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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

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Aztecs Open 2020 Season with 34-6 Win Over UNLV

SDSU linebacker Caden McDonald was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week after recording three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Behind a dominant first half, the San Diego State University football team (1-0) opened up the 2020 season with a 34-6 win over UNLV (0-1) at Dignity Health Park Saturday evening.

The Aztecs outgained the Rebels in total yards 424-186, including a 313-25 advantage in the first half, which led to a 27-0 lead at halftime.

“I thought the guys did a great job preparing,” said SDSU head coach Brady Hoke. “I thought we came out there with a lot of energy. They were excited to go out and play. We were playing as a team. We did a nice job.”

The SDSU offense finished with 287 rushing yards, led by Greg Bell's 111 yards on 19 carries. Kaegun Williams finished with 84 yards on 10 carries, while Chance Bell added a pair of rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Carson Baker, making his second career start, threw for 137 yards and a touchdown on 12-for-25 passing.

“I thought he really did a good job of making a few things happen, and I thought he did a nice job of operating the procedures of the offense,” Hoke said of Baker’s performance.

The Aztec defense, which forced eight three-and-outs, was paced by Dwayne Johnson Jr.'s team-high 10 total tackles. Tariq Thompson finished with nine total tackles (1.5 for loss) and Caden McDonald recorded career highs of eight tackles, three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. His 2.5 sacks matched the most by a SDSU player since Jay Henderson's three sacks versus Northern Illinois on Sept. 30, 2017.

For his efforts, McDonald was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. It is the first career weekly league honor for the junior linebacker.

McDonald and the Aztecs limited the Rebels to just six points, the program's fewest allowed in MW game since shutting out Hawai'i, 55-0, on Nov. 5, 2016. The Aztec defense also held UNLV to only one first down in 15 chances on third down, the lowest percentage (6.7 pct.) since Sept. 24, 2005 against San Jose State (0-for-17).

The Aztecs next play Utah State (0-1) on Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. MT.