Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl: Could be an explosive game with two high octane offenses, San Diego State against UT-San Antonio

SCENE SETTER (as of Sunday, Dec. 12)
* Having secured its fifth double-digit win season in the last seven campaigns, San Diego State plays in its 11th bowl game since 2010 when it faces 24th-ranked UTSA in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
* The Frisco Bowl features the third-best combined record among all bowl games this season, trailing just the two national college football playoff bowls. San Diego State and UTSA are a combined 23-3. See chart to the right
* San Diego State is looking for its school-record 12th victory of the season. The Aztecs have tied the school-record for victories with 11. In 99 seasons, SDSU has reached the 11-win plateau four times (1969, 2015, 2016 and 2021).
* The Aztecs are looking to finish the campaign in the final top 25 polls. SDSU has finished in the final AP Top 25 Poll only twice (1977 and 2016) and in the final coaches poll twice (1986 and 2016).
* San Diego State is playing in its 19th bowl games and 11th in the last 12 seasons. Only 17 schools nationally have advanced to at least 11 bowl games since 2010 (SDSU, Brigham Young and Boise State are the only non-Power 5 members of that list).
* The Aztecs are playing in their second Frisco Bowl, having previously participated in the 2018 Frisco Bowl against Ohio.
* Junior punter/placekicker Matt Araiza became San Diego State’s first major college football award winner when he earned the Ray Guy Award on Dec. 9. Araiza has earned first-team All-America honors on the first three teams that make up the consensus list (Walter Camp, FWAA and AP) and is looking to joining Marshall Faulk (1992 and 1993) as the only unanimous All-American selections in program history.
* Junior defensive end Cameron Thomas has earned second-team All-America honors by Walter Camp, FWAA and AP. In addition to leading the team in tackles for loss (20.5), sacks (11.5) and quarterback hurries (21), Thomas has the fourth-highest defensive grade (90.3, min. 600 snaps) in the country. Thomas also has the most quarterback pressures (sacks/hits/hurries) (77) and hits (21) in FBS, and the sixth-most hurries (44) (according to PFF).
* Junior right guard William Dunkle started all 13 games and has allowed just eight pressures (no sacks) on the season in 388 passing opportunities. Among offensive linemen, Dunkle has the fourth-highest overall grade (93.2, min. 600 snaps) by PFF and the second-highest run block grade (96.0, min. 600 snaps). 
* San Diego State is 11-2 despite playing all 13 games outside of its home city and normal home stadium. That’s easily the best record among the 11 other teams who have had to play outside its home city and normal home stadium since at least 1980 (Idaho was second best with a 7-4 record in 1999).
* The Aztecs are 6-0 in games decided by one score or less, tied with UTSA for the most second-most wins without a loss in one-score games, trailing only Lousiana (7-0).
* SDSU is No. 24 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings (Dec. 5). The Aztecs, who had never appeared in the poll prior to this season, have been ranked in every CFP Poll this year.
Brady Hoke is the only active college coach to lead three different FBS programs (Ball State, Michigan and SDSU) to an 11-win season and one of only two coaches overall since 1996 (also Urban Meyer with Utah, Florida and Ohio State).

COURTESY SAN DIEGO STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS

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Daily Almanac for Wednesday, November 16, 2021; Day 320 of the Year