UDLAP Aztecas football team from Mexico shows mettle in U.S. exhibition

Mexico’s top college team, the UDLAP Aztecas, traveled to San Diego to play the San Diego Toreros. As ESPN’s Dan Arritt relates, although the Aztecas lost, they certainly gained the admiration of the Toreros coaches and players.

SAN DIEGO — The team’s best offensive linemen dropped his helmet to the floor during halftime Saturday evening, threw down his shoulder pads and let his pants slide to the floor, whatever it took for his body to breathe.

Nearby, a group of linebackers and their position coach gathered around a trainer’s table, sharing insights about the opposing tight end, but few ideas on how to stop him.

The head coach then brought his players together in the middle of the room, and they sunk to one knee. Down by 28 points, he urged them to keep playing hard and win the second half. Just as he stepped back to adjourn the meeting, the players emphatically pounded their chests before starting the long walk back to the field.


San Diego running back Jereke Armstrong heads upfield as UDLAP safety Osvaldo Zumalacarregui Taboada pursues. Brock Scott/University of San Diego

The scene was typical of hundreds of halftime interactions and pep talks that took place last weekend on college campuses across America, only this one had a unique international layer.

The University de las Americas Puebla Aztecas football team crossed the border to take on the University of San Diego Toreros in an exhibition game Saturday evening — 16 days before the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans bring the NFL to Mexico City for the first Monday Night Football game outside the U.S.

The Aztecas eventually lost to San Diego 49-25 putting a blemish on their undefeated season back home. Coaches and players from both sides learned a lot about the other, and all agreed they benefited from the experience, even if it just means learning from mistakes.

“It’s a good way to measure the level we have over there, and the level over here,” said UDLAP wide receiver Robin Israel Gonzalez Carmona, who delivered the play of the night when he scored on a 99-yard touchdown reception in the game’s closing minutes.

There were plenty of other highlights inside 6,000-seat Torero Stadium, where Jim Harbaugh began his head coaching career and turned the program around from 2004 to 2006 before moving on to Stanford, the San Francisco 49ers and now Michigan.

Read the rest of the story by Dan Arritt here.