SAN DIEGO – In 99 seasons of San Diego State University Aztec football, only once has the team won 12 games. That was last season. 

Head coach Brady Hoke’s task this year: build off that. 

“We’re a long way from being where we need to be,” Hoke said. “There’s some good things out there too and some guys doing a great job but we just have to keep grooming the youth of our team, because you have to count on them.”

Aztecs have won 10-plus games five times in the last seven seasons. Hoke adding position competition is one of the ingredients that has made them so consistently good over the past several years.

“12 wins was great but we didn’t win the Mountain West Championship,” Hoke said. “That’s the goal.” 

One area that will remain consistently strong for San Diego State, the running backs room.

The Aztecs return a one-two punch of super seniors Chance Bell and Jordan Byrd. 

This past offseason, the team also added junior transfer Kenan Christon, a Madison High School alum who transferred from the University of Southern California back home to play with the Aztecs. 

“I’m looking forward to competing. Really, you never know what you’re going to get, but going to study what we can and learn,” Christon said. 

Kenan was a former high school state sprint champion at Madison who appeared in 12 games for USC, starting in three of the games and rushing for 443 yards on 78 carries with two touchdowns on the ground.

“He’s very dangerous with the ball in his hand,” Hoke said. “He’s made some really good cuts, so his vision is really good. We’re excited he’s here.”

The Aztecs open their season at home on Sept.3 against Arizona. On Aug. 20, first-chance season ticket holders and invited guests get to see SDSU inside the new Snapdragon Stadium with a 5 p.m. scrimmage.

Few tickets are still available for their home opener against the Wildcats.