San Jose State is 1-10 with a strong desire to end a nine-game losing skid
Colorado State is 6-5 with a less severe three-game losing skid
What are three keys to the game?
The Spartans began the season with two road games just one week apart. San Jose State split the first two games in a 42-22 blowout loss to South Florida and followed up with a huge 34-13 win over Cal Poly. What seemed like optimism for first-time head coach Brent Brennan turned into an endless amount of losses in the loss column. Brennan’s team has only two games left in the season and all they can do is put their blood, sweat and tears into the game.
Here are the three keys to the Spartans’ second-to-last game of the season.
1. Avoid turnovers
Nevada embarrassed San Jose State in Reno, Nev. in a lopsided 59-14 loss on November 11, 2017. Looking at the stats, the Wolf Pack seem to be a horrible team, but they certainly handed the Spartans their second straight 45-point loss. Moreover, SJSU was outscored 111-21 in November.
Food for thought: Where would the Spartans rank in the Mountain West if the amount of turnovers were cut in half? They’re currently the worst team in the FBS with a -26 turnover margin. Yikes!
In the game against Nevada, SJSU’s turnovers made junior defensive back Dameon Baber the star of the game. Baber had himself a career day with three interceptions along with three total touchdowns, becoming the third defensive player in NCAA history to return three touchdowns in a game. On the other hand, starting quarterback Montel Aaron completed nine of his 18 pass attempts for 108 yards, allowed three interceptions to Baber and was sacked five times. The key is to avoid turnovers against all opponents, whether or not they’re ‘good.”
2. Play defense
Of course, there’s nobody more fun to watch on the Spartan defense than junior linebacker Frank Ginda, who’s currently the nation’s leading tackler because of his top-notch skills along with the large amount of time he’s on the field.
“Everytime I walk out of a game, I feel like I just got into a car accident,” Ginda told Ernie Gonzalez of The Spear. “But by Tuesday, I’m good.”
Ginda added, “I got to dig deep and find that inner-drive in me…I just got to fight through it. It’s all heart. It’s all mental.”
However, Ginda isn’t the only defensive player—let alone linebacker—on the Spartans’ roster.
San Jose State’s defensive line allows 5.5 yards per carry. Not only that, SJSU’s defense tends to struggle when it comes to stopping the run. They must play defense and defend well.
3. Recover from injuries
San Jose State doesn’t seem to have a problem with chilly temperatures and high altitudes, but they’re indeed affected by the injury bug. 23 Spartans are couched with season-injuries at the moments.
Still, Brennan decided to play whoever was left on his team’s roster. Brennan told Gonzalez, “The moment we start letting our team make excuses about our injury situation is the moment we fold the tent.”
Sure, it’s true college football isn’t like the NFL, where the worst team in the league will earn the privilege of drafting the No. 1 pick. Players play to add to their playing resume. Teams compete to get every win they can get. But the impact of injuries can be strong as they can affect the mental states of the players as well as the high cost of medical treatment. Thus, it’s important for the Spartans to recover from their injuries, try to finish off strong and gear up for next season.
The Spartans take on the Rams on Saturday, November 18 at 1:30 pm MST.