Utah State (3-4) at San Jose State (2-5)
Kickoff: Saturday, 5 p.m. MDT.
Venue: CEFCU Stadium, San Jose.
TV: CBS Sports.
Livestream: CBS Sports Live.
Radio: Aggie Sports Network.
Series: The Aggies and Spartans are, historically, equals in every sense of the word, with the series 20-20-1. Utah State has had the upper hand lately, with 10 straight wins against San Jose State. USU is also 8-11-1 all time in road games at SJSU, which includes five straight road wins.
Weather: Partly cloudy with little to no chance of precipitation, 11 mph winds out of northwest and temperatures in the low 70s at kickoff.
For Utah State: The Aggies are 3-4, coming off a close yet heartbreaking home loss to Fresno State. USU had won two in a row before the clash with the Bulldogs and had a chance to pull out a third straight win but quarterback Cooper Legas was intercepted with a minute left in the game.
For San Jose State: The Spartans are coming off only their second win this season, a 52-24 victory over New Mexico. SJSU has been competitive in two of its five losses, against Toledo and Boise State, but was handily beaten by superior competition in USC, Oregon State and Air Force.
What to watch for
Another game and another offensive showdown appears to be in the offing for the Aggies.
Utah State enters Saturday’s game against San Jose State with the top offense in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 477.9 yards per game, while also ranking second in scoring offense, with 37.3 points per game, and passing offense, at 305.6 ypg.
San Jose State, meanwhile, isn’t too far behind, averaging 31.4 points and 391.1 total yards per contest.
The Spartans have veered somewhat from their traditional Air Raid attack and it has paid off, with SJSU averaging 148.4 yards rushing per game, on 5.3 yards per carry this season.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and the passing game remain a real problem, though.
Cordeiro is throwing for 231.3 yards per game, and has eight touchdown passes this season, compared to only three interceptions.
SJSU has proven especially adept at not turning the ball over, giving away possession only four times, a mark that ranks second in the Mountain West and eighth among all FBS schools.
That may be where the game is decided, as the Aggies have turned over opponents 14 times this season, the sixth-best mark in the country and tops among Mountain West schools. USU has been adept at forcing both fumbles and interceptions, with six fumbles recovered and eight passes picked off.
Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State, quarterback: The Spartans’ veteran quarterback may not be the most prolific passer, but as a four-year starter in the Mountain West, Cordeiro is the type of signal caller that could decide the game against the Aggies. For his career, Cordeiro ranks fourth in MW history in passing yards (11,037) and sixth in scoring passes (76) and things appear to be easier for him this season with SJSU’s more balanced attack.
“I just think they’re so much more organized offensively for him,” Utah State head coach Blake Anderson said. “We saw that last year. It really fits his skill set. He has all of the tools to be dynamic. … And when he’s played well, they’ve been really tough to defend.”
“We’ve got to go on the road and find a way to get a win against a team that can score a lot of points and it’s always been, you know, really a last-series-of-the-game type of win for us in previous games against San Jose. And I know their record doesn’t look great, but they’re a much better team than their record indicates. I think we are as well, and we’re both fighting for our lives at this point in terms of bowl eligibility … so it’ll be a battle.” — Utah State coach Blake Anderson.
“They do a great job with their scheme. ... What they do with their splits is a little different, so it changes some of your cover downs, some of your rules. So that adds another layer of complication, and then having a really good player at quarterback (in Cooper Legas) like they do, like they’ve always had — at least the last few years — it makes them really hard to defend.” — San Jose State coach Brent Brennan.
Utah State: at San Diego State on Nov. 4.
San Jose State: at Hawaii on Oct. 28.
Utah State schedule
- Sept. 2 — Iowa 24, Utah State 14.
- Sept. 9 — Utah State 78, Idaho State 28.
- Sept. 16 — Air Force 39, Utah State 21.
- Sept. 23 — James Madison 45, Utah State 38.
- Sept. 30 — Utah State 34, UConn 33.
- Oct. 7 — Utah State 44, Colorado State 24.
- Oct. 13 — Fresno State 37, Utah State 32.
- Oct. 21 — at San Jose State (5 p.m. MDT, CBS Sports Network).
- Nov. 4 — at San Diego State (TBA).
- Nov. 11 — vs. Nevada (1 p.m. MST).
- Nov. 18 — vs. Boise State (5 p.m. MST, CBS Sports Network).
- Nov. 24 — at New Mexico (1:30 p.m. MST, CBS Sports Network).