Air Force got off to a high start to the season with a blowout win over Navy and they face San Jose State, who will be playing in their first game.
Air Force had a great 2019 winning 11 games and a bowl game and coming in second place in the Mountain West Conference. The team is all about the run with their triple-option offense and that will be more than a handful against a San Jose State team that has been at or near the basement of the MWC for several seasons.
Last season San Jose State finished 5-7 with only two conference wins but that was a pretty big improvement on the previous year there the team won one game. Obviously, facing Air Force the run defense will be key and last season the Spartans gave up 382 rushing yards in the 41-24 loss to the Falcons.
Air Force has covered in five of their last six conference games and head into this game as a 7-point road favorite.
Off and RunningIn their opening 40-7 win over Navy, the Falcons rushed for 369 yards and only had 41 passing yards. Their defense gave up 241 yards and they had three INT. Even in the blowout win Air Force was only 2/9 on third-down conversions.
Sophomore QB Haaziq Daniels passed for 41 yards in the easy win over Navy but rushed for 96 yards with a TD and averaged 9.6 yards per carry. In the game Timothy Jackson led the Falcons with 118 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry, and Brad Roberts rushed for 103 yards and averaged over 10 yards per carry. Jackson was the only of the three that was big last season rushing for 745 yards and six TDs but last season only got four carries for 20 yards in the win over SJSU.
Daniel Morris and Kyle Patterson combined for four catches and 41 yards in the Navy game. Last season the Falcons WR duo of Geraud Sanders and Benjamin Waters combined for nearly 1,400 receiving yards but they are gone.
Air Force has a strong defense that held Navy to 2.5 yards per carry and only gave up 151 passing yards.
New Face Under CenterThe Spartans head into the season with Arkansas transfer and senior Nick Starkel taking over under center. While he did play in the SEC last season he played poorly with seven TD and 10 INT. For SJSU to get the upset in this game he has to play well and hark back to his solid 2017 season at Texas A&M when he passed for nearly 1,800 yards with 14 TD.
The run game has some issues with the top two rushers gone from last season. Kairee Robinson is the leading rusher returning and he only had 174 rushing yards last season.
One of the things the Spartans have going for them is that they have their top three WR’s last season returning in Tre Walker (1,161 yards), Bailey Gaither (812 yards), and Isaiah Hamilton (718 yards).
The Spartans’ pass defense was not bad last season, but their run defense was to the tune of giving up an average of 232 rushing yards per game. The up front D does return some key players but can they shore up the run D against a Falcons’ team that has so many weapons on the ground?
The San Jose State Spartans are:
The Air Force Falcons are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite