The Friday night schedule for week 5 features a potentially exciting Mountain West match-up with the Aggies of Utah State (2-2) taking on the host Spartans of San Jose State (1-2) at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, CA in prime-time (9:00pm ET). Utah St. opened their season with a tough 30-26 loss at Utah, followed up with a 52-20 win at Air Force and a 70-6 beat down over Weber St., and nearly pulled off a stunning upset last week over USC with a 17-14 loss in Los Angeles. San Jose St. opened their season with a 24-0 win over Sacramento St, but followed up with a 34013 loss to Stanford in week 2 and a 43-24 beat down at Minnesota in week 4.
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton currently ranks tied for second in the nation with 14 touchdown passes on the year, and has already thrown for over 1,100 yards with only 1 INT on the year. He has also averaged 5.4 YPC on the ground for a rushing attack that also features Joey DeMartino (225 yards, 4 TDs) and Joe Hill (222 yards, 1 TD).
San Jose St. returns top quarterback prospect David Fales, who threw for 467 yards and 3 TDs in last season’s meeting with Utah St, and 439 yards last week against Minnesota. His top receiver Noel Grigsby will miss this game with an injury, but Fales (880 yards passing, 6 TDs, 3 INTs) will still have the services of Chandler Jones (20 receptions, 370 yards, 4 TDs) and Jabari Carr (17 receptions, 103 yards). The Spartans rank 97th nationally in scoring offense despite their abundance of talent on that side of the ball, that is more a reflection of a tough early season schedule that included a Stanford defense that ranks among the best in the country.
Utah State has won 12 straight conference games and 7 straight conference road games dating back to the 2011 season, and 18 of their last 23 games overall. The Aggies are 6-1 SU and 4-2-1 ATS as road favorites since 2011.
Utah State vs. San Jose State Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Utah State -10
@San Jose State Spartans +10
Over 61 (-110)
Under 61 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Utah State vs. San Jose State Pick
The Aggies had 13 sacks and held the Spartans to 4 yards rushing in their last meeting with San Jose State, a 49-27 blowout win for Utah State. In that game Kerwynn Williams had 176 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, while Chuckie Keeton threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for another. With both teams featuring new coaching staffs and San Jose St. has a completely new scheme from last season, but both quarterbacks and most the key offensive performers return. San Jose State’s defense has been among the nation’s best against the pass but has allowed 212 YPG rushing. Their poor tackling was an issue against Minnesota, and fatigue from the fast pace of Utah State’s offense may make that even more of an issue on Friday night.
The Spartans defense switched to a 3-4 alignment this season, and that left the vulnerable against power running teams Stanford and Minnesota. Utah St. runs from a spread attack, and they should be able to rebound from the USC game, when they were held to only 285 yards of total offense, to put up points on the ground and through the air against the Spartans. They averaged 7.8 yards per pass and 8.8 yards per rush in last season’s meeting, and Fales had a huge day as well in a game in which he was battered, so points should not be in short supply in this game. Expect both QBs to be on their game for a nationally televised affair, and for them to both put on a show Friday night. The line has moved up a little too high for me to recommend a play on Utah St., but the total appears to be a solid play here. Take the over in what should be a high-scoring game.