Utah State’s last game against New Mexico State didn’t really matter as far as mountain division race, but nonetheless the Aggies were able to pick up a win against the other Aggies in a 35-13 victory. Logan Bonner was able to have a good game, going for 359 yards and four touchdowns on 23-32 passing. This weeks game will not be as easy as last weeks as Utah State returns to conference play with a tough trip to San Jose State.
Utah State at San Jose State
Location: San Jose, California
Line: San Jose State (-4.5)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 13th 10:30 P.M. EST
Television: Fox Sports 1
Head-to-Head: Utah State is 18-20-1 against the Spartans all-time and they have been in both the WAC and the Mountain West with San Jose State. The last time the Aggies and Spartans met was in 2018, where Utah State picked up a 62-24 win in Logan. The two teams also met in 2017 in San Jose and Utah State would also win this game 61-10. The last time Utah State lost to the Spartans was in 2008 in a 30-7 defeat but the Aggies have won eight straight against the Spartans. San Jose State also has an eight game run in the series, from 1986-1995.
Three keys to victory
1. Limit the turnovers
Logan Bonner has thrown an interception in almost every single game this season and can ill-afford to do the same thing against a San Jose State team that should have Nick Starkel back on the field. The Spartans are different when he is able to suit up so Utah State doesn’t want to give San Jose State more opportunities. Utah State is tied for 86th on turnovers lost and that number needs to improve, especially in a game that looks like it will be close.
2. Convert long drives
One of the problems that Utah State has had in loses this season is not being able to convert long drives. Against Boise State Utah State had 443 total yards but was only able to translate that into three points because they couldn’t finish drives. Something similar would happen against BYU. Utah State would put up 345 yards in that game but only come away with 20 points, 13 which were scored in the first half. Against a San Jose State team that can be explosive offensively, Utah State cannot afford to not convert drives, they must take advantage offensively
3. Slow the game down
This is the type of game that Utah State is going to want to give their defense breaks in. The more rested the Aggies defense is facing San Jose State the better. Utah State has the talent and communication to attempt to slow down the game and they will need to take advantage of this if they are going to have a decent shot of winning this game. Utah State will not only have to slow the game down on defense but they are going to need to try and wear down the San Jose State defense by moving the ball on offense.
Overall, Utah State has a 7-2 (4-1) record compared to San Jose State’s 5-5 (3-3) record. Utah State may be on a four game winning streak but two of those games came that close to going the other way, which is why Utah State needs to be careful. Despite some of the games being close, Utah State has looked like a more complete team after dropping two in a row at home. On the road in a must win situation, expect Utah State to once again do just enough to pull off a victory and take one step closer to the championship game.
Score prediction: Utah State: 34; San Jose State: 24