American Football Wiki
San Diego State Aztecs
Current season:
2022 San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State Aztecs.png
First season 1921
Athletic director Jim Sterk
Head coach Rocky Long
5th year, 42–23 ()
Home stadium Snapdragon Stadium
Stadium capacity 71,294
Stadium surface Grass
Location San Diego, California
Conference Mountain West
Division West
All-time history
San Diego State Aztecs Historical Teams
1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
All-time record 509–403–32 ()
Postseason bowl record 6–6 ()
Claimed national titles 3 (small college division)
Conference titles 20 (2 MWC)
Division titles 1
Consensus All-Americans 11
Colors Scarlet, Black, and White


Fight song SDSU Fight Song
Mascot Montezuma (The Aztec Warrior)
Marching band Marching Aztecs
Rivals BYU Cougars
Fresno State Bulldogs

The San Diego State football team represents San Diego State University in the sport of American football. The Aztecs compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the West Division of the Mountain West Conference (MWC). They play their homes games at Snapdragon Stadium and are currently coached by Rocky Long. They have won nineteen conference championships[1] and three national championships at the small college division.[2] In July 2013, they were to become a football only member of the Big East Conference, but on January 17, 2013 the Mountain West's Board of Directors voted to reinstate San Diego State.


San Diego State University was originally two separate schools. San Diego Normal School had school colors of white and gold. San Diego Junior College had school colors of blue and gold. They decided to merge schools in 1921 to form San Diego State College. The first school colors of SDSC were blue, white and gold. During the 1921 school year they had their first football game. The central athletic figure at San Diego State at the time was Charles E. Peterson. He had originally been appointed in 1916 as a physical education instructor. After serving in World War I, President Hardy prevailed upon him to return and oversee the school's athletics program. Initially, Peterson taught all the men's physical education classes and coached all the intercollegiate teams. After the athletic teams were established in 1921, media referred to the teams as "Staters" or "professors". The school newspaper tried to encourage "Wampus Cats" during its coverage of the 1923-24 school year. In the fall of 1924, Athletic Director C.E. Peterson urged the students to select a nickname and the school newspaper, The Paper Lantern, invited suggestions. Over the next few issues, names such as Panthers, Balboans and Thoroughbreds were suggested and submitted to a committee of Dean Al Peterson, C.E. Peterson and a student. In 1925, student leaders chose the nickname "Aztecs" over such other suggestions as "Balboans". They felt the terminology was more representative of a southwest image and the selection met with no dissent. In February 1925, President Hardy gave his formal approval to the "Aztec" nickname and teams adopted that identity within a week.

Purple and gold were adopted for the 1922-23 term but this became a problem because the colors were the same as St. Augustine High School. It didn't go over very well when one couldn't tell the difference between an Aztec letterman's sweater and a high school sweater. Also, purple and gold were the colors of Whittier College, a fierce conference rival at the time. Not to mention the fact that manufacturers of Aztec merchandise in that era refused to guarantee the color fastness of San Diego State's purple hues. Associated Students president Terrence Geddis led the movement for a change and, after pushing for reconsideration of school colors, students finally got a chance to vote on the matter in December 1927. That was followed by two days of voting the following month where students were to decide between Scarlet and Black and the previous colors, Purple and Gold. On January 19, 1928 the tally was 346-201 in favor of Scarlet and Black and it has remained that ever since.

Don Coryell era

Don Coryell coached 12 seasons with the Aztecs, using the philosophy of recruiting only junior college players. There, he compiled a record of 104 wins, 19 losses and 2 ties including three undefeated seasons in 1966, 1968 and 1969. His teams would enjoy winning streaks of 31 and 25 games, and would win three bowl games during his tenure. Coryell helped lead SDSU from an NCAA Division II to an NCAA Division I program in 1969. It was at SDSU that Coryell began to emphasize a passing offense. Coryell recounted, “We could only recruit a limited number of runners and linemen against schools like USC and UCLA. And there were a lot of kids in Southern California passing and catching the ball. There seemed to be a deeper supply of quarterbacks and receivers. And the passing game was also open to some new ideas. Coryell adds, "Finally we decided it's crazy that we can win games by throwing the ball without the best personnel. So we threw the hell out of the ball and won some games. When we started doing that, we were like 55–5–1. John Madden served as Coryell's defensive assistant at SDSU. Madden had first met Coryell attending a coaching clinic on the I formation led by McKay. "We'd go to these clinics, and afterward, everyone would run up to talk to McKay," said Madden. "Coryell was there because he introduced (McKay). I was thinking, 'If (McKay) learned from him, I'll go talk to (Coryell).' At San Diego State, Coryell helped develop a number of quarterbacks for the NFL, including Don Horn, Jesse Freitas, Dennis Shaw and future NFL MVP Brian Sipe. Wide receivers who went on to the NFL include Isaac Curtis, Gary Garrison, and Haven Moses. Coryell also coached two players who later became actors: Fred Dryer and Carl Weathers.

