San Jose State (2-1) at San Diego State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Qualcomm Stadium (54.000) -- San Diego, California. Television: Local. Home Record: SJSU 2-0, SDSU 2-0. Away Record: SJSU 0-1, SDSU 0-1. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-0, SDSU 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, SDSU 0-0. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 17-15-2.
GAME NOTES: Shooting for their first 3-1 start since 2006, the San Jose State Spartans make their way south where they will tangle with the San Diego State Aztecs in non-conference action at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday.
San Jose State, which hasn't had a three-game win streak since the 2008 campaign, could easily be 3-0 at this juncture, if not for a narrow loss to a nationally-ranked Stanford squad (20-17) in the opener. Most recently the Spartans took care of business against Colorado State last weekend with a 40-20 romp over the Rams at home.
With this game being played in San Diego, next week marks the first trip outside of the Golden State for SJSU in 2012, with the team heading to Annapolis, Maryland to challenge the Navy Midshipmen.
Meanwhile, the Aztecs have mirrored SJSU through the first three games of the season, first losing to a member of the Pac-12 Conference (Washington) before posting back-to-back victories. The latest win for the squad came last Saturday with an exciting 49-41 decision over FCS foe North Dakota at home.
Against SDSU, the Spartans won the most recent meeting back in 2008 by a score of 35-10 which means SJSU is ahead in the all-time series as well, 17-15-2.
David Fales was the star of the show for the Spartans in their recent win over Colorado State, converting 27-of-34 passes for 370 yards and three touchdowns as the passing attack for SJSU generated 429 yards and four TDs overall. The team had three players with at least 100 yards receiving; Chandler Jones (133 yards) and Jabari Carr (108) both recorded career highs while Noel Grigsby (124) registered his sixth 100-yard effort of his career. It marked the first time since 2003 that SJSU had achieved the feat.
Grigsby, who now has 2,001 career receiving yards, also used the game against CSU to establish a new SJSU career mark for receptions as he grabbed the 165th pass, surpassing Kevin Jurovich who tallied 160 during his tenure between 2007-10.
Defensively, Aaron Davis and Lanston Tanyi recorded 12 and 10 tackles, respectively, the former also logging 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
The run defense for the Spartans has improved quite a bit from last season, limiting opponents to just 100.7 ypg which is tops in the Western Athletic Conference and 25th nationally at the moment. The team had its problems handling opponents on the ground in 2011, permitting a whopping 204.3 ypg over the course of 12 outings.
Fales, who has completed an astonishing 73.3 percent of his pass attempts to rank among the best in college football after three weeks, has picked up plenty of support from his running backs who have scored six times already, half of those coming from De'Leon Eskridge who is averaging better than five yards per carry.
San Diego State's meeting with North Dakota was a wild event for sure as the hosts scored five touchdowns in the first half but then had to hold on for the eight-point victory in the end. The Aztecs generated 533 yards of total offense on just 61 snaps, an average of close to nine yards per play.
Walter Kazee (105 yards, two touchdowns) and Adam Muema (124 yards, one TD) became the first pair of SDSU running backs to eclipse the 100-yard barrier in the same game since 1998. The feat has now been accomplished a total of 15 times in school history, with the Aztecs winning all but one of those contests.
Quarterback Ryan Katz generated 241 passing yards on just 11 completions, leading to three touchdowns. Gavin Escobar turned his five catches into 117 yards and a score for the home team.
The defense for the Aztecs made an impression against North Dakota early on as Leon McFadden returned an interception 28 yards for a score, marking the first defensive touchdown for the program since 2010 against third-ranked TCU.
After three games, the SDSU defense has shown to be one of the best in the business at recording tackles for loss, logging 8.3 TFL per game to rank second in the conference and 15th in the nation.
Having a decent defense should help ease the stress of Katz who is stepping into some very big shoes left by Ryan Lindley. While still early, the passing attack for the Aztecs is posting just 194.7 ypg (102nd nationally), although after the first three games last season the team was in that same neighborhood with just 207.3 ypg passing.
As long as Fales can keep himself upright and the San Diego State defense doesn't attack as hard at the line of scrimmage, this is certainly a game that the Spartans can win on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 35, San Diego State 27
09/19 10:35:28 ET