Northern Colorado VS. San Jose State
Location: San Jose, Ca. (CEFCU Stadium)
Date/Time: Thursday, August 29 at 7 p.m. (PDT)
Television: The game will not be televised.
Streaming: The game will not be streamed.
Radio: SiriusXM channel 965
Head-to-head: This will be the first meeting between the two programs.
What to expect:
1: San Jose State will be fired up
We all know what happened to the Spartans in their FCS matchup last season — a stunning 44-38 upset loss to UC Davis. Coach Brent Brennan isn’t going to let his team overlook another FCS opponent, even one that finished 2-9 a year ago. SJSU will likely play to its strengths early to gain a sizable lead in the first quarter. Expect Josh Love to toss some deep balls Bailey Gaither and Tre Walker and for the defense to get aggressive. Brennan can’t afford to let the Spartans’ confidence slide early, and he knows it.
2: All Eyes on the O-line
Quarterback had been a weakness for SJSU ever since David Fales took his talents to the NFL. It’s finally a strength again. Josh Love, the fifth-year senior, is a leader on this team and might be the most talented player for the Spartans.
Problem is, he was in-and-out of action last season after taking a pounding from opposing pass rushers. San Jose State’s offensive line was simply horrendous, and it was an area that has been revamped for 2019. Some players to look out for on SJSU’s line include Minnesota grad transfer Quinn Oseland and Tyler Stevens, who will be at right tackle and right guard respectively. Oseland didn’t get much playing time in the Big-10, likely due to his small frame for that level of football, and Stevens spent all of last season as a backup.
The Bears have a weak defensive front that managed just eight sacks last season. If they are able to get consistent pressure on Love and if the tag-team of Dejon Packer and Tyler Nevens can’t get it going on the ground, the Spartans are in deep trouble.
3: On the flip side..
The other side of the trenches could be an issue for the Spartans. Their defensive line did a solid job of pressuring the QB a year ago, even if it didn’t result in many sacks. However they lose two of their most productive pass rushers in Bryson Bridges and Boogie Roberts.
It’s Cade Hall’s time to shine now. The now-sophomore led the team in tackles as a freshman with three. Yeah, three. Not a great sign. But if he grows as a player and expands that number, he could be something to watch out for when the Spartan defense is on the field.
As for the others on the line, it might not look as optimistic. There simply isn’t a lot of tape out there on them. Jamaar Hardy and Viliami Fehoko Jr. are both making their first Division I starts on Thursday. They could very well shock the conference and become a dominant line, but in reality a lack of big-time college football experience in the trenches will likely hurt the Spartans this season. If they have trouble getting to UNC QB Jacob Knipp, that will not be a good sign for this defense.
San Jose State will be able to build a little confidence with a relatively easy win over the Bears. As awful as the UC Davis was for them, there’s simply no way that coach Brennan allows his team to overlook this opponent. They will be ready for this one.
Northern Colorado isn’t a good team, even for FCS standards. It has a solid quarterback in Jacob Knipp, who has a cannon arm, but doesn't have the weapons, or protection, to really make a huge impact. The Spartans secondary will need to be disciplined, but with the Bears’ porous O-line, the front-seven should have a field day.
San Jose State 38, Northern Colorado 14