- SJSU gets the ball after Keith Smith recovered a Riley Nelson fumble at SJSU's 3 yard line, pre-empting BYU's first scoring attempt. However, a bad snap sent the ball flying to the end zone and a safety for BYU. BYU then gets the ball and scores a TD and goes up 9-0. On his weekly radio show on KLIV-AM, coach Mike MacIntyre explained that the BYU fans sitting behind end zone were so loud that the snapper misheard directions and promised that this would never happen again.
- However, SJSU did get a field goal and TD off both times when BYU's Nelson threw interceptions.
- An inept Spartan defense let BYU's punter get a rest: Never in the game did BYU ever have to punt on 4th down! It was either scoring or turnovers for the BYU offense.
- Furthermore, SJSU's leading rusher Brandon Rutley sat out the game due to ankle injury but will return on Friday night v. Hawaii. Without Rutley, SJSU was outrushed 70-224. In contrast, in the past 2 wins with Rutley, SJSU ran for 230 yards (against New Mexico St) and 137 yards (Colorado State).
Furthermore, SJSU will have to put up against a powerful defense much more cunning and intimidating than BYU's. According to USAToday.com:
- Hawaii's defense is ranked 27th of all FBS teams and has allowed an average 327 yards per game, 5.14 yards per play, and throughout the year 18 touchdowns.
- Colorado State: 33rd, 344.00 yards/game, 5.18 yards/play, 17 TDs.
- BYU: 43rd, 351.33 yards/game, 5.58 yards/play, 16 TDs.
- SJSU: 92nd, 414.50 yards/game, 5.98 yards/play, 22 TDs.
Hawaii's running unit has generated much production: 8 TDs over 435 yards, while SJSU took 804 yards to score 9 TDs.
Many in the SJSU community are hyping this game as it will be ESPN's Friday night game of the week; kickoff will be 6PM Pacific. Other outlets broadcasting the game will be ESPN3.com (the live streaming arm of ESPN) and local radio stations KSJS-FM 90.5 (pregame 5:30PM followed by the game in entirety) and joining in progress at 7PM KLIV-AM 1590. (KLIV is a news station, I guess they insisted on playing the news at six in the evening in competition with the TV stations.)
If Hawaii in Ruston, La. could beat Louisiana Tech , ranked higher than SJSU in both passing and rushing, 44-26 on Oct. 1, it will take a strong-willed defense for the Spartans even to get close to beating Hawaii. In fact, in September, Hawaii lost 40-20 on the road to UNLV, whose statistics and overall record are even worse than SJSU. UNLV choked Hawaii to only 6 yards of rushing that game and forced 4 turnovers! Indeed, Hawaii has specialized its game in passing instead of run plays. So with hopes that the Spartan defense can stop Hawaii at its tracks at times with interceptions and forced loss fumbles, I regretfully must pick Hawaii to win by 15 on Friday night. Still I will be watching on ESPN3.com to see how SJSU fares on national TV, should be an extra motivation.
New Mexico (Mountain West Conf., 0-5...when will they ever win?) at Nevada (2-3): Nevada by 21. Nevada last week blew out its in-state MWC rival UNLV 37-0, that game was in Reno. This is an offensively well-rounded Wolf Pack team vs. a New Mexico team leaning towards pass/receive. Nevada's runners have average 4.8 yards per carry, NM 3.5, and Nevada's Mike Ball 4.7 vs. NM (freshman) Crusoe Gongbay 4.0.
Idaho (1-5, 0-2 WAC) at New Mexico State (2-3, 0-1 WAC): NMSU by 13. In completing passes, NMSU Aggies QB Andrew Manley finishes 56.9% with 6 TDs and 3 INTs, Idaho's Brian Reader 51.1% with 9 TDs and 6 INTs. NMSU offense also has the edge (Rushing TDs: 5-3, Received TDs: 11-9). Will be on ESPN3.
Utah State (2-3) at Fresno State (2-4, 1-0 WAC): Another ESPN3 game. Utah State by 7. With a 64.8% completion rating and 157.0 overall QB rating, Chuckie Keeton can definitely create a fast edge in offense in contrast to Fresno State's Derek Carr, who has completed just 60.5%. Keeton has yet to throw an interception this season, while Carr has thrown 6. Both teams have very similar reception averages around 12 yards each, but Utah State again has another offensive edge in rushing: 6.4 yards per carry vs. Fresno State's 4.0 yards/carry.