San Diego State vs. San Jose State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Friday night’s matchup between the Aztecs and Spartans.
San Diego State vs. San Jose State Game Preview
When: Friday, Oct. 21 – 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
TV Broadcast: ESPN2
Achieving an undefeated football season is one of the most difficult tasks in sports, and had it not been for one big bump in the road, San Diego State (5-1) would be halfway to a perfect record. That lone blip on the radar was a 42-24 loss to South Alabama on Oct. 1 after the Aztecs started 3-0. Since then, though, San Diego State has won back-to-back games against UNLV and Fresno State. Last weekend’s road win against the Bulldogs, 17-3, saw the Aztecs control the game from start to finish.
As far as San Jose State (2-5) is concerned, it’s been a far-from-perfect season. After starting out 1-1, the Spartans lost in four straight games — two at home, two on the road. However, the losing streak was snapped this past Saturday when San Jose State took down Nevada at home, 14-10. The Spartans snagged the lead in the second half and staved off a second-half comeback attempt by the Wolf Pack to take the victory.
This all-time series has been extremely close over the years. The Spartans have the advantage, 19-18-2, but the Aztecs have won the last three meetings against San Jose State. Last year’s matchup in San Jose was a 30-7 victory for San Diego State, who went on to claim the Mountain West title.
What To Know About San Diego State
When are you going to learn? Donnel Pumphrey is the man. He rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries in the win over Fresno State this past weekend. It was the third time this season he’s gained more than 200 rushing yards, and the only game he fell short of 100 was when he racked up 98 rushing yards against New Hampshire in Week 1. Pumphrey is sitting at 1,111 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns through six game — incredible.
He was so amazing on the ground that the Aztecs barely had to throw the ball. Christian Chapman only threw 12 times, and he completed seven of them for 72 yards. Nothing about that was eye-popping, but the defense was certainly solid for San Diego State. Damontae Kazee, Kameron Kelly and Derek Bablash all picked off one pass each against the Bulldogs, and Calvin Munson led the team with 10 total tackles. The Aztecs held Fresno State to 217 yards of total offense.
What to Know About San Jose State
As heavy as Pumphrey’s workload was last weekend, Spartans tailback Malik Roberson’s was just as big. He took his 35 carries and ran for 139 yards but never found his way into the end zone. No, that was all Kenny Potter’s doing. The San Jose State quarterback rushed for only four yards on 13 carries, but he carried the ball across the goal line twice. Potter also let the ball fly 17 times and completed 11 passes for 142 yards. He ended up leaving the game with a head injury, but he should be good to go on Friday.
The Spartans got a nice showing from their defensive unit, too. Both Trevon Bierria and Andre Chachere wound up with an interception, and Christian Tago led the team with nine total tackles, two of which were for a loss. San Jose State held Nevada to 257 yards of total offense and kept the Wolf Pack out of the end zone until there was 6:52 left in the fourth quarter.
Offense: San Diego State – He could be blindfolded and taking part in a three-legged race, the ball should still go to Pumphrey. The Aztecs get the edge here because of him.
Defense: San Diego State – The Aztecs allow 297 yards of total offense per game, which ranks them at No. 8 in the country. They’re also No. 27 in scoring defense, giving up 20 points per game.
Special Teams: San Diego State – John Baron has kicked his way to 39 total points this season and has missed only one field goal. Plus, Rashaad Penny is nasty in the kick return game.
Coaching: San Diego State – Rocky Long gets the nod over Ron Caragher. The Aztecs are the defending MW champs and have only one loss to their record right now.
Matchup To Watch
Donnel Pumphrey vs. San Jose State defense
San Jose State could take the Donald Trump approach and try and build a wall to keep Pumphrey out of the end zone, but even that probably wouldn’t stop him. The Spartans will have to swarm to the ball and keep Pumphrey off the edge. If he gets to the perimeter, he could be running for days. San Jose State will have to blow up the edges and rely on its linebackers to get off their blocks in order to limit the damage done by the San Diego State running back. If he gets to the second level, it won’t be long before he’s streaking past the safeties for six points.
Spread: San Diego State – 23.5
Over/Under: No Line as of post
San Diego State vs. San Jose State Prediction
We’re talking about the nation’s leading rusher taking on the No. 113-ranked rushing defense. Pumphrey is going to put up yet another game with more than 200 rushing yards, and he’s going to do it on less than 35 carries. He’ll find the end zone three times, which he hasn’t done since Week 3. But the moral of the story is this will be a blowout win for the Aztecs. Potter will find the end zone on the ground, but it will be too little, too late.
San Diego State vs. San Jose State Score Prediction: San Diego State 42, San Jose State 24