Why San Jose State Can Repeat Mountain As West Champs?
Spartans are proving they are no fluke
Will there be a drop off?
San Jose State can make a run for the Mountain West Championship this year simply based off of what they were able to accomplish last year.
The Spartans arguably had one of their best years in school history during the 2020 season. They were able to defeat the Boise State Broncos 34-20, earning them their first Mountain West Championship in school history.
Despite the fact that San Jose State is defending conference champions and returning a plethora of starters, the Spartans were picked to finish second in the West division behind Nevada.
San Jose State is also returning their starting quarterback in Nick Starkel. Starkel finished last season as a second team All-Mountain West selection. The second year Arkansas transfer finished 19th in the nation averaging 271 passing yards per game. Starkel also threw 17 touchdown passes while leading the Spartans to a final Associated Press ranking of 24 to end the season.
Starkel will look to Isaiah Hamilton, junior Jermaine Braddock, and Derrick Deese to build around following the departures of receiving leaders Tre Walker and Bailey Gaither. However, Hamilton and Braddock are more than able to pick up the slack at the wide receiver position. While Deese can make an argument as one of the best tight ends in the Mountain West. The running game should only take a step forward as well due to all five offensive lineman returning to the squad.
They are also returning defensive leaders such as Viliami Fehoko, Tre Jenkins, and Kyle Harmon that starred for the Soartans last year. They were able to hold offensive power houses such as Hawaii, Boise State and Nevada to low enough point totals to let their high powered offensive succeed. Besides their bowl game with Ball State and their regular season game with Hawaii, the defense allowed 20 points or fewer in every game.
Ten starters return to this impressive defense. Harmon, a senior this year, led the team with 78 total tackles and anchors the middle as a hard hitting linebacker. Junior Tre Jenkins was a second team All-Mountain West player last year who had two interceptions and 29 solo tackles last season. First team All-Mountain West player Viliami Fehoko was an absolute beast coming off the edge for the Spartans. Fehoko finished the 2020 season with 36 tackles, 12 and a half tackles for a loss, and six sacks. Fehoko is a player that could easily land himself first team recognition as well as landing on some national post season award lists by the end of the season.
San Jose native Brent Brennan is entering his 5th year and has been able to completely turn this program around and lead the Spartans into a 2021 season that could end with them lifting the Mountain West trophy for a second year in a row.