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at San Jose State 34 ... New Mexico State 24

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 24, 2011


Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - NMSU at San Jose State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - NMSU at San Jose State

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Sept. 24 at San Jose State 34 ... New Mexico State 24
CFN Analysis: Finally. FINALLY. San Jose State has a real, live win over an FBS team under head coach Mike MacIntyre, and after playing relatively well against UCLA and Nevada, it was overdue. The passing game wasn’t a liability, with Matt Faulkner throwing for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and Brandon Rutley running for 209 yards and two scores. The defense didn’t generate a pass rush, but Pompey Festejo came up with ten tackles and a sack. It’ll be tough to get another win over the next several weeks, but at least the Spartans have one and have started to look far more competitive.

The Aggie lines continue to be awful, but there was some semblance of a running game against San Jose State with Kenny Turner coming up with 129 yards and a score. Matt Christian was fine in his first game as the starter in place of the injured Andrew Manley, throwing for 238 yards and a touchdown with a pick, and running for 58 yards and a score, but the defense was way too awful and the offense couldn’t keep up the pace. Fortunately, New Mexico is up next, but it’s on the road.

(AP) SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Brandon Rutley rushed for 209 yards and scored twice and San Jose State ended a 13-game losing streak dating to last season, beating New Mexico State 34-24 Saturday.

Rutley became the first player to rush for more than 200 yards for the Spartans (1-3, 1-1 WAC) in seven years. Matt Faulkner threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns.

Matt Christian threw for 238 yards and a touchdown for the Aggies (1-3, 0-1 WAC), who have lost two straight since beating Minnesota. Kenny Turner added 129 yards rushing and a touchdown.

New Mexico State (1-2) at San Jose State (0-3) Sept. 24, 4:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … When it comes to games on the schedule that each team can look at and think there might be a reasonable shot at a win, this is it. The two are on the same level, the same playing field, and the same talent, but San Jose State might be a little more desperate.

New Mexico State shocked the Big Ten with a road win over Minnesota two weeks ago, but it failed to capitalize on the momentum with a disastrous home loss to UTEP. With New Mexico up next, though, there’s a solid chance at coming up with another win, but San Jose State hasn’t known much success so far in the Mike MacIntyre era. The Spartans only won one game last year and lost to New Mexico State 29-27, and after an 0-3 start, despite playing well, and with road games up next at Colorado State and BYU, this is a must win for the program.

Why New Mexico State Might Win: San Jose State can’t score. Coming up with three points against Stanford isn’t a shock, but failing to do much of anything against UCLA and Nevada in winnable games is a problem. The passing game isn’t working at all, and while the defense has held up well over the last two games, the pass rush has been non-existent. The Aggies have been awful in pass protection, but this week the line should get a break. Keeping the quarterback upright is a must, considering the running game isn’t coming up with much with just 155 yards so far. However ..

Why San Jose State Might Win: Just when it seemed like New Mexico State had something good going in the passing game, it lost rising star quarterback Andrew Manley for the year with a torn ACL. He got through the UTEP game with 242 yards and a touchdown, but now the offense is starting from scratch and doesn’t have a running game to fall back on. If you’re only gaining 16 yards on the ground against UTEP, you have a problem. The Spartan defense, despite the yards allowed, hasn’t done much breaking giving up just 261 rushing yards to the supposedly mighty Nevada ground game and only giving up 145 yards through the air against UCLA. Stanford didn’t need to bomb away, but Andrew Luck only threw for 171 yards. If the Spartans can somehow generate a little bit of offense early on, and if they can get a lead, NMSU will have problems coming back.

What To Watch Out For: So now what for the New Mexico State offense with Manley gone? Senior Matt Christian came in from the JUCO ranks and started the first eight games of the year before getting knocked out for the season with a shoulder injury. The 6-3, 223-pounder took a beating all year long, and it showed as he only completed 48% of his throws for 1,372 yards and two scores. On the plus side, he kept the interceptions and the mistakes to a minimum throwing just two picks while also showing some mobility running for 218 yards and two scores. He has skills, but the one-time Fresno State Bulldog has had a broken hand to go along with his other problems. Now he’s the main man and he has to carry the attack.

San Jose State might have lost to Nevada, but it got a strong game from Brandon Rutley, the veteran running back who came up with 86 yards and a score. He was a top recruit for the program with 5-11, 190-pound size and tremendous speed, but he wasn’t able to get loose too often last year and didn’t show off his cut-of-a-dime quickness. There were times when he cranked out a few yards, but he wasn’t used as a workhorse. Now he’ll start to be used more.

What Will Happen: San Jose State will finally give MacIntyre his first win over an FBS team Christian will come up with a good game and he’ll keep pressing the Spartan secondary, but the yards won’t turn into enough points. Three takeaways will lead to the key plays needed late to pull out the victory.

CFN Prediction: San Jose State 20 … New Mexico State 17  
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