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7:30 PM PT8:30 PM MT9:30 PM CT10:30 PM ET2:30 AM GMT10:30 AM 北京时间7:30 PM MST9:30 PM EST, Oct. 15, 2021
CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, California  Attendance: 17,177

No. 24 San Diego St. on upset alert against San Jose St.

San Diego State Aztecs at San Jose State Spartans

  1. San Diego State is 7-1 against San Jose State since the Spartans joined the Mountain West Conference in 2013. San Jose State won last season's matchup 28-17, after the Aztecs had won the seven previous matchups by an average of 22.1 points.
  2. San Diego State is one of three FBS teams to rush for at least 200 yards in all their games this season (Army, Coastal Carolina). They are one of five FBS teams this season to gain more than 60 percent of their total yards by rushing the ball (65.2).
  3. Aztecs running back Greg Bell is one of four FBS players this season who has at least four games with at least 100 rushing yards and a touchdown (other players with four games: Mataeo Durant -- Duke, Bijan Robinson -- Texas, Sean Tucker -- Syracuse).
  4. The Spartans are 8-0 over the last two seasons when they turn the ball over one or fewer times in a game. Their -10 turnover margin this season ranks them 2nd worst in the FBS.
  5. Tyler Nevens of the Spartans is averaging 6.6 yards per rush since the beginning of 2020, which ranks 1st in the Mountain West and 13th in the FBS during that span (minimum 100 carries).

If coach Brady Hoke has his way, No. 24 San Diego State won't take anything for granted Friday night at San Jose State.

"Look at Nevada, they beat Boise State last week and then Boise State beat BYU today," Hoke said Saturday night after the Aztecs' 31-7 win over New Mexico in Carson, Calif. "It tells you how good the Mountain West is and what kind of football teams we're going to have to face in the future."

What Saturday night also revealed is that the Aztecs (5-0, 1-0 MW) are equipped to win every game with a good running game and a solid defense but must go into each contest wondering just what they'll get out of the quarterback position.

The Lobos, even with former San Diego State head coach Rocky Long as their defensive coordinator, don't possess anything resembling top-ranked Georgia's defense. However, for long stretches, New Mexico made the Aztecs' offense look pedestrian.

Aztecs quarterback Jordon Brookshire is a capable runner but has completed just 28 of 57 passes for 389 yards in three games played. Backup Lucas Johnson is accurate (27 of 46) but doesn't have a big arm (only 196 yards).

Brookshire was only 11 of 24 for 130 yards against New Mexico, and it took work to get there. He started the game 3 of 11.

"Jordon got himself out of a rut," Hoke said. "He did a good job getting himself in a good place from a fundamental standpoint."

A mediocre passing game hasn't mattered yet. Greg Bell (520 rushing yards, five scores) would be welcome in a lot of Power 5 locker rooms as a starter, and San Diego State makes big plays on defense. The Aztecs have 18 sacks and seven interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.

Meanwhile, San Jose State (3-3, 1-1) hasn't been able to follow up last year's breakthrough with the kind of success it was hoping for, dropping to .500 with a 32-14 loss Saturday at Colorado State.

The Spartans have been hurt by a combination of injuries and turnovers. Quarterback Nick Starkel (left arm) has missed the past two games. Backup Nick Nash starred in a 37-31 win over New Mexico State and tossed three touchdown passes, but was just 11 of 22 for 154 passing yards with an interception last weekend against the Rams.

Starkel's status for Friday night wasn't known since coach Brent Brennan doesn't discuss injuries, but it's a certainty that Brennan would like to see his team come out on top in the turnover battle. The Spartans have coughed up 13 through six games and forced only three.

"We are still a work in progress," Brennan said. "I guess you could say we are still very much like a Silicon Valley startup."

If San Jose State can take care of the ball, it might have a chance to pull off the upset. The Spartans possess one of the top tight ends on the West Coast in Derrick Deese Jr., who has 11 catches and two touchdowns over the past two games.

The Aztecs own a 22-20-2 lead in the all-time series, although the Spartans' 28-17 win last year in Carson snapped a seven-game losing streak.

--Field Level Media

Updated October 12, 2021

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