Wyoming vs. San Jose State: Keys to a Spartans Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Spartans host Wyoming in a critical game for potential bowl eligibility. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for against the Cowboys.
Can the Spartans start a winning streak?
WEEK 9: Wyoming Cowboys (4-3, 0-3 Mountain West) vs. San Jose State Spartans (4-4, 2-2 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, October 30 — 1:00 PM PT/2:00 PM MT
WHERE: CEFCU Stadium; San Jose, CA
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS2, by following this link.
RADIO: The San Jose State broadcast can be found in and around San Francisco on 860 AM (KTRB) and around San Jose on 90.5 FM (KSJS). The Wyoming broadcast can be found throughout the state on the affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, including flagship 1240 AM (KFBC) in Cheyenne.
SERIES RECORD: Wyoming leads the all-time series 7-4. In the last meeting on November 3, 2018, the Cowboys defeated the Spartans, 24-9, in Laramie.
LAST WEEK: Wyoming lost at home to New Mexico, 14-3, while San Jose State defeated UNLV on the road, 27-20.
ODDS (as of 10/28, via Vegas Insider): San Jose State -3
SP+ PROJECTION: San Jose State by 0.3
FEI PROJECTION: Wyoming by 5.4
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: San Jose State 51.94% win probability
After surviving a wild Friday night last week in Las Vegas, the San Jose State Spartans are back at home on Saturday afternoon to host the Wyoming Cowboys.
While the Spartans have battled inconsistency from week to week, Craig Bohl’s Pokes seem to be trending squarely in the wrong direction with three straight conference losses. Fans and players alike seem to have plenty of questions as a result, so will they be able to find answers or can the home team take another big step toward securing bowl eligibility.
Here’s how the Spartans can beat Wyoming.
Three Keys to a San Jose State Victory
1. Make the Cowboys pay for poor quarterback play.
After Sean Chambers put together another lackluster performance against New Mexico last Saturday, Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl seemed amenable to making a switch and pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, announcing that Levi Williams would make his first start of 2021 on Saturday.
Either way, this present a golden opportunity for a front seven that seems to have rediscovered its pass rushing groove in the last couple weeks. Cade Hall tallied a sack against San Diego State, then Viliami Fehoko strung together his second multi-sack performance of the season in the win over UNLV, so there’s hope that the Spartans can keep it up against a Cowboys offense that has toughness under center but
One wrinkle to keep an eye on: If the Spartans can force Wyoming into more obvious passing situations, there’s a chance for the defense to prove their season-to-date performance on that front has been more fluky than anything: While SJSU owns a 6.9% overall sack rate, good for 60th overall, that figure drops to 4.4%, or 114th nationally, on passing downs (2nd-and-8 or more, plus third and fourth downs of five or more yards).
2. Break even, at least, in turnovers.
Dating back to the middle of last year, the Spartans have won the turnover battle just once in its last 13 games. Giving the ball away has been a particularly persistent problem in 2021, seeing as the team has two or more turnovers in six of its eight games this season, and that could be a problem against the Cowboys.
Much of this will fall on quarterback Nick Nash, who didn’t have any interceptions in last week’s win over UNLV but did fumble twice and lost one which turned into a short Rebels touchdown drive. Only Hawaii, South Carolina, and Akron have more fumbles than SJSU’s 16, so avoiding the vagaries of fumble luck would make life a lot easier for Brent Brennan’s offense.
3. Keep playing with newfound discipline.
In addition to being careless with the football, the Spartans have also taken a step backwards with regards to taking penalties. Even after being called for just one flag last week, no team in the Mountain West has been penalized more per game than than Spartans.
By contrast, Wyoming has fared better overall in avoiding those mistakes over the entire season, but the Cowboys may also have backslid on that front in the past month, with 26 flags for 201 yards in the last four games.
The Spartans haven’t exactly looked pretty at many points this fall, but they also haven’t had a stretch like the one Wyoming is going through at this moment. Both teams still possess strong defenses, which makes the under a pretty reasonable bet, so it may come down to the team that makes less killer mistakes. With Wyoming’s upheaval at quarterback, San Jose State should be well positioned to survive even if the offense gets ugly again.
San Jose State 20, Wyoming 10