Auburn is set to play its second tune-up game this Saturday against the San Jose Spartans in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn (1-0) is coming off a 42-16 win over the Mercer Bear where they were in complete control. The same can not be said of the Spartans (1-0), who narrowly beat out FCS opponent Portland State 21-17.
This will be the third matchup between the two programs and the first since 2015 but because of Bryan Harsin’s time in the Mountain West he and the Spartan’s head coach Brent Brennan and very familiar with each other.
Before the game starts at 6:30 p.m. CT on Saturday here are five things to know about the Spartans.
They won their last game against an SEC opponent
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Auburn may be the heavy favorite over the Spartans but they are no stranger to turning a paycheck game into a victory. They won their last matchup against an SEC team, stunning Arkansas 31-24 in 2019 and making $1.5 million, not bad for a day’s work.
The Tigers will need to take the Spartans seriously to avoid a disastrous upset like the Razorbacks.
The defensive front is strong
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The Spartan’s defensive front should be a good test for Auburn’s new offensive line and quarterbacks.
Defensive end Cade Hall was the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year at defensive end in 2020 and he is back after an injury-plagued 2021 season. He has 31.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks and should not be taken lightly.
Bryan Harsin has a winning record against the Spartans
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Harsin has faced San Jose State numerous times as an assistant but the former Boise State head coach is 3-1 as a head coach against the Spartans.
The loss came in the 2020 Mountain West championship game when the Spartans beat Boise State 34-20.
Transfer QB and WRs helping the offense
(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
San Jose State hit the portal this offseason to add some talent to the offense. They landed Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and Nevada wide receivers Elijah Cooks and Justin Lockhart.
Cordeiro threw for 6,167 passing yards and 45 touchdown passes in three seasons at Hawaii before departing this offseason and was a solid upgrade for the Spartans.
Cooks and Lockhart followed Nevada receivers coach Eric Scott to San Jose after combining for 48 receptions for 627 yards and six touchdowns last season. Cooks had a great game in Week 1, catching six passes for 123 yards against Portland State.
They are looking to rebound from a rough 2021
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After they won the Mountain West in 2020 expectations were high for the 2021 season and they did not meet them. They finished the season 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the conference. Starting quarterback Nick Starkel was only able to play in seven games due to injury and that derailed the offense. With an experienced group on both sides of the ball, they are hoping to put that season behind them.