Chattanooga, TN (Sports Network) -
San Diego, which went 11-1 and won the inaugural Gridiron Classic, accepted The Sports Network Cup, emblematic of the top FCS Mid-Major program. The Toreros, who garnered all 20 first-place votes and 200 total points in the final balloting conducted among FCS Mid-Major sports information directors and selected media members, earned their second consecutive Sports Network Cup.
The Toreros held the No. 1 spot for all 13 weeks of the season. They solidified their No. 1 ranking right away by stomping Azuza Pacific and Dixie State. A trip to Yale was next on the agenda. Quarterback Josh Johnson had a brilliant day with 28-of-35 passing for 345 yards and four touchdowns and 70 rushing yards and one touchdown as the Toreros won, 43-17, against a Yale team that went on to finish 8-2 and grabbed a share of the Ivy League title.
San Diego just continued to roll from there and opened PFL play with a 50-21 victory at Davidson on Sept. 30. San Diego came in at No. 25 in the country and continued to rise up the ranks of the top 25 with easy wins over Butler and Valparaiso.
Drake was expected to give San Diego a run in the PFL race, but the Toreros exerted their dominance in a road game against the Bulldogs. The Toreros jumped out to a 17-0 lead at the half and poured it on in the second half for a 37-0 victory. The Toreros held a 513-200 advantage in total yardage. With Drake out of the way, the Toreros put the PFL race to bed with easy wins down the stretch and moved all the way up to No. 14 in the top 25 rankings prior to playoff selection day. The Toreros were not picked for a berth in the NCAA FCS playoffs, but they showed they could compete in a 37-27 loss at UC Davis on Nov. 25.
San Diego still had to go on the road and win at Monmouth to capture the Gridiron Classic title and earn The Sports Network Cup honor. The Toreros used a strong performance on both sides of the ball for a 27-7 victory to claim the crown. Ben Hannula returned an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, and a pair of J.T. Rogan touchdown runs gave the Toreros a 19-0 advantage in the first half on their way to the victory.
Johnson completed his season with 3,320 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and five interceptions, and led the nation with a 169.1 passing efficiency rating. He directed a Torero offense that led the nation with 42.8 points per game. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has a 29-6 record in his career at San Diego and has led the Toreros to wins in 19 of their last 20 games.
Monmouth finished second in the poll with 179 points, while Drake placed third. The Sports Network FCS Mid-Major Top 10 poll includes the 18 programs of the MAAC, NEC and Pioneer Football League, which play at a non-scholarship or limited scholarship level. An updated poll is announced each Monday during the regular season.