Ask a Boise State Fan, and they'll tell you - SDSU's riding on their coat tails into the Beast next year. Ask an Aztec Fan, and they'll tell you - Boise doesn't go through to the Beast without some help from SoCal, especially when it comes to little things like finding out where to park those pesky non-football sports. Ask anybody else in the WAC or the MWC, and they'll tell you - some of us cannot wait until both of them are gone, so we can at long last stop talking about the both of them.
It is regrettable that SJSU will enter the MWC just as SDSU is leaving it, in that I believe between us and San Diego and Fresno, we could have some pretty fun conference travel and rivalry games; alas, it's not to be, at least for now. In the meantime, we have a nice little OOC matchup down south, and let's see what we need to know about our friends, the Aztecs...
WHEN: Saturday, September 22nd at 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
TV: KUSI will cover the game in the San Diego area.
And now, the numbers...
SDSU 2012 Record: 2-1; wins versus Army and North Dakota, loss @ Washington
All-time Record versus SDSU: 18-15-2
Current Streak: SJSU W2
Best SJSU Streak: SJSU W11 (1938 to 1952)
Worst SJSU Streak: SDSU W7 (1976-77 then 1995-98)
Last Meeting: 2008, SJSU 35-10
Coach: SDSU's coach is Rocky Long, whom Spartan fans will remember as the coach of the New Mexico
Loobs Lobos in the 2006 New Mexico Bowl. Rocky's in his second year in San Diego, and has a record of 10-6 down in the Mission Valley.
Team Stats: Total offense puts them at 47th in FBS, 21st in rushing offense and 102nd in passing offense. The Aztecs are 43rd in Scoring offense thus far this season, putting up 34 points per game thus far. Total defense puts them at 62nd in FBS, 58th in rushing defense and 68th in pass defense. They are 58th in scoring defense as well, giving up 23 points per game.
Key Players: On offense, the O begins and ends with Ryan Katz, who is responsible for over 50% of the Aztec offense. He's got a good and accurate arm (35-58-584, 5 TD's and 1 INT, rating 169.9), and he is mobile as well, having run 28 times for 146 yards thus far this season. SJSU's D-line and LB's will have to make sure they do not over-commit on the pass rush as they have done in the prior two games, because mobile QB's have had some success against the Spartan Defense. Even though Katz is a weapon on offense, the SDSU offense is very balanced, with two different runners (Adam Muema and Walter Kazee) each having over 30 carries and over 250 yards thus far. The SDSU offense apparently (at least until now) lets the RB's run and the WR's catch, and there's not a lot of intermixing between the two.
On defense, SDSU has been even more successful at generating tackles for loss than SJSU has, generating on average 8.33 TFL per game. However, that hasn't translated into a whole bunch of sacks, in that SDSU is middle-of-the-road in FBS in that stat, having gotten thus far 8 sacks in total this season. With SJSU's starting left guard, David Quessenberry, currently on the questionable list and his main replacement being freshman Wes Schweitzer, look for SDSU to place more pressure on David Fales than he has seen up to this point on this season.
Overall: This is one of those OOC matchups that the Vegas oddsmakers hate. Both teams come in statistically about dead-even in many marks. The opening line was SDSU -4, that has since fallen to the -3 area which, with the usual 3-point home field advantage factored in, leaves this as essentially a toss-up. Where this game will be decided is probably on the SJSU offensive line. If the Spartans are able to give Fales the time he needs, SJSU's talented WR corps can and will make SDSU pay. The Spartans can and will pass to set up the run, and if the Aztecs are put into a cycle of focusing on Fales, RB's Tyler Ervin and DeLeon Eskridge may be able to get into some open space. If, on the other hand, the Aztecs are able to contain Fales and keep the SJSU receivers in front of them, it may be a long and frustrating evening for the Spartans. In any event, this is gonna be a close game, much closer than either team probably figured it was going to be coming into this season.
Fearless Prediction: The SJSU O-line holds it together, Fales is able to do his thing, and the Spartans come away with a 35-28 road victory.