The arrival of Marshall Faulk

Faulk received an athletic scholarship to attend San Diego State University, and played as a running back for the Aztecs. In one of the most prolific performances of his entire career, he ran all over the University of the Pacific in just his second collegiate game on September 15, 1991. In 37 carries, he racked up 386 yards and scored seven touchdowns, both records for freshmen (the 386 yards were then an NCAA-record). "Faulk had scoring runs of 61, 7, 47, 9, 5, 8 and 25 yards." That performance sparked one of the greatest freshman seasons in NCAA history, gaining 1,429 yards rushing, with 23 total touchdowns (21 rushing), and 140 points scored. Faulk went on to better 1600 yards rushing in his sophomore year. In Faulk's junior season in 1993, he was finally able to showcase his all-purpose ability by catching 47 passes for 640 yards and 3 TDs to go with 1530 yards and 21 TDs on the ground. These numbers put Faulk 3rd in the nation in all-purpose yardage that year, and 2nd in scoring. Faulk left San Diego State University with many of the school's offensive records, among them 5,562 all-purpose yards and 62 career touchdowns, which is the 8th most in NCAA history. After his 1992 season at SDSU, Faulk finished second in the Heisman Trophy award, losing to quarterback Gino Torretta in what was considered a notable snub in the history of the award. Torretta's 1992 Miami (FL) Hurricanes had gone undefeated in the regular season and was ranked No. 1 in the country before the Heisman balloting, Faulk's team finished with a middling 5-5-1 record, continuing a trend of the Heisman going to the most notable player on one of the nation's best teams. He was a Heisman finalist as well in 1991 (9th) and 1993 (4th). As a junior Faulk declared for the NFL draft and was picked number 2 overall in the 1994 draft.

Brady Hoke era

In December 2008, Brady Hoke was hired as the 17th head football coach at San Diego State University. Hoke signed a five-year contract with a guaranteed payment of $3,525,000, plus incentives for hitting revenue marks and bowl berths. San Diego State was also required to pay $240,000 to buy out the remaining two years on Hoke's contract at Ball State. At the press conference introducing Hoke as the Aztecs' new coach, Hoke told reporters, "Number one, this program is going to be a program that's based on toughness. To play football at the Division I level, to compete academically at the Division I level and balance both, you have to be tough-minded. You have to be physically tough and mentally tough." San Diego State compiled a 2–10 record the year before Hoke arrived. A sports writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune described the challenge facing Hoke: "It's going to be difficult for [Brady Hoke], because with the Aztecs, we're basically talking about a sea change in everything from A to Zed. This isn't Urban Meyer taking over at Florida, where the cupboard already was full of epicurean delights. State has rotting skeletons in its closet. The Aztecs haven't had a winning season since 1998, just seven since 1980." Hoke won a reputation for recruiting at San Diego State. His brother Jon Hoke, an assistant coach in the NFL, noted: "I don't care where it is, whether it's San Diego State or anywhere else, if there's one thing he can do it's recruit. He's as good at it as anybody. He's relentless with recruiting. He has a great feel for parents and a great feel for players. As long as you give him the budget to (recruit) the way it needs to be done, he'll be fine." In 2009, Hoke led the Aztecs to a record of 4–8. During the 2010 season, Hoke's team improved to 9–4. Two of the Aztecs' losses in 2010 came in close matches against ranked opponents. The Aztecs gave the undefeated, #2 TCU team its closest game of the regular season, losing by a score of 40–35. Hoke's team also lost a close game against No. 12 Missouri by a score of 27–24. The team concluded its season with a convincing 35–14 win over Navy in the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl. Prior to the 2010 season, San Diego State had not won nine games in a season since 1977 when they went 10-1 finishing 16th in the API and had not played in a bowl game since the 1998 team lost in the Las Vegas Bowl. After the 2010 season, a reporter for the Orange County Register wrote that Hoke had given San Diego State "swagger."

