San Jose State vs. Army: Game Preview, Kick Time, TV & Radio Schedule, Odds, Prediction
The Spartans head east to take on the Black Knights. Here’s how to watch and our preview of what to watch for.
Can the Spartans get back on track?
WEEK 9: San Jose State Spartans (3-4, 1-3 Mountain West) vs. Army Black Knights (3-4)
WHEN: Saturday, October 26 — 9:00 AM PT/10:00 AM MT
WHERE: Michie Stadium; West Point, New York (38,000)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: You can get a free seven-day trial of FuboTV by clicking here.
RADIO: The San Jose State broadcast can be found on 910 AM (KKSF), while the Army broadcast can be found on 1260 AM (WBNR) and 1420 AM (WLNA).
SERIES RECORD: Army leads the series 1-0. In the first meeting on October 13, 2018, the Black Knights defeated the Spartans 52-3 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
LAST WEEK: San Jose State suffered a 27-17 defeat at home against San Diego State, while Army fell at Georgia State, 28-21.
ODDS (via OddsShark): Army -9.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Army by 13.5 (78% win probability)
FEI PROJECTION: Army by 10.9
Three Keys to a San Jose State Victory
1. Slow the fullback dive.
This isn’t the first time that the Spartans have dealt with an option offense, but Air Force didn’t have much trouble getting Taven Birdow and Christian Mallard into a groove since the duo combined for 194 yards on 35 carries. That task remains a critical one, however, since the Black Knights’ leading rusher happens to be their fullback, Connor Slomka.
The critical difference is that Army’s running game hasn’t been quite as strong as Air Force’s. Slomka leads the Black Knights with 93 carries but has averaged just 4.57 yards per carry. Keeping him from earning that extra yard or two may make all the difference against an offense that will strive to limit opportunities and work the clock to their advantage.
2. Let Josh Love challenge on early downs.
By the numbers, Army has a decent but not great pass rush. Their 6.7% sack rate ranks 60th nationally, but the guys up front aren’t the ones doing most of the damage: Cornerback Elijah Riley leads the team with four sacks, while linebackers Arik Smith and Cole Christiansen have 1.5 sacks each.
It may behoove the Spartans, then, to get the ball out of Josh Love’s hands quickly, especially on early downs. He’s done some of his best work on first down and second down, in particular, completing 63.3% of his passes at 8.7 yards per attempt, so attacking early might be the best way to maximize scoring opportunities against a defense that’s allowed opponents to complete 70% of their passes in each of the last three games.
3. Put pressure on the kicking game.
This is probably related to key number one, but it’s worth noting that Army has attempted just four field goals to date in 2019. Kickers David Cooper and Cole Talley have combined to go 2-of-4, with just one success from 40 yards or more.
It also means, however, putting Army in a position where they may be more hesistant to go for it on fourth-downs. So far, they have been more than willing to try and move the chains instead and have been maybe the best team in the country at doing so, converting 17-of-22 such opportunities.
Army isn’t playing at quite the same level that they did in 2018 and Josh Love, when he is right, could be the best quarterback they have faced all season long. If the Spartans can put Army behind the eight ball and get an early lead, they should be able to pull the road upset.
San Jose State 31, Army 28