San Diego State vs Ohio State, Historical Context
Around the same time Woody Hayes stalked the Buckeye sidelines, San Diego State began an impressive run of their own. Under the leadership of hall-of-fame coach Don Coryell, the Aztecs jumped from irrelevance to go 104-19 and elevate to the Division I level.
San Diego State wasn't your typical pushover when the program met a higher level of competition. In 1969 – their first year in Division I – Coryell led them to an undefeated season and a Pasadena Bowl (now defunct) victory over Boston University. In that same season, they led all of college football by scoring 44.7 points per game.
In stark contrast to the rest of college football, Coryell's squads tended to sling the ball around and stretch the field vertically. Although the "Air Coryell" offense was popularized during his time in the NFL, it took root with San Diego State. Today's "pro-style" offenses take significant cues from Coryell.
He produced a number of future NFL quarterbacks while at San Diego State, including their current QB coach and former Cleveland Browns player Brian Sipe. Also notable Aztecs in that era: Carl Weathers and Fred Dryer.
Post-Coryell, the program has experienced moderate success. Their most sustained period of winning since Coryell has been in the last five years, under Brady Hoke and current head coach Rocky Long:
The Buckeyes took on the Aztecs three times, all in this millennium. Ohio State has won all three matchups, winning by a combined score of 70-31. Our Joe Beale has more on the 2001 matchup here. As was usually the case in the Craig Krenzel era, OSU narrowly escaped with a victory in 2003, while the Buckeyes shook off a loss to Texas and beat the Aztecs in 2005.