Present and Rocky Long era

After Hoke accepted the head coaching job at Michigan defensive coordinator Rocky Long was immediately named the new head coach. Rocky Long served as the head coach of New Mexico 1998-2008 where he compiled 65 victories and 5 bowl game appearances in 10 years. He currently has coached the Aztecs to three bowl games in a row and also won a share of the conference title in 2012. As of December 1, 2014 he has a 32-19 record as head coach of the Aztecs.


Conference championships

Conference Year Coach
Southern California Junior College Conference 1922 C. E. Peterson
1923 C. E. Peterson
1924 C. E. Peterson
Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 1936 Leo B. Calland
1937 Leo B. Calland
California Collegiate Athletic Association 1950 Bill Schutte
1951 Bill Schutte
1962 Don Coryell
1966 Don Coryell
1967 Don Coryell
Pacific Coast Athletic Conference 1969 Don Coryell
1970 Don Coryell
1972 Don Coryell
1973 Claude Gilbert
1974 Claude Gilbert
Western Athletic Conference 1986 Denny Stolz
Mountain West Conference 2012 (C) Rocky Long
2015 Rocky Long

(C) designates conference co-championships

Division championships

Year Championship Record
2015 MW West Division 10–3 (9–0)

Bowl appearances

SDSU is 7–7 all time in post-season bowl games. They first went to a bowl game in 1948 and first won a major-college bowl game in 1969.[3]

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
January 1, 1948 Harbor Bowl L Hardin-Simmons 0 53
January 1, 1952 Pineapple Bowl W Hawaii 34 13
December 10, 1966 Camellia Bowl W Montana State 28 7
December 9, 1967 Camellia Bowl W San Francisco State 27 6
December 6, 1969 Pasadena Bowl W Boston University 28 7
November 29, 1981* Mitsubishi Mirage Bowl* L Air Force 16 21
December 30, 1986 Holiday Bowl L #16 Iowa 38 39
December 30, 1991 Freedom Bowl L #23 Tulsa 17 28
December 19, 1998 Las Vegas Bowl L North Carolina 13 20
December 23, 2010 Poinsettia Bowl W Navy 35 14
December 17, 2011 New Orleans Bowl L Louisiana–Lafayette 30 32
December 20, 2012 Poinsettia Bowl L BYU 6 23
December 21, 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl W Buffalo 49 24
December 23, 2014 Poinsettia Bowl L Navy 16 17
December 24, 2015 Hawaii Bowl W Cincinnati 42 7
Total 14 bowl games 7–7 378 311

(#) Ranked in the AP Poll.

* In November 1981 San Diego State played the Air Force Academy in the Mitsubishi Mirage Bowl in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan which was a regular season game sponsored by the Mitsubishi Motors. Although listed here as a bowl, it is not considered a sanctioned bowl and does not reflect on SDSU's all-time bowl record.

All-time record vs. current MWC teams

Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current MWC opponents as of the completion of the 2013 season:

class="wikitable" cellpadding="1" style="width:75%;"
Opponent Games Played Won Lost Tied Percentage Streak First Meeting
Air Force 35 15 19 0 .411 Won 6 1980
Boise State 4 2 2 0 .500 Lost 1 2011
Colorado State 32 19 13 0 Won 4 1978
Fresno State 55 28 23 4 Won 1 1923
Hawaii 30 19 9 2 Won 4 1939
Nevada 8 5 3 0 Won 1 1945
New Mexico 40 25 15 0 Won 5 1953
San Jose State 39 18 19 2 Won 3 1935
UNLV 25 16 9 0 Won 2 1977
Utah State 12 11 1 0 Won 9 1937
Wyoming 35 17 18 0 Won 2 1978
Totals 298 162 128 8 '



Coaching History
Coach Years Seasons Games W L T Winning Percentage Conference Championship Bowl Games
C.E. Peterson 1921-1929 9 78 43 31 4 .577 3 0
W.B. Herreid 1930-1934 5 46 20 21 5 .489 0 0
Leo Calland 1935-1941 7 60 34 22 4 .600 2 0
John Eubank 1942 1 7 0 6 1 .071 0 0
Bob Breitbard 1945 1 7 2 5 0 .286 0 0
Bill Terry 1946 1 10 6 4 0 .600 0 0
Bill Schutte 1947-1955 9 88 48 36 4 .568 2 2
Paul Governali 1956-1960 5 42 11 27 4 .310 0 0
Don Coryell 1961-1972 12 125 104 19 2 .840 7 3
Claude Gilbert 1973-1980 8 89 61 26 2 .697 3 0
Doug Scovil 1981-1985 5 59 24 32 3 .432 0 0
Denny Stolz 1986-1988 3 35 16 19 0 .457 1 1
Al Luginbill 1989-1993 5 58 31 25 2 .534 0 1
Ted Tollner 1994-2001 8 91 43 48 0 .473 1 1
Tom Craft 2002-2005 4 48 19 29 0 .396 0 0
Chuck Long 2006-2008 3 36 9 27 0 .250 0 0
Brady Hoke 2009-2010 2 25 13 12 0 .520 0 1
Rocky Long 2011–Present 5 65 42 23 0 .646 1 3

