San Jose State vs. Army: Three Keys to a Spartan Victory
Can SJSU upset Army at Levi’ Stadium
After an up and down game against Colorado State, the Spartans have a home game at Levi’s Stadium against Army on Saturday afternoon. This is the first ever match up between San Jose State and Army. The Black Knights are 3-2 on the season as they were within one score of beating Oklahoma and have already beaten Liberty, Hawaii and Buffalo.
Army has had an extra week to prepare for the Spartans and make the cross country road trip from New York. Next we will look at how the Spartans can beat a tough Army team:
Convert on 3rd down and get off the field on 3rd:
San Jose State ranks near the bottom on offense for nearly all 3rd down statistics. The Spartans average 3rd down distance to go is 8.8 yards which ranks 123rd, they are in 3rd and long situations 68.2% of the time which ranks at 129th, and there 3rd down success rate is at 29.2% which ranks at 126th.
They have to improve on this for the rest of the season if they want to get a win but especially against Army.
Trying to defend the option can really tire out a defense especially if the offense is not converting there 3rd downs which forces the defense to be out on the field for long periods of time. In the second half and especially in the 4th quarter this may end up being a problem if the Spartans are not able to pick up more first downs.
The defense can also help themselves out by getting off the field on 3rd down. So far they have shown the ability to do so as the defensive third down success rate is only at 30.9% which ranks 27th nationally.
Win the field position battle:
It is a well known fact that Army’s plan for each game is to effectively pound the ball down the opponents throat. For San Jose State to have a chance this week they are going to need to force Army to drive the length of the field as much as possible while also continuing to give there offense a short field to work with.
So far San Jose State has done well with field position as Thai Cottrell ranks second nationally in kickoff return average at 33.9 per return. Cottrell has had returns of 96 at Oregon, 72 vs. Hawaii, and 44 against Colorado State. This has allowed the Spartans to rank 7th nationally in average starting field position.
Get the ball out quicker:
Against Hawaii Josh Love was able to get the ball out quickly and efficiently but last week against Colorado State he seemed to be one step behind. He will need to be able to make faster reads against Army if the Spartans want to be able to score enough to keep up and pull off an upset win.
Last week against the Rams Love was sacked 5 times which some of those can be contributed to him holding the ball for to long, while the others are due to bad offensive line play.