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at BYU 29 … San Jose State 16

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 8, 2011


Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - San Jose State at BYU


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - San Jose State at BYU

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Oct. 8 at BYU 29 … San Jose State 16
CFN Analysis: It’s not like Riley Nelson led the way to an explosion, but the offense moved the ball well with 219 passing yards and 224 on the ground. Nelson’s mobility adds another element that Jake Heaps can’t provide, running for 65 yards while throwing three touchdown passes, but the offense turned it over three times with two Nelson picks. Finally, the team had an easy win after having so many problems putting away the other three, and now the season appears to have taken a good turn forward. No, the Cougars just aren’t going to be special, but they’re not going to be miserable. Against Oregon State, the pass rush has to come up with a bit more production, and Nelson has to cut down on the mistakes.

The Spartans had been playing well with two straight wins, but the lack of pressure in the backfield was a problem against BYU’s mobile Riley Nelson. The running game was held in check, coming up with just 70 yards, and while Matt Faulkner threw for 255 yards, he failed to lead the way to enough touchdown drives and threw two key picks. Linebacker Keith Smith had his best game of the season with 16 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble, but it wasn’t nearly enough to stop a Cougar offense that came up with one of its best performances of the season. Against Hawaii on Friday, the Spartans have to gear up the offense to be more balanced and be more explosive, if that’s possible, and while the secondary hasn’t been bad, it’ll get toasted if the front line isn’t touching the quarterback. The D has only come up with three sacks and 30 tackles for loss in six games.

(AP) PROVO, Utah -- Riley Nelson threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 65 yards on nine carries to lift BYU to a 29-16 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night.

Nelson made his first start of the season after replacing Jake Heaps in the second half of a 27-24 victory over Utah State on Sept. 30.

Michael Alisa rushed for 92 yards on 16 carries for BYU (4-2), which won its third straight game. The Spartans (2-4) had a two-game winning streak snapped.

San Jose State's defense could not contain Nelson during the first half. He guided the Cougars to touchdowns on three straight possessions as BYU seized a 23-3 lead in the second quarter.

San Jose State (2-3) at BYU (3-2) Oct. 8, 10:15, ESPNU

Here’s The Deal … It seems like these two programs should’ve played at least a few matchups over the years, but BYU moved out of the WAC in 1999 and that ended the series. The two put on a whale of a show in a 46-43 BYU win in 1998, the last time the two played, and before that it was 1969 when the Cougars won 21-3. This year, the Spartans are playing well enough to have a shot, while BYU is struggling to keep its head above water.

BYU might by 3-2, but it’s a very, very shaky 3-2, needing a comeback to get by Utah State at home last week and coming up with a terrific fourth quarter to beat UCF the week before. Life as an independent hasn’t exactly been a whole bunch of fun with no conference title to play for and the bowl fate sealed to the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl if eligible, and beating San Jose State doesn’t necessarily move the needle on a national scale – unless the Cougars lose.

The Spartans are on a two game winning streak beating New Mexico State and Colorado State after coming close to getting by Nevada. Mike MacIntyre’s team isn’t going to win the WAC, but it’s far better and far steadier than it was in a brutal 2010, and now it’s playing well enough to come up with a road win against a brand name team. With Hawaii coming up next, a confidence booster would be nice.

Why San Jose State Might Win: The BY offense is a mess. The passing has been erratic and inefficient, and it only seems like the production comes in desperation mode. BYU, the school of Nielson, and Young, and McMahon, and Bosco, is 110th in the nation in passing efficiency and can’t seem to put points on the board on a regular basis. The 27 points last week against Utah State was the high water mark for the season, while San Jose State has managed to put up a total of 72 in back-to-back weeks. All of a sudden, the Spartan offense works.

Why BYU Might Win: If the BYU quarterbacks were ever going to produce, this would be the week. The Cougar offensive line has been a plus, at least in pass protection, allowing just five sacks on the year. The front five has been miserable for the running game, but the Spartan defensive front has been worse. There’s no pass rush whatsoever to worry about and there haven’t been any big plays in the backfield. San Jose State gave up 387 yards and three touchdowns to Colorado State’s Pete Thomas last week, and BYU should be able to dink and dunk to its heart’s content if …

What To Watch Out For: The Cougars need to decide on a quarterback. Jake Heaps is the franchise. He’s the top-shelf recruit who could’ve gone anywhere. If he wasn’t the greatest quarterback recruit to ever come to Provo, he was in the top three. However, he’s been awful. The tools are there, but he’s erratic, he can’t move the chains, and he’s having a nightmare of a time providing a spark, throwing for just three touchdowns and five picks on the year. Last week Riley Nelson saved the day by stepping in and completing 11-of-14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 62 yards in the win over Utah State, and now the debate is on. Heaps or Nelson – it’s the talk of the program. The answer might be both. Heaps has the upside and is the one expected to carry the team to great heights, but Nelson is playing better.

What Will Happen: San Jose State really and truly is playing well enough to win a game like this, but there are too many key bumps and bruises to pull it off. Top running back Brandon Rutley has an ankle problem and top corner Brandon Driver tore his Achilles and is done for the year. BYU won’t be great, but it’ll get just enough from the passing game to get by in an ugly win.

CFN Prediction: BYU 27 … San Jose State 17
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