San Jose State will welcome the Air Force Academy to San Jose for their Senior Day game. It will be the last game of the season at home for the Spartans, who have been on two week’s rest. They haven’t played on a Saturday the last two weeks. San Jose State played Boise State two weeks ago on a Friday night, and then had a bye week this prior week. This has the potential of working one of two ways, San Jose State come in feeling fresh and focused, or they’re rusty and can’t shake it off in time. In any event, they had to be doing their homework on Air Force during this extended time off. The problem preparing for the Falcons is that you know what’s coming, but it can be tough to slow down. Everybody in attendance is well aware that a running attempt is coming, well, or 95 percent of the time. Picking up on where the ball is going can be a chore for many defenses.
Air Force employs a triple-option attack and do it at a pretty effective rate. San Jose State’s last time on the field saw themselves get gashed by a traditional running attack against Boise State. The Broncos scored 45 points in a 45-31 loss. Air Force is certainly capable of putting up 45 points, too. The Falcons played in a wild one vs Colorado State last week, which resulted in a 49-46 win in favor of Air Force. The Rams had it tough trying to figure out how to stop their triple-option.
Starting quarterback Nate Romine did not play last week and the offense was still flying around. Air Force inserted backup Arion Worthman and he bulldozed Colorado State for 143 yards rushing. He played well against Army the previous week, too. So if Romine isn’t healthy enough to go because of his ankle, then I have faith in Worthman. Romine is the better passer, though, with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. We may even see both of them get some work on Saturday night.
It leaves this game slightly more difficult to prepare for in the case of San Jose State. They aren’t sure which quarterback they are getting. If Romine starts then I imagine we’ll see some more passing from Air Force. Worthman will keep the ball on the ground and this guy is not slow, so San Jose State better be on their toes. After Romine got hurt against Fresno State, Worthman came in and played much better getting the offense going which was stagnant up to that point.
Air Force Falcons vs. San Jose State Spartans NCAAF Betting Odds:
Air Force -10(-115)
vs. San Jose State +10(-105)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Air Force vs. San Jose State Pick:
By all accounts in the short time Worthman has been playing, the future looks bright at the quarterback position for Air Force. Worthman will assume the starting duties next year, and this has been a perfect preamble for next season. He’s steered Air Force to an average of 40 points the last two weeks as a starter and we’ll see if he gets the call at starter again this week. Either way, I expect him to get playing time alongside Romine if Romine is healthy. To me, though, Worthman is the more talented guy who should be starting regardless. Another player to keep an eye on is running back Timothy McVey. McVey rushed for 184 yards last week, including 4 touchdowns on the ground. We’ll see if he can duplicate that performance against San Jose State. He has 5 touchdowns total the last two weeks.
The Spartans are pretty capable of shutting the passing game down. San Jose State won’t need much in the way of pass defense in this one, though. Where they struggle is against the run. They have a suspect unit, which is allowing 240.6 yards per game on the ground, 119th in the nation. Conversely, the Air Force ground game has churned out some solid yardage, with 310 yards per game. That is good enough for 3rd in all of college football. They predictably don’t put up a lot of passing yards, but for an option team 146.7 yards is not too bad. Air Force passes for more than some traditional offenses like Boston College, San Diego State, and Rutgers.
The best option for San Jose State is to find some points through the air. The Falcons are 76th against the pass, so there should be some room to find receivers. However, the Spartans are averaging just 221.4 yards passing, so they may not have the weapons to take advantage of Air Force here. Air Force are 23rd against the run, so it’s going to be their best chance of finding success in this game. The Spartans had two weeks to prepare for Air Force, but I’m not so sure they can keep up tonight. They will hold Air Force down for a quarter or two, but watch the floodgates open after their defense gets softened up. Air Force had bigger plans than three losses this season, but they should finish the rest of the season up strong. I expect something in the area of a 37-21 win for Air Force tonight in California.
PICK: AIR FORCE -10 (-115)