By John Philip Wyllie
Following two predictable losses against heavily favored PAC-10 opponents the San Diego State Aztec Football Team exploded for a huge 52-17 victory Saturday night against the Portland State Vikings.
Brett Swain, the former Carlsbad High All-CIF receiver and leading Aztec pass catcher wreaked havoc upon the beleaguered Viking defense all night. Swain appeared to be almost invisible to the struggling Vikings defense which surrendered 224 yards, three touchdowns and six catches to the sticky-fingered Aztec wide-out. It was by far the best night of Swain’s entire Aztec career.
Soft spoken and humble, Swain credits those around him for the success he now enjoys. A lot of that credit goes to another North County guy, former La Costa Canyon quarterback and current Aztec signal caller, Kevin O’Connell. O’Con-nell passed for a whopping 443 yards and five touchdowns before being pulled in an act of mercy late in the fourth quarter.
“Kevin is not only a great leader he is also a great quarterback. He is a guy that everybody looks up to and follows. He is a vocal leader and one that leads by example. He has a great arm and you know when you are running your route that he is going to get the ball to you. He’ll tell you to pick up when you need to and he will get into people’s heads the right way when they need it. You feel confident with a guy like that out there.”
The Aztecs were in dire need of some confidence after being humbled on successive Saturdays by back-to-back PAC-10 poundings. So, Portland State could not have arrived at a better time.
Things will get a lot tougher this weekend when 24th-ranked and undefeated (4-0) Cincinnati comes to town. The Bearcats are riding a seven game winning streak and have been averaging 45 points per game while allowing just 7.5. They opened their season with a 59-3 annihilation of Southeast Missouri State and must be salivating over the opportunity to play against SDSU’s porous defense.
The offense thus far has been the bright spot for the Aztecs. It has been powered by three locals, Swain, O’Connell and former Rancho Buena Vista running back Brandon Bornes. The real challenge for coach, Chuck Long is in finding a way to plug the many holes in his leaky defense.
Swain was optimistic during Tuesday’s press conference when he spoke about Saturday and the rest of the season.
“We look at it as another opportunity to compete with some of the best guys out there. We are not going to let up and we will work hard all week in practice. Portland State was a great win for us and we are going to take that momentum into Saturday’s game against Cincinnati.”