San Diego State vs. San Jose State: Game Preview, How to Watch, Livestream, Prediction.
San Diego State circled this game, early.
No. 24 SDSU goes to San Jose State to go heads up for the West division lead.
After climbing another spot in the Top 25 rankings, the Aztecs are on their way to San Jose to prove that last year’s Spartan takeover was a fluke and the team from San Diego is the top dog in the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs and Spartans line up Friday night on CBS Sports Network.
WEEK 6: 24 San Diego State Aztecs (5-0) at San Jose State Spartans (3-2)
WHEN: Friday, October 15 – 7:30PM PT / 8:30PM MT
WHERE: CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, Calif.
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: FuboTV – Get a 7-day free trial
RADIO: San Diego State Feed: 101.5 KGB / XTRA 1360 | San Jose State Feed: KTRB 860AM / KSJS 90.5 FM
SERIES RECORD: SDSU leads the series, 22-20-2. Last meeting was in 2020 where San Jose State upset the Aztcs 28-17.
LAST WEEK: San Diego State defeated New Mexico 31-7, whereas San Jose State lost to Colorado State 14-32.
ODDS (as of 10/13, via Vegas Insider): San Diego State -9
Friday night’s matchup pits San Jose State, the preseason 2nd-place finisher of the West division, against perceptively fading San Diego State. San Jose State knows what’s coming at them they scheduled this game to be their homecoming game. Too bad an angry San Diego State team is looking forward for revenge.
“We’ve kind of had this game circled on our calendars. San Jose State,” said Caden McDonald at Monday’s Aztec press conference. “That put a bad taste in our mouth as the reigning conference champs.”
The reigning conference champs don’t look too mighty with notable losses to USC, Western Michigan, and Colorado State. Nick Starkel looks injured and is questionable to play, despite Spartan Head Coach Brent Brennan’s silence on declaring his availability for this game. This might not be the same team that the Aztecs fell to in 2020.
Right now San Diego State is the only Mountain West team ranked and the only undefeated FBS team on the West Coast. This year it is looking like, the West division is San Diego State’s to lose. Let’s take a look at how San Diego State wins against the Spartans.
Keys for an Aztec Victory
1. Play defense
San Diego State has played their winning formula perfectly. The defense ranks in FBS as No.16 in points allowed on def, No. 7 in total defense (yards allowed), and No. 2 in rushing yards allowed. Coach Brady Hoke emphasizes which stats matter most, “scoring defense, keeping them out of the end zone. That’s one of the things we want to be very good at and the red zone.”
For a younger defense, players are stepping up in the secondary and the veterans are stepping up on the offensive line.
It’s been a weekly occurrence that despite pre-season accolades for Caden McDonald, a new defender has shown up as the sack leader. These guys are wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines, and it’s improving the entire defense. The Aztecs are 60-3 since 2011 when holding the opposition to 17 points or less.
2. TAKE CARE OF The Nicks
San Jose State’s 2021 offense ranks 113th in the nation in scoring offense (20.5 ppg). Nick Nash did a number on the Aztec defense in Carson last year, going for 16-of-25 for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. But it’s been Nick Starkel that has started in 2021 and in 4 games he has only completed 50% of his passes and has 6:5 TD-INT ratio.
Nash seemed to give the Spartans some spark in their loss to Colorado State, but because San Jose State has been mum on Starkel’s health, the Aztecs are preparing for both quarterbacks. Nash gives the element of mobility where Starkel doesn’t.
Hoke says they’re prepared for both quarterbacks. But as the old adage goes, “A football team that has two quarterbacks has no quarterback.” The Aztecs must contain upfront and figure a way to keep whoever’s back there in the pocket.
3. What about the Aztec quarterbackS?
At the near middle of the season, and it’s been dismal passing performances from both seniors Jordon Brookshire and Lucas Johnson. Against New Mexico, Brookshire put up a stat line of 11-for-24 for 130 yards. It’s clear the Aztecs are comfortable with these performances because of Greg Bell and the rotation of running backs. Essentially Brookshire is a running back at QB with his 4 total rushing touchdowns. The bar is set so low that SDSU ranks 126th in passing offense (121.0 ypg).
Going undefeated in 5 games with a number 24 next to San Diego State, there is no reason to expect 200+ yard passing games anymore. Between the two seniors, it’s unclear if they are going to win games off their arms.
The stress tests are coming up with games against high-powered offenses in Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, Hawaii, and Boise State. If the Aztecs find themselves in a hole late then, who knows? But for Friday night, play mistake-free – no fumbles, no interceptions, and no more injuries.