program history. San Diego State has played 10 games in the month of August, going 3-7. Saturday will be the first August game with the Aztecs under Hoke.
•    SDSU returns the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, Ray Guy Award and Lou Groza Award candidate Jack Browning, who handles all three kicking duties - punting, field goal/PATs and kickoffs. An Aztec has won the award five times (all over the last eight years), the most in the 24-year history of MW.
•    Browning was a second-team All-American by Pro Football Focus in 2022 and an honorable mention by College Football Network, both as a punter. He's the only FBS player on both the Ray Guy Award (punter) and Lou Groza Award (kicker) national watch lists.
•    Other all-conference players coming back include second-team selections TE Mark Redman and LG Cade Bennett, and honorable mention performers QB Jalen Mayden, CB Dez Malone and CB Dallas Branch.
•    Making the preseason all-conference team this year are Browning (Special Teams Player of the Year), Redman, Bennett and New Mexico transfer linebacker Cody Moon.
•    SDSU is 53-42-5 all-time in season openers, including a 45-17-4 record in home season opening games. San?Diego State, which is 25-8 in season openers played at home in the Division I era, has won seven of its last eight home openers. 
•    The Aztecs are 15-1-1 against current members of the Mid-American Conference, including a 17-14 win over MAC?champion Toledo last September. Ohio lost to Toledo in the MAC championship game.
•    SDSU's lone blemish against a current MAC member, however, was a 27-0 loss to Ohio in the 2018 Frisco Bowl. That was the only time San Diego State has been shut out over the last 204 games (since Nov. 18, 2006). Only two current Aztecs were on that bowl trip - S?Cedarious Barfield and DL Daniel Okpoko - but both redshirted that season and did not play in the game.
•    SDSU has five double-digit win seasons since 2015.