Texas State (3-3) at San Jose State (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 27, 4:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (30,456) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 2-2, SJSU 2-1. Away Record: TSU 1-1, SJSU 3-1. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 1-0, SJSU 1-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Inching ever closer to bowl eligibility, the San Jose State Spartans shoot for their sixth win of the campaign this weekend as they clash with fellow Western Athletic Conference foe, Texas State, in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
Just 5-7 overall last season, the Spartans have already matched their entire win total from 2011, thanks to a 52-24 thrashing of Texas-San Antonio last weekend. The victory was the fifth in six tries for a team that began 2012 with a three-point loss at Stanford and also bowed to Utah State a few weeks ago, 49-27.
As for the Bobcats, they showed quite a bit of promise when they erupted for a 30-13 season-opening triumph over Houston, but since then the team has won only twice in five chances. Out of action last weekend, the good news for Texas State is the team is coming off a 38-7 romp over Idaho in conference play back on Oct. 13.
Against the Vandals at home, Texas State rambled for 337 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Dividing up the responsibilities coming out of the backfield, no one player had more than 15 carries or scored multiple touchdowns. Quarterback Shaun Rutherford connected on 14-of-19 passes for 182 yards and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bobcats limited the visitors to 315 yards of total offense and that effort helped the hosts to overcome 11 penalties for a loss of 105 yards along the way. The effort by the defense was a welcomed change for Texas State, seeing as how the team had allowed no less than 34 points in any one game after the meeting with Houston.
However, a look at the stats shows a Bobcats squad that seems to get stronger defensively as games wear on, going from a collective 62 points allowed in the first quarter to a mere nine points in the fourth frame.
Rutherford has done well to spread the wealth when he's passing the ball, although Andy Erickson and Chase Harper are the ones who have made it into the end zone the most with three TD receptions apiece. Rutherford has completed 70.5 percent of his pass attempts for nine touchdowns and just two INTs, but the competition is only going to get tougher from here on out.
Against Utah State during Homecoming Weekend, David Fales was more or less used as a tackling dummy by the Aggies as he was sacked a staggering 13 times, but versus UTSA he remained upright for the entire meeting as he completed 17- of-26 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the overwhelming victory in Texas.
Noel Grigsby made the most of his four receptions, turning them into 110 yards and a score versus the Roadrunners, while both De'Leon Eskridge and Blake Jurich scored touchdowns on the ground for the visitors.
Not only did Bene Benwikere tie for the team lead with 11 tackles for the Spartans, he also logged a pair of stops for loss, one forced fumble, a recovery and an interception returned for 30 yards as he was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Tied for fifth on the team in total tackles through seven games with 32, Benwikere is the only player on the unit with more than just a single interception as they've recorded just six thus far. Coming up with fumble recoveries has been much more rewarding for SJSU, with the group registering 11 gains, three of which have been logged by Cullen Newsome.
Standing head and shoulders above everyone else on the SJSU defense is Travis Johnson, who is one of the nation's top performers when it comes to tackles for loss (14.5) and sacks (8.5).
With the Spartans generating just 100.9 ypg on the ground, ranked 110th in the country, it is clear that Fales is becoming more and more of the focal point for San Jose State. The signal-caller has the passing attack rated 10th in the nation with 321.9 ypg and one can only imagine what the numbers might look like if the offensive line didn't completely break down against Utah State when Fales was picking himself up off the turf so much.
As it stands, Fales has an efficiency rating of 166.43 which is not only tops in the league, it is 10th in the nation entering the week so the Bobcats have to be on high alert when San Jose State sets up to put the ball in the air.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 45, Texas State 23
10/24 10:43:31 ET