College Football: Week 12 Fresno State at San Diego State

Fresno State Bulldogs (4-5) vs San Diego State Aztecs (7-2)

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The winner of the annual Fresno State-San Diego State game (aka The Old Oil Can Game) has gone on to represent the West Division in the Mountain West Championship game since the inception of the title game in 2013. No other team in the West Division has participated in the MW title game.

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FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Coach: Jeff Tedford

Fresno State Players to watch

Senior SS Juju Hughes (5-10/188)

Hughes (23) and Jaron Bryant (14) are leading a strong Fresno State backfield.

Hughes has played in 46 straight games with 28 consecutive starts. He finished his junior campaign being named a MW Second-Team selection. “He watches more film than anyone I’ve ever met,” said fellow senior Frank Delena. “When the opposing team lines up, he know what play its going to be. It’s impressive. Not many players can do that, but it’s because he puts the work in. He wants to be great.” Hughes has 63 tackles, two interceptions, and six passes defended heading into Week 12.

Senior MLB Mykal Walker (6-3/220)

“I got some feedback from the NFL,” Walker said at the end of last season. “It wasn’t too bad – I could go on as a special teams guy and play in the NFL this year, but I wanted more for myself. Thinking about my future, my family, I felt the best move for me was to come back and boost my draft stock.” Walker is currently the Bulldogs number two tackler (75), and leads the team in tackles-for-loss with 7.5.

Senior TE Jared Rice (6-5/238)

Junior year proved to be a big season for Rice as he began to break out and get recognized even more so on the national level. Picking up 14 starts on the season, Rice was crucial in the successes that the ‘Dogs had in their historic 12-2 season which included a Mountain West conference championship title. He recorded 664 receiving yards on 55 receptions in 2018.

For the second straight year, Rice was selected to the John Mackey Award watch list. In addition to the Mackey Award, Rice was also recognized by the Biletnikoff Award, an honor that is presented to the outstanding receiver in college football. Rice was one of four tight ends on the preseason watch list composed of 50 athletes. 

*Junior RB Ronnie Rivers (5-8/179)

In 2017, Rivers became the first freshman since the ’80’s to start an opener. Last year, Rivers missed the start of the season, but ended up the team’s top rusher. He appeared in 11 games, made six starts, and registered 1,192 all-purpose yards. He is already having a solid season this year. River broke the one hundred yard mark in the last three games: rushing for 146, 102, and 103 respectively).

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SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Coach: Rocky Long

San Diego State Players to watch:

*Junior OC Keith Ismael (6-3/310)

Ismael (60) has made a smooth transition from RG to OC.

Ismael is a big, athletic, versatile offensive lineman with excellent technique; and he has a some serious NFL potential. Ismael is a 6-3, 310-pound, all-Mountain West road grader.  The Aztecs’ shift to a spread-offense formation this season.  “I felt like we were kind of on different pages last season,” Ismael said. “We’ve worked really hard this off-season in the film room and out on the field to create a more cohesive unit.”

Senior MLB Kyahva Tezino (6-0/230)

In the 31 games he’s been in, the player nicknamed “Monster on the Mesa” has recorded 267 tackles and 29.0 tackles-for-loss. Tezino is also one of the most rugged players in the Mountain West, the only Aztec to play each position snap in 2018 — 844 in all.

“He certainly plays bigger than his size,” defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Zach Arnett said. “If you watch the number of times we blitz him to be the fourth pass rusher, he’s on the center or guard or a tackle at times. There’s really no reason a guy of his stature should be as productive as he is as a pass rusher, but he can flip his hips and get on edges. He’s got a good feel for when he needs to strike and take on a blocker and when he can slip the blocker.”

Senior CB Luqman Barcoo (6-0/170)

Barcoo transferred in from Grossmont College in El Cajon, California. In 2018, he played coming in off the bench in all 11 contests. However, 2019 has been a whole different story for Barcoo. This year, he is leading the team in interceptions with 5 and passed defended (11). How good of a season is Barcoo having? On Monday, he was named a semifinalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award. Barcoo is one of 14 semifinalists for the award, which goes out to the best defensive back in college football.

**Sophomore DE Keshawn Banks (6-4/275)

Banks is a strong-side defensive lineman in Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense. Against UNLV (Oct 26), Banks recorded 1.5 sacks, one QB hit and one hurry. It was the second multi-sack game of the season for Banks, who has recorded two or more pressures in every game played this year. In run defense this season, Banks has recorded an average depth of tackle that is more than two feet behind the opponents line of scrimmage. Banks’ average depth of tackle of -0.83 is the tops in the MW among edge defenders with at least 100 run defense snaps this year (FBS position rank: 3).

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SDCCU Stadium Grass
Nov. 15 (Fri) | San Diego, California

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