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San Jose State Keys to a victory Over Hawai’i

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San Jose State and Hawaii have traded punches throughout the years, but the Spartans lead the all-time series, 19-18-1, with one cancellation.

NCAA Football: Portland State at San Jose State Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6: San José State vs. Hawai'i (Homecoming)

When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 1:30 p.m. PT

Where: CEFCU Stadium, Home of the Spartans, San José, California

Television: Time-Warner Oceanic Cable will televise the San José State-Hawai'i game on a pay-per-view basis only in Hawai'i. Robert Kekaula calls the play-by-play. Rich Miano is the analyst. Scott Robbs serves as the sideline reporter.

Play-by-Play Radio Coverage: KLIV (1590 AM, San José) originates San José State football broadcasts. Justin Allegri calls the play-by-play. Kevin Richardson provides commentary. Air time for the KLIV broadcast is 1:00 p.m. (PT).

The upcoming game with Hawai'i will be the 80th annual Homecoming for San José State. The Spartans have a 47-30-2 record in Homecoming games. San José State has wins in two of its last three Homecoming games. This year's Homecoming contest marks the third time Hawai'i is the opponent. The Rainbow Warriors won San José State's 2005 Homecoming game 45-38 in overtime. San Jose State outlasted Hawai'i, 28-27, in the Spartans' 2011 Homecoming. The one cancellation in the series was the December 16, 1941 game in Honolulu. The game was canceled following the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor.

Stop Diocemy Saint Juste

The San José State front seven needs to close up the gaps and get some interior pressure to prevent Saint Juste from getting to the second level. Saint Juste is averaging 6.7 yards per carry, though he’s only scored two touchdowns this season. The Spartan defense has been allowing 268.2 average yards per game to opponents. San José State needs to contain Saint Juste to prevent Hawai’i from chipping away and controlling the game clock.

Get Zamore Zigler Running

The ground game needs to keep up its current production. In its last two games, San José State is averaging 153 yards a game rushing. The workload in the running game was well distributed last week against New Mexico, but there were three who stood out. Zamore Zigler toted the rock nine times for 91 rushing yards and a touchdown. Both Cooper and Crawley also rushed for scores. The Spartans need to get their run game in full gear by getting Zigler running early. Zigler is averaging 6.2 yards per game with three touchdowns. Run Zigler, run!

Kenny Potter Needs to Get Going Early

Last week, Quarterback Kenny Potter was not afraid to drop back and throw the football. He hit on 15-of-29 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns. Potter found seven different Spartans for receptions, and each of his three scoring throws went to a different player: Deontae Cooper, Tim Crawley and Tre Hartley. Potter is connecting on 58.9% of passes averaging 8.91 yards per pass with eight touchdowns to three interceptions. Potter will need to keep the Hawai’i defense honest to allow for the big play and give the running game a chance to move the ball.

The Matchup

After five games, 15 players made their first major college start for San José State this season. That’s a lot of youth on the field. The Spartans need to limit mistakes and force turnovers on the field. San José State needs this victory to even their conference record to 1-1. If the Spartans cannot clear this hurdle, they’re done for the season and athletic director Gene Bleymaier will have to start asking tough questions of his program and head coach.

The Spartans are favored by 3 points, which isn’t nearly as much as one might have expected a few weeks ago. But since then, Hawai’i has ticked up a notch and San José State has headed in the opposite direction.

If the Spartans lose — and I don’t think they will; I’m guessing they will be able to dig deep for a victory at home. It will be close one. Spartans win 28-24.