SAN JOSE, Calif. — The New Mexico State and San Jose State contest is between two teams who are looking for traction as the midway point of the college football season approaches. New Mexico State (1-4) isn’t exactly playing how they would have liked entering the season, and San Jose State (2-2) is looking to correct some issues to start moving up the standings in the Mountain West Conference.
If one looks at this game on paper, they’ll see two teams that have struggled to put points on the board consistently. San Jose State hasn’t been great on defense, but they have played tough defense all year long. New Mexico State has been downright horrible on defense this year, and every team they’ve played has taken advantage of that.
San Jose is a huge favorite in this game for good reason. They allow 109 fewer yards per game than New Mexico State, and that’s a recipe for disaster versus any team in college football. The San Jose State coaching staff will look to exploit the NMSU defense and score early and often.
For San Jose State to win like most people think they will, they’ll need these things to happen.
Defense to force turnovers
The San Jose State defenders should be licking their chops for this matchup. New Mexico State quarterback, Jonah Johnson, has been horrible with ball security with twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes. His completion percentage is also at a horrific 54%. In this day and age of college football, that simply isn’t cutting it. San Jose State should look to score early and often and force New Mexico State to throw the ball. A rough day will follow if Johnson is forced to drop back and pass more than he’d like. San Jose State should have a stellar day on the defensive side of the ball.
Run the ball
If there was ever a game to give Spartans running back Tyler Nevens the ball, it’s this one. New Mexico State is allowing a putrid 187 yards per game on the ground. San Jose State hasn’t had much of a chance to establish the run in recent weeks, given the competition that they’ve faced. However, this week is different, and they should be looking to pound the rock until they show they can consistently stop it.
Nevens has had a great year so far, toting the ball for 5.78 yards per carry. To go up against a terrible defense in the Aggies, Nevens should be salivating to show the country how good he is. If the Spartans coaching staff is smart, 20+ carries should be guaranteed for Nevens this week.
Play turnover-free football
Whoever wins the turnover battle typically wins the game. The Spartans haven’t been winning the turnover battle, hence why they are only 2-2 at this point in the season. The turnovers have come mostly from senior quarterback Nick Starkel. Whether it’s forcing passes or trying to rally his team from trailing in the game, he’s tried to do too much this season. He needs to relax in this contest. Playing a less talented team, Starkel should have more time than usual to throw, and he should look to make the wise, simple pass. He needs to trust his playmakers and let them do the work. Just get them the ball and allow them to show off their skills.
Aside from Starkel, everyone on offense should secure the ball and look to avoid mistakes. If they don’t make mistakes, they should win this game easily.
This game is a contest between two teams looking to get their season back on track. Only one team will be able to do that in this one, and it should be the Spartans. Look for San Jose State to establish the run early and often and dominate on both sides of the ball. This game should be over heading into the fourth quarter, and the Spartans should move to 3-2, and the Aggies should be 1-5. A lopsided victory for San Jose State is the likely outcome in this game.
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