SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego State University Aztecs kick off the college football season Saturday night against Weber State with Ryan Agnew serving as the team's starting quarterback. After five years on the Mesa, the senior is looking forward to leading his team back to the Aztec standard of winning.
After spending three years playing backup quarterback for the Aztecs, Agnew made his debut last season in week two. The six-foot, 200-pound Texas native, who had never started a game, won six of his first seven games as a starter, solidifying his role heading into the 2019 season.
"Definitely a lot more confidence coming in rather than coming in last year, not playing or starting one game," Agnew said. "Coming into this season starting several games, you can take that experience that you use on the field. Now when week one comes up against Weber State, it's not going to be my first time walking out there in front of thousands of fans. I can revert back to last season. This is what I've done; this is what I've been doing."
Agnew threw for 1,651 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions and finished the year first in the Mountain West for passing yards per completion with just over 14.
"I just want to be better throwing the football, be more accurate, be more explosive," Agnew said. "Be able to stretch the defense, throw it down the field but also know to take your mess and check it down and make those easier throws and then just do whatever it takes to win the 22nd championship."
In order to accomplish that, Agnew believes the team must be able to finish games, something he says they weren't able to do late last season.
"It's going to take heart, it's going to take a grind through fall camp," he said. "Fall camp is a tough process. We have 18 to 20 practices where they're long, they're hot and you can give up, be like, 'All right, I just want to get through this practice.' Maybe that's the mentality we had in the past, but we're going to change that this year to where we're not just getting to a practice, we're getting better through a practice. So when game seven, eight, nine hits, it's not a lull for us. We're still going through it, we're still powering through it."
As for who becomes the new backup to the former backup, the three-way competition remains wide open.
"The battle for the backup quarterback is going to be very interesting and very hard-fought, I'm sure," head coach Rocky Long said.
"I've stood in their shoes," Agnew said. "I've been a backup, I've been a redshirt, I've been the guy not on the field and I know how tough it can be sometimes, not knowing where you are."
But with hard work comes reward -- and Agnew is right where he intended: at the helm of the Aztecs, eager to win.
The Aztecs kick off their season opener against Weber State Saturday at the SDCCU Stadium at 6 p.m.