September 7, 2001

Aztecs Look For First Win At Arizona State

San Diego State opens three-game road swing vs. Sun Devils


San Diego State (0-1) at Arizona State (0-0) Sept. 8, 2001 * 7:00 p.m.
Television: None
Radio: All San Diego State football games can be heard live in southern California on XTRA Sports (690 AM).

The Records

San Diego State enters the game with an 0-1 record after falling to Arizona, 23-10, in its season opener. The game is the first of the year for Arizona State, 0-0.

San Diego State is still in search of its first win over Arizona State. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series, 7-0-1, and defeated the Aztecs, 10-7, last season in Mission Valley. SDSU, which will be making its first appearance in the Valley of the Sun since 1956, is 0-2 in Tempe.

For the second straight game, SDSU will be facing a program that is playing its first game under a new coaching staff. Dirk Koetter will be making his debut as the Sun Devil boss when ASU and Aztecs meet.

San Diego State will be trying to avoid its second straight 0-2 start when the squad meets the Sun Devils Saturday night. A loss would mark SDSU's third 0-2 getaway in four years.

It was a bizarre and frustrating opening week of the season for SDSU. In a game that was considered a tossup, turnovers and big plays spelled the difference in the 23-10 setback at Qualcomm Stadium. Both Arizona and San Diego State fumbled three times. However, the Aztecs lost all three of their miscues (including one returned for a touchdown) while Arizona never turned the ball over after putting it on the ground. In fact, the lone Arizona turnover of the night was an interception by Garret Pavelko, who then fumbled the ball back to the Wildcats on the return.

The Aztec offense struggled against the latest version of Desert Swarm. San Diego State drove 44 yards for a field goal on its first possession, but struggled the rest of the night. In fact, on its last possession of the game, San Diego State covered 43 yards on 12 plays before turning the ball over on downs. With the exception of the opening and final drives, SDSU did not have the ball for more than seven plays and traveled as far as 30 yards just once.

The Aztecs have never beaten the Sun Devils, trailing the all-time series by a 7-0-1 count, including last season's 10-7 loss at Qualcomm Stadium. Not only have the Aztecs struggled to win against ASU, but SDSU has struggled to score. Over the last four meetings (although three took place in the 1950s), SDSU has scored a total of seven points.

Last Year At The Q

The rebuilt Aztec defense was better than anticipated and limited ASU to just 270 yards of total offense, but Mike Barth's fourth-quarter field goal was the difference. The Aztecs had a chance to tie the game with eight seconds left, but Nate Tandberg's 47-yard field-goal attempt was blocked. The game was tied at seven entering the fourth quarter. The Aztecs played the game without Larry Ned and James Truvillion rushed for 73 yards in his place. SDSU won the total offense battle, 319-270.

Chasing The Pac

San Diego State continues to try to break its losing streak against the Pac 10. The Aztecs have dropped 10 straight against the league, dating back to a 33-9 drubbing of Cal in 1995. The streak has come in a variety of ways, a lopsided affair at Oregon State last season, a near miss against No. 17 USC in 1999 and the bruising three losses (over the last two seasons) against the Arizona schools. San Diego State is opening the season against two straight Pac 10 foes (current) for the first time since 1934.

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