SAN DIEGO — The San Diego State defense was hurt physically and statistically in Saturday night's 34-16 loss to UCLA. Four Aztec defenders suffered injuries in a game where UCLA gained 446 net yards on 85 plays.
Nose guard Levi Esene is expected to miss at least three weeks with a dislocated elbow, defensive coordinator Burnie Miller said Sunday.
Jack Eaton may have a broken hand and Brett Faryniarz may have a broken thumb. Both outside linebackers will be X-rayed today.
And tackle Mike Stevens was walking gingerly Sunday because of a sore knee. His availability is on a day-to-day basis.
SDSU's defensive woes began before the first game when tackle Duane Pettitt suffered a broken leg that will keep him sidelined for the season.
"We're getting down real thin," Miller said. "At the end of the game, we only had four defensive linemen who were well. I don't know if we'll have enough people to practice this week."
If Stevens is healthy, he will likely move to nose guard for Saturday night's Western Athletic Conference opener against Colorado State at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. The tackles would probably be junior Greg Williamson and sophomore Mike Hooper.
Esene was playing well before being injured near the end of UCLA's first drive. He was in on four of the first 11 tackles.
"When we lose Levi, we lose a pretty good chunk," Miller said. "Before he got hurt, he was making good plays and was overpowering them."
Miller said that Eaton and Faryniarz may both play against Colorado State despite their injuries.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect for the SDSU defense against UCLA was its inability to stop the Bruins on third down. UCLA was successful on 14 of 18 third-down attempts.
Miller said there were a variety of reasons for SDSU's breakdowns, then he used the first UCLA drive as an example. On one play, quarterback David Norrie scrambled for a first down when a tackle went too far upfield. On another play, a linebacker was blocked just before making a tackle. And on still another play, a linebacker was out of position on a draw.
"We did some things you're just not supposed to do," Miller said. "If you take those darn things away, we're in pretty good shape."
Coach Doug Scovil was pleased that the Aztecs scored the game's final 13 points. Scovil has repeatedly told his players he was upset by fourth-quarter letdowns last season.
"I was proud of my guys in the second half because they hung in there," he said. "They showed a lot of gumption. The important game is this week, our WAC opener."
Before the game, UCLA Coach Terry Donahue had said SDSU was as good as Tennessee. It was a surprising compliment in that UCLA had rallied the week before to tie Tennessee, 26-26. But after playing the Aztecs, Donahue had a more realistic evaluation.
"This was easier than I thought it would be because I overestimated San Diego State," he said.
The women's golf team won the nine-team Lady Wildcat Invitational by two strokes over Washington on Saturday at Ogden, Utah. Patty Liscio of SDSU finished seventh overall with a 54-hole score of 234. Karen Engberg was ninth (237), Joanne Walker was 10th (238) and Vicky Lane was 11th (239).
After winning the Michelob Light Aztec Volleyball Tournament for the first time in nine years, SDSU will open its first season in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. with two home games this week. The Aztecs play Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday night and UC Santa Barbara on Friday night.
The Aztecs finished second in the men's division and third in the women's division of the Riverside Invitational cross-country meet on Saturday. Paul Greer was fourth in the men's division, Mitch Eddy was fifth and Aaron Ruud was seventh.