A century of Aztec football … and counting

Alpine’s Ryan Lindley is a former SDSU Aztec.

Few things in this universe have withstood the test of time. Material things rust, rot and return to the base chemistry from which they were made, including that of organic matter. Intellectual properties persist but they eventually are burned, banned or refuted by future generations. Sport was likely born from our very soul to compete — to reach new heights of personal (and group) achievement — and has likely been with our species from the beginning. It seems eternal. San Diego State University’s football program is celebrating its 100th anniversary this season, and it’s likely to celebrate a 101st, 102nd and 103rd anniversary — and so on — in coming years. The Aztecs have become ingrained in our sports fabric and it’s difficult to image a local sports scene without them. SDSU will celebrate its coveted century mark in grand style this season as the football team returns to the place of its birth —San Diego — while playing in a spanking new 35,000-seat stadium as the primary tenant. Snapdragon Stadium officially kicks off Sept. 3 with a non-conference game between the Aztecs and the University of Arizona Wildcats. While SDSU has not formally been approached yet to become a member of the PAC-12, the upcoming match-up could become a regular feature in Mission Valley. The Aztecs are 7-2 against teams from the Pac-12 since 2016. In the meantime, local college football fans should have plenty to cheer about with the return of the Aztecs and all the pageantry that comes with college football. “This is a big year for Aztec athletics, this is a big year for San Diego State University and most importantly this is a big year for Aztec football,” SDSU director of athletics John David Wicker said. “The hype is real. We are bringing football back to campus. We’re going to open a phenomenal stadium on Sept. 3 for our Aztec football team, Bashor Field at Snapdragon Stadium against the University of Arizona. I’m excited for our coaches, our staff and our student-athletes to have the opportunity to run out on that field and have a true homefield advantage.” Wicker said among the highlights for the 100th-year celebration include the unveiling of all-decade teams at each Aztec home game this season, along with the recognition of various San Diego State legends. There is certainly a lot of history to celebrate. Former SDSU stars Marshall Faulk, Willie Buchanon, Fred Dryer, Kirk Morrison, Donnel Pumphrey and Akbar Gbaja Biamila — all former NFL players — joined Wicker for the press conference announcing the festivities for the upcoming season. “The celebration of our 100th season of Aztec football is not just about our current players,” Wicker said. “It’s about our past players. Those who have built the legacy to get us to where we are today. It’s also about a celebration for our future players. This is going to allow us to really elevate this program. The work that everyone has done before the last 12 years to be bowl eligible, to always be above .500, to win multiple conference championships, to be 7-2 against the Pac-12 since the 2016 season, it just goes to show how strong Aztec football is.” Alpine’s Ryan Lindley, who attended El Capitan High School, is also part of that legacy. Lindley played four varsity seasons with the Aztecs, accumulating 12,690 passing yards with 90 touchdowns. He helped lead SDSU to its first bowl game since 1998 as the Aztecs defeated the Navy Midshipmen. 35-14, to win the 2010 Poinsettia Bowl. As a pro, he spent time with the NFL Arizona Cardinals (2012-13), San Diego Chargers (2014), New England Patriots (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015) and Canadian Football League Ottawa Redblacks (2017). As a coach, he served as a graduate assistant at SDSU (2017-18), with the NFL Cleveland Browns (2018-19) as a running backs and quarterbacks coach, University of Utah (2020- 21) as an offensive analyst and Mississippi State (2021 to present) as a defensive analyst.


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