San Diego State vs. Utah State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Friday night’s matchup between the Aztecs and Aggies.
When: Friday, Oct. 28 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Maverik Stadium, Logan, Utah
TV Broadcast: CBSSN
Rocky Long has his Aztecs streaking once again. San Diego State (7-1) started out with three straight wins, and after a surprising loss to South Alabama in Week 4, the Aztecs have won three straight once again over UNLV, Fresno State and San Jose State. This past weekend’s win over the Spartans, 42-3, saw San Diego State drop 35 points combined in the second and third quarters.
As for Matt Wells’ Aggies (3-4), well, they’ve finally broken their losing streak. After falling to Air Force, Boise State and Colorado State, Utah State used a Week 7 bye to rest up and take down Fresno State this past weekend, 38-20. The Aggies took the lead early in the first quarter and never wavered to pick up the win.
This has been all Aztecs, all the time. San Diego State has a commanding lead in the series, 11-1. The last time Utah State won was 1967. The Aggies have lost nine straight to the Aztecs, including last year’s 48-14 final in San Diego.
What To Know About San Diego State
If you think Donnel Pumphrey is going to stop gashing defenses, sit yourself down because that’s not happening anytime soon. He posted 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries against San Jose State. On the season, Pumphrey has rushed for 1,246 yards and 13 touchdowns. He leads all of college football with 178 rushing yards per game.
Rashaad Penny added 105 rushing yards and three touchdowns on only nine carries, though. And quarterback Christian Chapman contributed 31 rushing yards, but the majority of his work came in the passing game. Chapman completed 13-of-18 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown and one pick.
What to Know About Utah State
Kent Myers has really found himself as a quarterback. In the win over Fresno State, he completed 17-of-29 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Utah State doesn’t need him to throw 50 times per game, but it does need him to be efficient and protect the ball, which he did this past weekend. Myers also ran for 66 yards on eight carries, which is where his true value lies: as a dual-threat quarterback.
When he did hand it off, Tonny Lindsey racked up 90 yards on 23 carries, and Lajuan Hunt added 24 yards on only four carries. The lone rushing touchdown was on a four-yard run by Damion Hobbs to cap an 11-play, 75-yard drive with 7:14 remaining in the game. That was the last score recorded in the Utah State win.
Offense: San Diego State – Pumphrey is too quick, too electric for the Aggies.
Defense: San Diego State – Not having Derek Babiash is a hit. He and Billy Vaughn Jr. are suspended for a violation of team rules, but the Aztecs still get the advantage on defense. They’re ranked No. 6 nationally in total defense (284.6 yards/game).
Special Teams: San Diego State – Penny is a beast in the kick return game, and John Baron has missed only one field goal en route to 45 total points this season.
Coaching: San Diego State – This isn’t close. Long’s team is the defending Mountain West champion and has started off 7-1.
Matchup To Watch
San Diego State halfbacks vs. Utah State halfbacks
Pumphrey has the capability of breaking the spirit of a defense. When he gets into the open field, he can shake, bake and streak toward the end zone. With Penny there to help shoulder the load in the running game, the Aztecs can discourage the Utah State defense by hitting it big with some long running plays. At the same time, the Aggies need Hunt and Lindsey to protect the football and keep their legs moving to extend drives and control the time of possession.
Spread: San Diego State -6
San Diego State vs. Utah State Prediction
This game shouldn’t be as close as the spread indicates. Utah State has a pretty stout defense, but Pumphrey is also a horse of a different color that it hasn’t faced since Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols torched the Aggies for 132 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards. Pumphrey is going to fly past the 100-yard mark on the ground. He’ll rush for two touchdowns and catch another. Myers will throw a couple of touchdowns but will also get picked off in a double-digit win for San Diego State.
San Diego State vs. Utah State Score Prediction: San Diego State 34, Utah State 13