SAN DIEGO — For three weeks, the trainer's room at San Diego State was seldom visited. This week, it has become a players' hangout.
In the aftermath of the Aztecs' 38-34 victory Saturday night at New Mexico, players were queuing up to visit trainer Don Kaverman.
Linebacker Richard Brown played sparingly because of a knee sprain. Linebacker Randy Kirk left in the first quarter with a shoulder sprain. Defensive tackle Levi Esene was slowed by the flu. Defensive end Mike Hooper was sidelined at times by a shoulder bruise. Reserve defensive tackle Rob Graff suffered a concussion.
And then there were those left behind. Offensive tackle Greg Williamson and defensive tackle Craig Skaggs didn't make the trip because of sprained knees.
"Our defense is really ripped up," Coach Denny Stolz said. "We don't have many of our kids in there. We have a lot of injuries, and they are hurting us."
New Mexico's offense increased the Aztec pains. The Lobos passed for 490 yards and had 690 yards total offense, both all-time highs against SDSU.
Without Brown and Kirk, the Aztecs were desperate at linebacker.
Kris Jensen, a former linebacker-turned-defensive end, was switched back to linebacker. Andy Damon, a seldom used linebacker, also played considerably.
Jensen recorded one tackle and two assists, recovered a fumble and caused a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Damon contributed four assists.
On the defensive line, freshman Milt Wilson was used considerably. Wilson was involved in two sacks and recovered the fumble caused by Jensen for a touchdown.
SDSU forced five turnovers, three more than in its first three games combined. Even so, it was painfully obvious that the Aztec defense was outmanned by an 0-4 New Mexico team.
"We get a week off after we play Stanford (Saturday), which will be welcomed with our injuries," Stolz said. "We can't play the second half of our schedule without our big shooters."
Quarterback Todd Santos continued to tear apart opposing defenses. Santos, who has surpassed 300 yards passing in three of four games, passed for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Aztecs had dedicated Saturday's game to Ron Santos, Todd's brother. Ron Santos suffered a broken arm, broken leg, knee ligament damage and a severe concussion as the victim of a recent hit-and-run accident.
When the Aztecs travel to Stanford, Todd Santos will deliver the game ball from New Mexico to his brother.
"I was really charged up," Santos said after Saturday's game. "I wanted to win for my brother. The game was dedicated to him, so I didn't want to lose. I'm sure he'll be real happy and excited about it."
With two Western Athletic Conference victories, SDSU is elated to be the WAC's only 2-0 team. The Aztecs have not been 2-0 in conference play since 1981.
This week, SDSU will have a different motive. The Aztecs' only loss was a 45-14 rout by UCLA, a fellow Pac-10 member of Stanford's.
"Now, we will try to get revenge on the Pac-10," tight end Robert Awalt said. "This game will be to show people how good we are."
Robert Awalt caught a career-high nine passes Saturday, raising his season total to a career-high 22 receptions. Kenny Moore had a career-high seven receptions. . . . Todd Santos has passed for 6,085 career yards, moving into sixth place on the all-time WAC list. Chris Hardy has 1,690 career rushing yards, moving into fourth place on SDSU's all-time list. . . . SDSU has won two consecutive road games for the first time since 1982. . . . Though the Aztecs have a 3-1 record, they have been outscored by 17 points, 133-116. . . . New Mexico has lost its first four games for the first time since 1968, when it finished 0-10.