*** Louisiana Tech (9-2) at San Jose State (9-2) ***
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 24, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (30,456) -- San Jose, California.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: LaTech 4-2, SJSU 5-0. Away Record: LaTech 5-0,
SJSU 5-1. Neutral Record: LaTech 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record: LaTech 4-1,
SJSU 4-1. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 7-4.
GAME NOTES: A couple of top-notch teams from the Western Athletic Conference
are set to close out the 2012 regular season on Saturday night as the San Jose
State Spartans tangle with the visiting Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Spartan
Louisiana Tech, a team that was ranked in the top-25 just a short time ago,
already knows it has recorded back-to-back winning seasons for the first time
since 1996-97 after posting a record of 8-4 during the 2011 regular season.
The team is coming off a disappointing 48-41 overtime loss versus Utah State
which means the Aggies are the ones who enter play this week in charge of the
WAC standings. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for the Bulldogs and
was just the second of the campaign overall, following a rescheduled 59-57
thriller versus Texas A&M in Shreveport back on Oct. 13.
Meanwhile, the Spartans are also in the hunt for a postseason bid as they too
are currently 9-2 overall, having won five in a row thanks to a 20-14 victory
over defensive-minded BYU last weekend. The only defeats for SJSU came against
Stanford on the road in the season opener by just three points, 20-17, and a
49-27 setback versus Utah State at home in the middle of October.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series against SJSU by a count of 7-4, but when
playing in California the edge goes to the Spartans who have won three of
five. The most recent matchup took place last season with Tech posting a 38-28
victory in Ruston, marking the fifth straight win in the series for the
Louisiana Tech appeared destined for its first conference loss of the season
last weekend in Ruston, trailing by 24 points, but then the Bulldogs rallied
and gave the fans hope as the squad forced overtime. Unfortunately, the magic
eventually wore off in the extra session when LaTech ran just four plays
before being dealt the seven-point setback.
Colby Cameron, who saw his NCAA record for consecutive pass attempts without
an interception snapped at 445 in the second quarter, finished the outing 35-
of-60 for 396 yards and just a single touchdown, against a pair of picks.
Kenneth Dixon ran for 109 yards and two scores on 20 attempts.
Defensively, the Bulldogs just couldn't keep USU under control as the Aggies
rolled up 646 yards of total offense, 17 more yards than a LaTech group that
ran 29 more offensive plays. While it may not fall under the heading of
defense, another key moment in the game was a 98-yard kickoff return for a
touchdown by D.J. Banks late in the third quarter for LaTech.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, defense has not been a top priority for the
group this year, the squad ranked dead last in the Football Bowl Subdivision
with a massive 518.5 ypg allowed. Teams are scoring 37.3 ppg (110th) versus
Louisiana Tech, but somehow the team seems to be okay with that given how
powerful the offense has been.
Cameron is first in the league and fifth in the nation in total offense by
himself, accounting for 351.0 ypg as he completes close to 70 percent of his
pass attempts for 334.5 ypg and 28 touchdowns.
Taking care of the action on the ground is Dixon with his 105.5 ypg and
staggering 26 touchdowns, while Quinton Patton has caught 94 passes for 1,267
yards and 11 scores.
Trying to slow down the powerful LaTech offensive attack will be a San Jose
State defense that is ranked 22nd in the country with only 334.2 ypg allowed,
resulting in just 19.5 ppg which is second-best in the conference and 23rd in
the nation entering play this week.
Making his presence felt for the Spartans this season is Travis Johnson who is
fourth on the team in total tackles with 57, but is first with 18 tackles for
loss and 11 sacks, the latter making him one of the top producers in the
Offensively, quarterback David Fales has been spectacular, save for his eight
interceptions on 371 attempts. The signal-caller is passing for almost 312 ypg
and has connected on 28 touchdowns while completing 72.5 percent of his
attempts, a level of accuracy rarely shown in the FBS. Noel Grigsby leads the
squad with 66 catches for 1,046 yards, but his nine TDs is one behind Chandler
Jones who has just 46 grabs on the campaign.
With the rushing attack ranked 107th in the country (113.3 ypg), it is clear
that Fales is the key figure on offense, although you cannot count out running
back De'Leon Eskridge who has seven rushing TDs and earlier this season
registered three scores in a single game against UC Davis.
Chances are, even though the Spartans have put together some solid defensive
efforts this season, this will end up being a wild offensive showing, just
like so many LaTech games have been in 2012. Being at home should give San
Jose State an advantage, but not much.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 41, Louisiana Tech 38