Can you smell it? It’s a similar to what Utah State was smelling last year and what Utah smelled in 1993. It’s the smell of psychologic change; the injectable theory that my team can now hang with your team. Last year, the Spartans got a bit shell shocked in the first half of what would end up being a 29-16 loss to BYU. However, missed opportunities kept that score from being much closer in a game that most of the nation didn’t think would be closer than 3 touchdowns. This time around, San Jose State gets a second shot at BYU, this time on their home turf. If there is to be a hiccup in the last month for the Cougars, mark it down as being this game.
Offense – Considering Head Coach Mike Mcintyre has instilled a Goonie-esque ‘Never Say Die’ mentality in to his program, his Spartans will be circling the date and throwing darts at it. As much as they’ll want to win that game, they’ll have to win it with a new quarterback. Out of the 4 prospects at the position, transfer David Fales is emerging the front-runner and is likely to start the season. Not only was he impressive during spring camp, the coaches think he’s the best throwing qb of the bunch. That means production for the Spartans, who managed just 54 first downs rushing the football a season ago, worst in Division 1. That was mostly due to starting running back David Freeman’s season ending injury. He’s back this year, and the Spartans added Minnesota transfer DeLeon Eskridge to the back field. Combine them with 5 other returning starts offensively, which includes start wide out Noel Grigsby, and SJSU has a chance to hang with most teams they’ll be facing.
Defense – The defense will be a challenge to make formidable. The Spartans only return 1 starter on defense. Although, they do have some players that played well that will be returning. Most notably LB Keith Smith (tops in tackles), DE Travis Johnson (tops in sacks), and S James Orth (tops in Int). With a few more tricks up the sleeve, this Spartans team could hang with anyone. And don’t think for a second that San Jose State will be rolling over against BYU.