Current coaching staff

Name Position
Rocky Long Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
Jeff Horton Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach
Zach Arnett Linebackers Coach
Hunkie Cooper Wide Receivers Coach
Danny Gonzales Safeties Coach
Bobby Hauck Special Teams Coordinator
Osia Lewis Defensive Line Coach
Mike Schmidt Offensive Line Coach
Blane Morgan Quarterbacks Coach
Tony White Cornerbacks Coach
Adam Hall Strength and Conditioning Coach
Kevin McGarry Director of Player Personnel
Jashon Sykes Director of Operations
Doug Deakin Assistant for Football Operations
Lucky Radley Graduate Assistant - Defense/Special Teams
Chris Jurek Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach
Zach Shapiro Graduate Assistant - Defense/Special Teams
Jake Laudenslayer Graduate Assistant - Offense/Tight Ends
Zach Shultis Graduate Assistant - Offense


Night games

Night games have become a San Diego State football tradition. The first SDSU night game was played on September 25, 1930 at Lane Field. Over 5,000 fans attended the game to watch the Aztecs beat the San Diego Marines 39-0. Since that day, over 75% of all Aztec games, home and away, have been played at night.


The first Aztec Warrior figure associated with the university initially appeared at a San Diego State athletic event over six decades ago. Art Munzig played the original role in a skit during halftime at the San Diego State-Pomona football game kicking off the 1941 football season. The school's Rally Committee came up with the idea based on the ruler of the Aztec empire in the early 1500s, Montezuma II. The character, affectionately known as "Monty" to generations of SDSU alumni, evolved through the years to become emblematic of San Diego State's athletic teams.

For decades the role was filled mostly by students, who inspired enthusiasm and school spirit during football and basketball games. In 1983, however, Director of Athletics Mary Hill directed Montezuma to adopt a more dignified persona. During that football season, Monty sat atop a pyramid among his attendants on the sidelines at Jack Murphy Stadium. That lasted one year. The next season Montezuma resumed his more traditional role of involvement and encouragement of Aztec football fans.

Beginning in 2000, some student groups began to propose the university alter its Aztec identity. The new mascot made his first public appearance February 23, 2004 to reveal some costume changes and the modified moniker, "Aztec Warrior." For all but a very few years from the early 1990s through 2006, Carlos Gutierrez took over the role of mascot, raising the position's profile and expanding public appearances throughout the San Diego community. In April 2006, the SDSU Alumni Association sponsored student auditions for a new Aztec Warrior.

Warrior Walk

The team accompanied by the Aztec Marching Band and fans walk from the stadium parking lot to the tunnel which leads the team onto the field. This usually occurs two hours before kickoff.

Honorary Warrior

An honorary team captain, usually a former player of the team, leads the team onto the field before kickoff.

Warrior Shield

An Aztec warrior shield that the accompanies the team on the sidelines during home and away games. The shield is held high by the captains during the singing of the Fight Song following victories.

Old Oil Can

The rivalry trophy between the Aztecs and the Bulldogs of Fresno State. The tradition is relatively new having taken place for the first time in 2011. The winner of the game gets the trophy.


