San Diego State (4-4) at San Jose State (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 10:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (30,456) -- San Jose, California. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: SDSU 2-3, SJSU 2-1. Away Record: SDSU 2-1, SJSU 3-2. Neutral Record: SDSU 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record: SDSU 3-1, SJSU 4-1. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 19-15-1.
GAME NOTES: The San Jose State Spartans try to run their win streak to five straight this weekend, as they host the San Diego State Aztecs in a Golden State showdown among Mountain West Conference competitors.
San Jose State started off the 2013 campaign well enough with a 24-0 blanking of Sacramento State, but then the team bowed in three straight outings before putting together the current string of success. Last weekend, the team went into Las Vegas and took down the UNLV Rebels in a 34-24 final, drawing them closer to bowl eligibility now that they have five victories on the season.
As for the Aztecs, they too had their issues through the first several weeks of the season, dropping consecutive meetings to Eastern Illinois, Ohio State and Oregon State, but since then they seem to have figured out their shortcomings. Last Saturday, the team again struggled before coming away with a 35-30 victory versus a New Mexico program that has just two wins this year.
San Diego State has been victorious in 10 of its last 11 Mountain West bouts.
Last year, the Spartans delivered a 38-34 win over the Aztecs, extending their advantage in the all-time series to 19-15-1. The Spartans have won three straight in the series, a run that comes on the heels of a seven-game streak by the Aztecs.
Adam Muema ran for a season-high 233 yards and three touchdowns as the Aztecs held on for a five-point win against New Mexico at Qualcomm Stadium. Muema carried the ball 27 times in the contest and accounted for the bulk of San Diego State's 249 net rushing yards as the Aztecs won for the fourth time in the last five outings.
Quarterback Quinn Kaehler connected on all but five of his 21 passes for another 201 yards and a pair of scores. Receiver Ezell Ruffin balanced the attack for the Aztecs as he caught seen balls for 165 yards and a couple of touchdowns as well.
While the Aztecs may have celebrated the fact that they held New Mexico to just 170 passing yards, it should be pointed out that the Lobos are one of the weakest passing teams in all of college football, averaging a mere 108.6 ypg through the air to rank 120th in the FBS.
Then again, the SDSU secondary needs something to feel good about these days, seeing as how the unit ranks 104th nationally with 268.6 ypg. The run defense has been far more aggressive with only 140.9 ypg permitted (36th), but still the Aztecs are giving up 32.6 ppg which isn't easy to overcome.
Kaehler is completing 63.4 percent of his pass attempts for 252.7 ypg, but really this is an SDSU offense that operates more efficiently when it hands the ball to Muema (682 yards, eight TDs) and Donnel Pumphrey (500 yards, five TDs).
Jarrod Lawson rushed for 187 yards and a touchdown as the Spartans slipped by UNLV, 34-24, in a Mountain West Conference matchup at Sam Boyd Stadium last Saturday. Quarterback David Fales went 15-of-30 for 150 yards and a touchdown, and gave the ball to Lawson 28 times as the Spartans secured the win.
For Fales, the yardage total through the air was by far his weakest effort of the season, particularly after posting back-to-back 400-yard outings versus Colorado State and Wyoming, and throwing for at least 314 yards in five straight games. However, the Spartans did well to compensate as they generated 312 rushing yards, their highest total in seven years.
On the other side of the ball, the Spartans limited an up-and-coming Rebels squad to only 351 yards, a mere 86 on the ground as they shut down the program's all-time leading rusher, Tim Cornett (24 net yards on 12 carries).
If not for the shutout win over Sacramento State in the season opener, the numbers on defense for the Spartans would look even more dire, as they give up 437.0 ypg to rank 93rd in the country, yet they are still finding a way to win. Much of that has to do with the offense and Fales, who throws for a hefty 321.9 ypg. Chandler Jones sparks the receiving corps with 47 catches for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Lawson (536 yards) tries to take some of the pressure off his signal caller.
Assuming Fales will be back on the attack this weekend, expect to see the Spartans go over the top against a vulnerable secondary that is desperate to find something good about the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 31, San Diego State 23
11/06 10:42:51 ET