Zona Zealots Staff Predictions for Arizona Football vs San Diego State

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Patrick McMorris #33 of the San Diego State Aztecs leads the team out against the Boise State Broncos on November 26, 2021 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Patrick McMorris #33 of the San Diego State Aztecs leads the team out against the Boise State Broncos on November 26, 2021 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images) /

It is a brand new season for Arizona Football as the Wildcats take on a formidable opponent in San Diego State, and our staff breaks down their predictions.  

The 2022 Arizona Football season is finally here! And after much anticipation, it is game week for the Wildcats as they prepare for their week one matchup against San Diego State.

Jedd Fisch and Co. have been busy the past couple of months as the Wildcats have been steadily preparing for their tough matchup against the Aztecs.

And with a lot of questions still surrounding Arizona Football, our staff makes their predictions ahead of their game against San Diego State.

Eric Townsend (Site Expert):

I like the Wildcats to remain competitive in this one as they take on a talented San Diego State squad; however, I do think that first game jitters and being on the road in a new stadium is what ultimately is the difference-maker here.

I think Arizona stays competitive, but the Aztecs ultimately prove to be too much in the end, coming away with the narrow victory over the Wildcats.

Arizona 24 San Diego State 27

Shereen Rayan (Contributor):

Arizona has made some major changes in their program with the addition of DC Johnny Nansen who at least promised us he will not have too many men on the field (a cause of a few key calls that hindered the Wildcats last season). That combined with the great mojo from the players and coaches, a seasoned O-Line (one season of experience), and an experienced QB in Jayden de Laura.

SDSU is missing some players and is involved in a Title IX rape controversy, the Aztecs also graduated some key players from last season.

I predict Arizona will win the game or at least lose by less than six points (the spread). I don’t have too much to go on besides gut feeling, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if the Cats win their first game?

Yeah, I think they all want to start off the season with a win, so Arizona has more to lose by losing than SDSU does by winning.

Kenny Lindberg (Contributor):

Wildcats weather the early push this year, limiting the shock like last season. Jerry Roberts comes up with a big stuff at the line late to secure the win. T-Mac and Cowing provide a 1-2 punch Wildcats can dream of this season.

Arizona 27 San Diego State 24

Kevin Barney (Contributor):


I expect and hope to see Arizona go fast tempo. Jayden de Laura out of the shotgun, very low number of snaps under center. I also expect head coach Jedd Fisch to go to the air early and constantly.

I expect to see chemistry and lots of passing game activity between de Laura and his receivers Jacob Cowing, Tetairoa McMillan, Jamarye Joiner, Kevin Green Jr., and others.

Except in the red zone, expect to see Arizona use running backs, Michael Wiley and Jonah Coleman. It will be interesting to see how many carries transfer DJ Williams gets. I think he could be a consistent trio with Wiley and Coleman, more to follow.

We heard during camp about the work Brennan Carroll has put his offensive line through. The offensive line has to be ready to be at the top of their pass-blocking protection game in order to keep de Laura clean, focused, and in connection with his explosive receivers.


Defensive Coordinator Johnny Nansen believes in a high rotation of players in an effort to keep guys from excessive fatigue, and in doing so, gives different looks to the offense. So let’s hope Nansen’s players are prepared and ready to execute a high number of personnel substitutions.

Arizona does not need to burn timeouts or get called for delay of game penalties on confusion regarding substitutions.

Braxton Burmeister, the transfer quarterback (first year at SDSU) has four years of D1 collegiate experience at Oregon (2017-2018) and at Virginia Tech (2019-2021). Arizona cannot underestimate his experience and level of ability.

The Wildcats’ game plan should include a concerted effort to keep him contained in the pocket, as he can hurt the defense with his legs.

I expect edge rusher and team captain Jalen Harris to play a major role in managing Burmeister. On the back end, captains safety Christian Young and defense back Christian Rolland-Wallace will need to troubleshoot his arm.

I look for “The First 48” Jerry Roberts to be the vocal leader keeping teammates informed while applying hard hits consistently.

Special Teams: 

I expect Tyler Loop, Kyle Ostendorp, and special teams to rise to the occasion with Loop connecting on field goals. I hope to see freshman Rayshon ‘Speedy’ Luke starting as a kickoff returner with Anthony Simpson and Jacob Cowing returning punts.

Arizona 26 San Diego State 24

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