San Jose State vs. Utah State: Keys To An Aggies Win, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Aggies need a victory against the Spartans to secure bowl eligibility. Here’s how to watch and what Utah State can do to win.
Another must-win for the Aggies.
WEEK 12: San Jose State Spartans (6-3, 4-2 Mountain West) vs. Utah State Aggies (5-5, 4-2 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, November 19 — 7:45 PM MT/6:45 PM PT
WHERE: Maverik Stadium; Logan, UT
WEATHER: Mostly clear, low of 12 degrees
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS1, by following this link.
RADIO: The San Jose State Spartans broadcast can be found in the South Bay on 860 AM The Answer (KTRB). The Utah State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Aggie Sports Network, which includes flagship 1280 AM/97.5 FM (KZNS) out of Salt Lake City.
SERIES RECORD: San Jose State leads the all-time series, 20-19-1. In the last meeting on November 13, 2021, the Aggies defeated the Warriors, 48-17, in San Jose.
LAST WEEK: San Jose State lost on the road against San Diego State, 43-27, while Utah State defeated Hawaii on the road, 41-31.
ODDS: San Jose State -2
SP+ PROJECTION: San Jose State by 5.0 (61% win probability)
FEI PROJECTION: San Jose State by 10.6
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: San Jose State 56.88% win probability (21.69-19.29)
One last time at HOME!
🏟 Maverik Stadium
⌚️ Saturday | 7:45 PM MT
— USU Football (@USUFootball) November 15, 2022
After notching a key road win against Hawaii last Saturday night, the Utah State Aggies will brave the blistering cold at home against San Jose State this weekend.
Brent Brennan’s Spartans absorbed a shocking road loss themselves in Week 11, getting shellacked by division rival San Diego State to, despite some niche mathematical possibilities, lose their best chance to steal the West division crown. Playing the spoiler has its own rewards, however, so San Jose State should still be plenty motivated to keep USU from securing bowl eligibility for another week.
Here’s how the Aggies can get that sixth win against the Spartans.
Three Keys to a Utah State Victory
1. Keep the Spartans pass rush at bay.
One thing that probably hasn’t received enough attention this year is how well Alfred Edwards III has done in pass protection. According to Pro Football Focus, the senior left tackle leads the Mountain West with a 90.2 pass-blocking grade.
The Aggies will need every bit of that ability considering that, on the one hand, both he and fellow tackle Jacob South have been banged up in recent weeks and, on the other hand, San Jose State currently sports a 11.8% team sack rate that leads the entire country. As you might expect, the defensive end duo of Cade Hall and Viliami Fehoko have led the way with a combined 13.5 sacks, so how well the veteran linemen hold the edges will be a key factor in who wins the game.
2. Make San Jose State one-dimensional on offense.
Overall, the Spartans have done a good job bouncing back from a disappointing 2021, but one element that has held them back a few times this year is an inconsistent running game. Though running back Kairee Robinson has nine rushing touchdowns this fall, that offense has struggled when he isn’t a factor.
In San Jose State’s six wins, Robinson has averaged a healthy 5.11 yards per carry. However, in the team’s three losses, that average drops to an even 3.0 YPC. If the Aggies can keep him bottled up, forcing Chevan Cordeiro to win the game on all fronts should only increase their odds at an upset.
3. Stay willing to roll the dice on third and fourth downs.
Utah State hasn’t been particularly good at moving the chains on third downs all season long, topping 40% just twice in ten games and mustering a 29.4% conversion rate that is tenth in the Mountain West. In recent weeks, however, the Aggies have been more aggressive about going for it on fourth downs and, for the most part, it has paid dividends. In the last two weeks against New Mexico and Hawaii, they’ve converted all five such opportunities.
That willingness to take chances could take center stage, especially when the Aggies are on San Jose State’s side of the field, since kicker Connor Coles (his fake field goal touchdown two weeks ago notwithstanding) has been a little shakier overall than he was in 2021, converting on 10-of-14 field goal tries.
Did you know that Utah State has won nine consecutive games in this series? The last time that San Jose State defeated the Aggies was way back in 2008, and both teams have had their fair share of ups and downs in the succeeding years.
To extend that streak, Cooper Legas will need to build upon the strong performance he had last week against Hawaii, but that could be a big ask against an equally strong Spartans defense. It’ll depend just as much on which San Jose State offense shows up, too, but the Aggies have continued to struggle defending the run. I think that’ll make the difference in San Jose State escaping Logan with a victory.
San Jose State 31, Utah State 28