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San Jose State 38 ... at Colorado State 31
Posted Oct 1, 2011

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - San Jose State at Colorado State

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - SJSU at Colorado State

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Oct. 1 San Jose State 38 ... at Colorado State 31
CFN Analysis: Beating New Mexico State was nice, but getting by Colorado State on the road proved that things really have changed and that it might be time to fear the Spartans in the WAC race. The passing game is still spotty and the defensive line can’t generate much production in the backfield, but Matt Faulkner came up with 313 yards and two scores including the game winner in the final minute, and Brandon Rutley was fantastic with 121 yards and two scores. The real star, though, was Harrison Waid, who bombed away for a 58.6 yard punting average and kept the Colorado State offense deep for most of the game. All of a sudden, the offense is putting up a few yards and the attack has exploded for 72 points over the last two weeks. The BYU game will be a nice test before hosting Hawaii.

The Colorado State defense didn’t come up with the stop it needed to. The pass rush that was strong for most of the game didn’t get to Matt Faulkner late and the D got picked apart giving up a game-winning 38-yard touchdown. The offense turned the ball over three times, with Pete Thomas giving up two picks, but he threw for 387 yards and three touchdowns and had one of his best games of the year. The running game failed too often and Thomas had to press, but the O did just enough to win the game. It needed a little more help, and now it’ll be a long two weeks before facing Boise State.

(AP) FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Jabari Carr hauled in a go-ahead TD pass from Matt Faulkner with 54 seconds remaining to help San Jose State snap a 16-game road losing skid with a 38-31 win over Colorado State on Saturday.

The Spartans (2-3) have now won back-to-back games for the first time in three years.

Brandon Rutley rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns before limping off the field after spraining his left ankle in the third quarter.

The Spartans lost some of their steam without their powerful tailback, squandering a 31-17 lead in the second half.

With the game tied and 3:30 remaining, Faulkner guided the Spartans down the field and found a wide-open Carr on the left side for a 38-yard touchdown.

Cornerback Ronnie Yell ended a last-gasp effort by the Rams (3-2) as he intercepted a long pass from Pete Thomas in the closing seconds.

San Jose State (1-3) at Colorado State (3-1) Oct. 1, 1:00

Here’s The Deal … Call this the prognostication bowl. This game will be a meeting of trendy picks in the preseason for programs on the rise. Early publications took a look at the returning starters for CSU & SJSU and speculated that these two programs would be in good position to exploit their respective schedules, and outperform their more recent seasons. For the most part, that’s still true. Neither team has been particularly crisp in terms of execution, but both have been remarkably balanced both in terms of run and pass yards, and in terms of offensive and defensive performance. Some hiccups along the road are expected for these two , which have struggled through the past two seasons, so incremental progress is worth taking note. First they must face off in a contest that should look winnable to each.

CSU needs to improve their third down conversion percentage and get more yards per rush attempt, which are deeply connected. SJSU needs to stop turning the ball over. The timing of this contest is significant; SJSU will need this not only as a barometer of its progress, but as a vital transition point if they are to become bowl eligible. Lose this and the journey is all but over. The Rams are off to a better start in terms of wins and losses, but this game will come right before one of two regenerative bye weeks for the bruised but not yet broken Rams. A loss here could linger before diving headlong into the Mountain West schedule.

Why San Jose State Might Win:
Colorado State has been thinned a bit on both sides of the ball in recent weeks with injuries to the monstrous offensive tackle Joe Caprioglio, and top defender, linebacker Mychal Sisson. The Rams are trying to move on, but they've both been missed. CSU has been a tad formulaic in its play-calling with neither area dominating so far. The Rams need to find some semblance of explosion that hasn't been there over the first four weeks. SJSU is near perfectly balanced on offense, both in terms of pass and rush attempts and in terms of yards gained from them. SJSU senior Brandon Rutley has come on slowly this year at the running back position, but he is now firmly the metronome of the offense as it showed last week a few signs of life after doing next to nothing for over a year.

Why Colorado State Might Win: The San Jose defense has been less effective allowing four hundred yards twice so far, and while it moves around well enough to be disruptive, it could be classified in the bend but don’t break mold that breaks far too often. Stellar senior defensive tackle Joe Nigos is questionable for the game with a knee injury, and SJSU hasn’t been able to apply pass pressure consistently enough even with him at 100%.

Colorado State will try to run first, but any edge it can pry away for the passing game will be a major boon. Quarterback Pete Thomas is accurate enough, but the CSU receivers have been slow to get open. That has been the major emphasis in practice this week, and if the line can hold for three seconds, that should be enough. To Thomas, any open receiver is his favorite; so don’t expect any particular favoritism.

What To Watch Out For: The outcome of this game is all going to hinge on how well Akron can stop the running attack of Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are traditional in one sense by utilizing the skills of the sophomore QB Javonti Greene, but also get chunks of yardage from 6’1”, 215lb. junior Alex Gillett when things break down. They are not going to get a free seat via air miles, so look for them to stay on the ground and try to control this game all the way to victory.

For Akron, it is going to absolutely need to get a better push at the line to have any chance of slowing down this running game enough. So far this year, the Zips have only managed three total tackles for loss, and are tied for 107th in QB sacks. If the pressure doesn’t improve in this game, it could spell doom and gloom for the Zips.

What Will Happen: While neither team has jelled just yet in any phase of the game, both have good building blocks to work with all around. SJSU had turned the ball over way too much (10 times,) and CSU has done better defensively overall, especially against this level of competition allowing an average of 318 yards per game

Both teams are effectively their own worst enemies, if they execute, they will move, if they self-destruct they won’t. CSU has the better defense so far, SJSU the better offense. While turnovers is the emphasis of SJSU practices this week, syncing up the pass game is the emphasis for CSU. This will be close, with many momentum swings, but Thomas, and the Ram pass rush, will be the difference in what should be an interesting battle for four quarters.

CFN Prediction: Colorado State 31 ... San Jose State 17
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Colorado State -3   O/U: 44

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