Holder twins to meet on gridiron as foes for first time

Alijah Holder made this interception after first tipping the ball. "I made the play and I didn't believe it," he said. Photo by David Bernal/

At some point during No. 19 Stanford's nonconference football game at San Diego State, Cardinal cornerback Alijah Holder will look across the line and feel like he's staring into a mirror.

That's because on the other side will be Aztecs' wide receiver Mikah Holder, Alijah's twin brother. Even better, the twins will be playing at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, a place familiar to both players. They attended Oceanside High, just up the road from San Diego.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside
"I have mixed feelings about it. I've never competed against my brother seriously," Holder said. "I'll be right across the line from him. It's new to me and what a stage. It will be something special. I played in Qualcomm in a high school championship game. Now I'll be playing against my brother there."

Stanford football coach David Shaw discovered, through the recruiting process, that the twins have never faced each other, not even in practice.

"They were always on the same teams," Shaw said. "There might be one conflicted lady in the stands."

In fact, Angela Holder is making special T-shirts for the occasion, though she's keeping the design a secret.

The Holder twins did everything together growing up, including some rough housing that led to "cracked heads and dents in the furniture." They just never suited up in different uniforms until college.

"It will be new to me," Holder said. "And what a stage. It should be something special."

The scheduled 7:30 p.m. kickoff will be aired on CBS Sports Network and feature the only teams, college or pro, in the state of California to reach the postseason in each of the past seven years.

The Aztecs (2-0) are coming off a road win at Arizona State last week, it's first ever in 12 meetings with the Sun Devils.

Stanford (1-1) will be the highest ranked team to visit the stadium in 19 years.

The Holder's older brother King played football for San Diego State and Holder wound up at Stanford because of its need for defensive backs.

"I always thought Mikah was the better athlete than me and he got better grades," Holder said. "My recruiting class, they didn't take any wide receivers. I got lucky."

So what happens when the brothers face each other across the line?

"I'm going to have to say something," Holder said. "The first impact will be fun. I'm not going to try and knock him out and I'll help him up."

Holy Chryst

Shaw praised the play of Palo Alto grad Keller Chryst against the Trojans, even though it was his first loss as a starter. He won his first seven games.

"Keller played very well," he said. "He had four passes deflected but his decision-making as a pocket passer was there. He made two great throws with guys in his face."

Shaw also had nice things to say about JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

"He's very good and he's only getting better," said Shaw. "We will continue to give him opportunities. He does nothing but make plays."

The line on Love

Stanford lineman David Bright had this to say about Stanford running back Bryce Love, fourth in the nation in rushing:

"He's running hard and seeing things well. We have to give him the opportunity to find those holes."

San Diego State's Rashaad Penny is ranked first in the nation in rushing.

"Rashaad is definitely a big moving piece for us, especially in our running attack," Aztecs tight end David Wells said. "He’s good, he’s really good, so especially if we can get him going early in the game that’s a good sign for us."


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