FACTS & STATS: Site: Bulldog Stadium (41,031) — Fresno, California.
Television: CBSSN. Home Record: SJSU 2-2, FSU 2-2. Away Record: SJSU 1-3,
FSU 1-4. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-0, FSU 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 2-2,
FSU 2-3. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 39-35-3.
GAME NOTES: A couple of Mountain West Conference programs seeking a fourth win
on the season get together in the Golden State this weekend, as the San Jose
State Spartans visit the Fresno State Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs, who nearly ran the table during the 2013 regular season, have
been a team of streaks in 2014. The squad started off with three straight
defeats before climbing back to .500, but again the Bulldogs are dealing with
another three-game slide following a stunning 45-17 setback versus Wyoming
last Saturday night.
Needing to win out just to become bowl eligible, Fresno State lost an MWC home
game for the first time since joining the league.
Meanwhile, the Spartans need a strong finish to the regular season themselves
if they hope to earn a possible invitation to a bowl game. Hosting Colorado
State last weekend, SJSU nearly halted the Rams and their six-game win streak,
but ended up in the loss column, 38-31. The defeat was the second in a row for
a team that has four games left on the schedule.
In 2013, these two teams met in the regular-season finale, with the Bulldogs
taking aim at an undefeated campaign, but San Jose State put an end to that
with a wild 62-52 decision at home. FSU still owns a 39-35-3 advantage in the
all-time series, as the Spartans shoot for consecutive wins in Bulldog Stadium
for the first time in more than three decades.
The Spartans fought right up until the end against visiting Colorado State
last weekend, but the hosts had no answer for running back Dee Hart who made
it into the end zone four times. It didn’t matter that San Jose State was, and
still is the nation’s leader in pass defense, now allowing a paltry 114.1 ypg,
because it was Hart which did it in.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Joe Gray not only threw for 308
yards and a score, he also added 29 yards and a TD on the ground for the
Spartans. Unfortunately, not all that Gray did was positive because he also
tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble along the way.
Tyler Winston caught six balls from Gray which he turned into 76 yards and a
score, while Tyler Ervin contributed a team-best 149 yards and a touchdown on
18 rushing attempts. Winston, who is tops on the team with 54 catches for 515
yards, is also the scoring leader with five touchdowns.
Quarterbacks Blake Jurich and Gray have combined for 273.6 ypg through the
air, but even though they’ve also hit on 65.4 percent of their attempts, the
fact that they have almost as many interceptions (10) as touchdowns (13)
doesn’t scare off too many secondaries. Even more disappointing for this group
is the fact that they have come away with points on only 76.7 percent of its
trips to the red zone, and that has it ranked 104th in the country this week.
The Bulldogs went into their meeting with Wyoming owning a perfect home record
against MWC foes, but that all changed when they allowed Cowboys running back
Brian Hill to set a new MWC record for all-purpose yards with 387 in a
lopsided 28-point decision. The defense for the Bulldogs was almost nowhere to
be found on a number of plays, as it surrendered a staggering 374 yards and
four touchdowns on the ground, plus another 320 yards and two scores through
From an offensive standpoint, FSU opted to go with freshman Zack Greenlee at
quarterback in hopes of giving the unit a jolt, but he finished a mere 7-of-16
for 55 yards and when Brian Burrell took over the results were not much better
as he connected on 7-of-13 passes for 94 yards, one touchdown and two
Marteze Waller accounted for a team-best 116 yards and a TD, but as a group
the Bulldogs finished with just 167 yards on 31 rush attempts, a far cry from
the massive 281 yards and two TDs tallied by Hill on the other side.
One of the weaker defenses in the nation this season, after having given up
more than 50 points in each of the first three games, Fresno State is now
116th in the FBS with 497.2 ypg surrendered. The squad has allowed 235.8 ypg
on the ground (114th) which should be expected following last weekend’s
complete break down, but in terms of pass efficiency defense, there is no unit
worse than the Bulldogs as they show a rating of 167.15.
By shuffling quarterbacks, it is clear that head coach Tim DeRuyter is trying
something, anything to give the offense a spark. When you combine Greenlee and
Burrell with Brandon Connette you find that FSU signal callers have tossed
almost as many INTs (12) as TDs (16) as they try to get the ball to players
like Josh Harper who paces the program with 55 catches for 726 yards and four
Needing to rebound from an awful display, the Bulldogs are hoping they can
provide the hometown crowd with a much better experience this weekend than
last. San Jose State shouldn’t pose much of a threat, but that’s what FSU
thought about Wyoming.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 27, San Jose State 21