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San Jose State is in the same spot Utah State was in last week: Facing an important game and, coming off a bye, having two weeks to prepare for it.

New coach Ron Turner's Spartans were the Big West's preseason pick to win the conference, and they are 1-0 in league play, 4-2 overall against a difficult schedule. They meet USU, 1-0 in the league, in the Aggies' homecoming game Saturday at 1 p.m. in Romney Stadium. The Aggies call it a BWC showdown; Turner says it's too early for that - "but it is an important game in the conference race," he says.Last week USU came off its bye for a 28-16 upset win over Kansas State.

Having last week off was good for the Spartans. "We have four to six guys who would not have been able to play last week," Turner says.

It probably helped, too, to get an extra long look at the many Aggie defensive maneuvers, so important in their two wins. Turner says several teams they've played have done the same thing, and it is sometimes a problem.

Although San Jose is the scoringest team in the Big West, averaging 30.2 points a game, ranking 17th nationally, Turner says the offense sometimes will "hit a spell where we can't do anything, can't execute."

Weatherbie doubts that. "They just do a real sound, good job on fundamentals. They out-execute you," he says.

Weatherbie considers San Jose receivers very fast.

Turner disagrees. "They must be watching last year's films; we just don't have it," he says.

In three of the four Spartan wins, they rushed for at least 200 yards; in the other win, they got 170. Junior Nathan DuPree gets 65.8 yards a game. That could play right into USU's strength - it is No. 1 in the league against the rush.

But Weatherbie is wary. "They try to run play-action passes and lull you to sleep and then make a big play. After eight plays (on a drive), then plan on them to try to get it into the end zone," he says.

Junior Spartan quarterback Jeff Garcia scrambles well and avoids rushers, Weatherbie says. Garcia is third in the league in total offense, at 204.3 yards a game. He's second in pass efficiency.

Defensively, San Jose is much like USU, aggressive and opportunistic. Troy Jensen is sixth in the NCAA in interceptions (four for 91 yards).