Fresno State Bulldogs

No other opponent has a more extensive history against SDSU. The Fresno State-San Diego State rivalry, also known as the Battle for the Oil Can, dates back to 1923 when the two teams competed in the SCJCC. The Aztecs winning the initial meeting 12-2 at home. Since then, the sides have met 51 more times, including every year from 1945–79, when the two competed in the same conference or were independents. After not facing one another between 1979-1991, the schools resumed the annual series from 1992–98, when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference. The two teams have met twice since then, in 2002 and 2011. With Fresno State joining the Mountain West Conference in 2012 and the addition of the divisional format, the Aztecs and the Bulldogs will compete on an annual basis once again. One of the most memorable games between the two schools was known as "The Fog Bowl" in 1962. The fog was so thick that the Aztec radio announcer at the time Al Couppee couldn't see the plays, so he went down to the field and into the huddle to give the play-by-play. The Aztecs won the game 29-26 in a thrilling fashion. The two schools started competing in 2011 for the Oil Can trophy. The Oil Can trophy comes from a 1930s-era oil can hailing from Fresno that was found at a construction site at San Diego State. "The oil can likely came from a time when Aztec and Bulldog fans traveled to football games between the two schools via the old, twisting, precipitous Grapevine section of Highway 99 over Tejon Pass," said Jacquelyn K. Glasener, executive director of the Fresno State Alumni Association. "Cars in those days carried extra oil and water to be sure they could make it through difficult trips," added Jim Herrick, executive director of the San Diego State Alumni Association. The game was dubbed by fans the Battle for the Oil Can. The first trophy game was played in 2011. The Aztecs were favored but however they found themselves trailing 21-0 in the first half. They battled back scoring four unanswered touchdowns to win 35-28, with Ronnie Hillman scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Aztecs ended the season with an 8-4 record and made it to the New Orleans Bowl and the Bulldogs ended the season 4-8. San Diego State leads the all-time series with a record of 27-22-4, including a 14-11-2 mark in San Diego, Fresno State leads the trophy series 3-2.

Games Played First Meeting Last Meeting SDSU Wins SDSU Losses Ties
55 November 29, 1923 (Won 12–2) October 3, 2015 (Won 21–7) 28 23 4

Inactive rivalry

BYU Cougars

The BYU-San Diego State rivalry dates back to 1947 when they met for the first time in San Diego and the Aztecs won 32-7. When the Aztecs joined the WAC in 1978 the two teams started playing on an annual basis. In their first conference meeting the Aztecs suffered a disappointing loss 21-3 at Brigham Young. The next year San Diego State was 8-2 and were looking for a Holiday Bowl berth after coming off a 42-20 win over UTEP. However the Aztecs suffered a 63-14 loss at home and lost the Holiday Bowl berth. In 1986 the Aztecs looked to return the favor when they beat the Cougars 10-3 and clinched a Holiday Bowl berth. The most notable game in the history of these two schools meeting each other was the game in 1991 known as "The Tie." The Aztecs had a commanding lead over the Cougars 45-28 led by the high powered offense of Marshall Faulk and quarterback David Lowery. However Ty Detmer and the BYU Cougars fought back and tied the game 52-52. The Aztecs ended up with an 8-4-1 record and lost the Holiday Bowl berth and the WAC title. The Aztecs avenged the 52-52 tie when they traveled to Provo the next year and beat the Cougars 45-38. Marshall Faulk ran for 299 yards in that game and scored 3 touchdowns. Since then the two have met for a total of 36 times. In recent years BYU has dominated the Aztecs who have only beat the Cougars twice since 1998. BYU leads the all-time series 28-7-1. In 2011 the Cougars left the Mountain West Conference for independence and have played the Aztecs once since then, in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl. The two teams are not scheduled to play in the near future, unless they are paired in a bowl game like they were in 2012.

Games Played First Meeting Last Meeting SDSU Wins SDSU Losses Ties
36 November 22, 1947 (won 32–7) December 20, 2012 (lost 23–6) 7 28 1

Retired numbers

No. Player Position Tenure
25 Haven Moses WR 1966–1967
28 Willie Buchanon CB 1970–1971
8 Todd Santos QB 1984–1987
28 Marshall Faulk HB 1991–1993


Players currently in the NFL

Template:Col-start | valign="top" style="width:50%;" |

Player NFL Team
Nat Berhe New York Giants
Aaron Brewer Denver Broncos
Vincent Brown San Diego Chargers
Miles Burris Oakland Raiders
Brice Butler Dallas Cowboys
Tommie Draheim Arizona Cardinals
Gavin Escobar Dallas Cowboys
Heath Farwell Seattle Seahawks
Ronnie Hillman Denver Broncos
Ryan Lindley New England Patriots
Colin Lockett Cincinnati Bengals
Lance Louis Indianapolis Colts
Leon McFadden Cleveland Browns
Eric Pinkins Seattle Seahawks
Brice Quigley San Diego Chargers
Chad Young New York Jets

|} [6] [7]

Future non-conference opponents

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
at Northern
vs Northern
at Stanford at UCLA vs UCLA at Arizona vs Arizona
vs California at Arizona
vs Sacramento
vs Weber State vs. Utah at Utah
vs South
vs UC Davis vs Eastern
at Eastern
vs New Mexico
vs New
vs Stanford vs Arizona


Notable alumni

San Diego State athletics have contributed to the National Football League (NFL). NFL head coaches were members of the Aztec Football program:

Some of the more famous San Diego State students to later star in the NFL are:


External links

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