The last time San Diego State football played Boise State University, the Broncos were at the top of the Mountain West Conference and weeks away from a New Year’s Eve victory in the 2014 Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
Boise defeated the Aztecs that season by a score of 38-29, and looked to have cemented themselves as the darlings of the MWC.
Oh, how times have changed.
No. 19 SDSU has reached the halfway mark of the season with an unblemished record of 6-0, has been in the AP Top 25 Poll and Amway Coaches Poll four consecutive weeks, and heads into its matchup against the Broncos on Saturday as two-time defending MWC champions.
Boise State (3-2, 1-0 MWC) comes to San Diego following a 24-7 victory over Brigham Young University, and will try to knock off a ranked opponent for the first time since it defeated then-No. 11 University of Arizona in that 2014 Vizio Fiesta Bowl.
“Both of our teams coming into the season were expected to be good and both teams are good, so it’s probably going to be a great game,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said.
The Broncos shot into the national spotlight back in the 2006 season, when the team – then of the Western Athletic Conference – defeated the University of Oklahoma, 43-42, in overtime to win the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
“They’ve got the mystique, and deservedly so,” SDSU offensive coordinator Jeff Horton said. “They won a lot of games for a lot of years.”
Leading the way for the Aztecs this season is senior running back Rashaad Penny, a Heisman Trophy contender who ranks second in the nation with 993 rushing yards and first with 1,325 all-purpose yards.
Against the Broncos, Penny will face the conference’s stingiest rush defense, which allows 105.80 rushing yards per game.
“They like to put pressure on you, like to give you a lot of different looks in the back end,” Horton said. “We’ll have to do a good job on first and second down trying to mix things up.”
Even though the Aztecs are the defending MWC champions, not having played Boise State since 2014 has left the conversation open about who the best team in the conference is.