1st: Pioneer League
198th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: San Diego won its second consecutive PFL crown in finishing 10-3 overall (8-0 PFL) and also won its second playoff contest (against Northern Arizona) before falling in the second round.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: DE Jonathan Petersen became the first USD football player to earn four different All-America First Team selections. He led the NCAA Division I FCS ranks in both sacks (18) and tackles-for-loss (25.5) and ranked second in forced fumbles (7). With three first half sacks against FCS champion North Dakota State in his last career game in the second round of the playoffs, Petersen became the all-time FCS sack leader with 44. He also leaves USD as the all-time leader in forced fumbles with 17.
Key Player: Senior QB Anthony Lawrence is one of just four starters back and his leadership will be the key to USD again retaining the PFL top spot. In his career, he has started all of his three years (36 games) in southern California and has thrown for 8,521 yards. Last year alone, he had an astounding touchdown to interception ratio in throwing 33 scores while only throwing three picks.
Fearless Prediction: The defense has six starters back so while the inexperienced offense pulls it together this just may be the side of the ball that needs to dominate. All points, however, lead towards the offense to eventually click and again win the PFL.