SDSU vs SJSU Preview: Friday Night Lights Pt. 2/3

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Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo

San Diego State (5-1) vs San Jose State (2-5) 

Friday October 21, 7:30 PM on ESPN2

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California


The San Diego State Aztecs are going into their third conference game of the season.

Coming of an amazing defensive performance in which the Aztec defense showcased their ability to shut down an entire offense, D.J. Pumphrey and the Aztecs will look to continue their pursuit of a Mountain West Championship while looking to win their 14th straight conference game.

The San Jose State Spartans find themselves among the bottom of the division again and will be looking to turn their season around against the division leading Aztecs.

Last week, the Spartans held their opponent, Nevada, to a season low 10-points while putting up 14 to ensure their second victory of the season. The defense will look to continue their dominant play, but they have struggled this season, giving up an average of 30.0 points per game.

On Friday night, San Diego State will be holding a beer festival prior to the game and holding a ceremony at halftime honoring their 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. The inductees will include NBA champion Kawhi Leonard, football players Leon Parma and Noel Prefotaine, and track and field athletes Miesha McKelvy-Jones and Steve Williams. The five Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized on the field during halftime.

What to watch for

Dominant Defense

The Aztec defense has not allowed a touchdown in the last 104 snaps from scrimmage. That combines for over 128:02 of playing time where the Aztec defense has dominated. The Spartans have the 94th ranked defense in the country, that will be matching up against the 65th best offense in the country. SJSU has given up big points to schools who do not have the best offense all season long. Week one they gave up 45 points to Tulsa, and weeks four and five they gave up over 40 points in consecutive games to Iowa State and New Mexico. In fact, last weekend was the first time the defense held an offense under 34 points. So look for the Aztec offense to take advantage of this and move the ball at their own pace.

Spartan Offense

Now the Spartan defense may not be very good, but the offense has found ways to put up big numbers throughout the season. Week two they put up 66 points at home against Portland State, and put up 41 points in a losing effort on the road in New Mexico. Coming on the road against the number eight defense in the country, SJSU will be motivated to prove that their offense can be lethal like they have been previously.

Key Matchups 

Spartan Backs vs Aztec Front

Three SJSU running backs average a total of 5.02 yards per carry. Zamore Ziegler leads the pack with 6.1 yards per carry, followed by Malik Roberson who is averaging 5.1, and closed out by Deontae Cooper who is leading the team in attempts and averages 4.2 yards per carry. All three of these guys have the ability to get first downs on just a couple of touches. But they will be meeting a front line led by Calvin Munson with a total of 58 tackles through six games, averaging out to 9.6 tackles per game.

Pumph and Penny vs Spartan Defense

In the last four matchups, the Aztecs have run for a combined 1,071 yards. Yes, the Aztecs are averaging a total average of 267.8 yards per game against this Spartan defense. So watch for this matchup to help decide the outcome of the game. We all have seen what Pumphrey and Penny are capable of against much tougher defenses, so look for this average of 267.8 to continue to rise.

My Prediction

D.J. Pumphrey is rolling now and it’s not looking like anyone, or even anything, is capable of putting a stop to it. San Jose has given up a lot of points this season, and in recent matchups between SDSU and SJSU. San Diego State has scored 12 rushing touchdowns in the last four games, so I’m predicting D.J. will help keep this average of three rushing touchdowns per game. Numbers 19 and 20 will both combine for a total of 320 yards and four touchdowns as the Aztecs get their 14th straight conference win at home by a score of 34-13.

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