‘This is what you play for’: No. 19 Aztecs set sights on Mountain West title on FOX 5

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SAN DIEGO – It’s been five years since San Diego State’s football program won the Mountain West. Now after knocking off Boise State on Friday, they’re only days away from their next shot at the title.

“It’s something that we talk about every day,” head coach Brady Hoke said. “When I enter a room and when Coach (Rocky) Long used to enter the room, there were a couple of things that you asked the team and it’s always been win and it’s win 22.”

The only opponent left standing for the No. 19 Aztecs is Utah State. Winners of six of their last seven games, the Aggies went 9-3 on the year, including handily beating New Mexico late last week. But given one of Utah State’s losses this year came at the hands of Boise State, SDSU clearly sees the possibility to triumph in a bid to win the conference.

“Really excited for this next step because this is what you play for,” Hoke said. “I think there’s a group of guys who want to have a legacy and part of that legacy is winning championships.”

This season already has been one for the record books for the Aztecs. They tied a program record with 11 wins on the year and found themselves among the top 20 teams in the country in the latest AP poll.

At No. 19, it’s the highest SDSU has risen in the AP rankings since 2017.

“It’s something that we’ve worked really hard for and it’s something that we’re really excited to be in this position,” senior running back Chance Bell said. “To go out there and win our 22nd conference championship, that’s the goal. That’s been the goal the last five years and we plan on making that happen.”   

Also on the Aztecs’ side: The team earned home-field advantage in the title game, even if that home happens to be more than an hour and a half north of Mission Valley at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.

CARSON, CA – NOVEMBER 26: Jonah Tavai #66 of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates their victory against the Boise State Broncos on November 26, 2021 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

So far this year, SDSU won six games in Carson, the most home wins for the program since 2015.

“It’s been due time to stop saying win 22 and get it done,” senior linebacker Caden McDonald said. “I know everyone’s excited about this game and that we have the opportunity to finally be here and to actually make this happen.”

The Aztecs kick off against Utah State in the Mountain West Championship at noon Saturday at noon. That game will be available to watch live on FOX 5.

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