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2007 San Jose State Spartans

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 21, 2008


2007 San Jose State Spartans Season Game-By-Game Recaps and More


2007 San Jose State Spartans

Recap: Although the Spartans failed to make a return to the postseason, they did persevere through an ominous 0-3 start and injuries to key players to finish 5-7 and tied for fourth place in the WAC.  While it wasn’t enough to land the program a bonus game in December, it do show head coach Dick Tomey that his kids wouldn’t fold when faced with adversity.  The defense and record-setting QB Adam Tafralis kept the Spartans in most league games, but losing 1,000-yard rusher Yonus Davis crushed a running game that wound up averaging only 83 yards a game.    

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Kevin Jurovich

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Matt Castelo

Biggest Surprise: Jurovich.  A safety in his first two seasons, Jurovich made a seamless and unlikely transition to the offensive side of the ball during spring practice.  The junior went on to deliver an All-WAC season, backed by a school-record 85 receptions for 1,183 yards and nine touchdown grabs.    

Biggest Disappointment: The Spartans had unbeaten and 17th-ranked Hawaii on the ropes on Oct. 12, but couldn’t land the knockout blow.  San Jose State blew a two-touchdown lead with four minutes left, losing in overtime, 42-35.  Had the Spartans held on, they would have been eligible for a December bowl game.  Ouch.       

Looking Ahead: Out of junior Myles Eden and sophomore Jordan La Secla, San Jose State needs to decide on a successor to Tafralis at quarterback.  Whoever gets the ball will be throwing to one of the WAC’s top pass-catching tandems, Jurovich and David Richmond.

- 2007 SJSU Preview
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2006 SJSU Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
6-6
2007 Record:
5-7

Sept. 1 at Arizona St L 45-3
Sept. 8 at Kansas St L 34-14
Sept. 15 at Stanford L 37-0
Sept. 22
at Utah State W 23-20
Sept. 29 UC Davis W 34-14
Oct. 6 Idaho W 28-20
Oct. 12 Hawaii L 42-35 OT
Oct. 20 at Fresno State L 30-0
Nov. 3 at Boise State L 42-7
Nov. 10
N Mexico St W 51-17
Nov. 17 at La Tech L 27-23
Nov. 24 Nevada W 27-24

Nov. 24
San Jose State 27 ... Nevada 24
Nevada's Brett Jaekle hit the left upright on a 37-yard field goal attempt with 36 seconds to play to seal the San Jose State comeback win. The Spartans gave up Marko Mitchell touchdown catches from 64 and 59 yards out in the first half, and then shut down the Wolf Pack attack in the second half while the offense scored 17 unanswered points for the win. Adam Tafralis threw two touchdown passes, but it was a 13-yard Jacob French touchdown run early in the fourth that gave the Spartans the lead for good. San Jose State controlled the ball for 36:24.
Player of the game: San Jose State QB Adam Tafralis completed 29 of 46 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Stat Leaders: Nevada - Passing: Colin Kaepernick, 12-22, 252 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Luke Lippencott, 16-74. Receiving: Marko Mitchell, 4-144, 2 TD
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 29-46, 342 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Jacob French, 16-62, 1 TD. Receiving: David Richmond, 9-143
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense came up with its best half of the year as it kept Nevada off the scoreboard in the second half to get the win. In his final game, Adam Tafralis threw extremely well as he kept the chains moving and kept the Wolf Pack offense off the field. As was the case all season long, the running game wasn't there, but the passing attack, and key stops from the defense, helped out. While this might not have been a bowl season, this win kept things from crashing after the breakthrough 2006 campaign.

Nov. 17
Louisiana Tech 27 ... San Jose State 23
Louisiana Tech got out to a 24-6 halftime lead on three Zac Champion touchdown passes, highlighted by a 49-yard pass to Phillip Livas, and then hung on for dear life as San Jose State came back with 17 second half points with Adam Tafralis running for a four-yard score and hitting James Callier for a 23-yard score. Tech got up four in the fourth quarter on a 41-yard Danny Horwedel field goal, which would prove to be critical with the Spartans getting down to the Tech 16 in the final moments only for the drive to sputter out. The two teams combined for 18 penalties.
Player of the game: Louisiana Tech LB Mark Dillard made 13 tackles, a sack, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble, while in a losing cause, San Jose State LB Matt Castelo made 21 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss
Stat Leaders: San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 28-47, 369 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jacob French, 9-41. Receiving: Kevin Jurovich, 11-156
Louisiana Tech - Passing: Zac Champion, 22-36, 261 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Patrick Jackson, 16-77. Receiving: Phillip Livas, 4-129, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense and the passing game have been fine, but turnovers are proving costly and it took too long to get the machine going against Louisiana Tech. This was a game the Spartans had for the taking but couldn't come through in the fourth quarter. To beat Nevada in the season finale, more will be needed from the missing running game early on, and Adam Tafralis can't throw picks. He didn't throw any against the Bulldogs, but the offense gave up two fumbles. Matt Castelo had a huge game as he cemented himself as one of the league's best linebackers once again.

Nov. 10
San Jose State 51 ... New Mexico State 17
The Spartans blew past the Aggies as Kevin Jurovich caught scoring passes from 36 and 45 yards out in the second quarter as part of a 31-point run. Adam Tafralis threw two touchdown passes and ran for one, while Jared Strubeck nailed field goals from 42, 41 and 38 yards out. The Aggie passing game came up with Chase Holbrook touchdown passes from 46 and 24 yards away, but it also gave away three interceptions. The Spartans cranked out 507 yards to 398 and didn't turn the ball over.
Player of the game: San Jose State WR Kevin Jurovich caught ten passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: New Mexico State - Passing: Chase Holbrook, 30-49, 318 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Justine Buries, 14-62. Receiving: Nick Cleaver, 5-46
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 19-31, 317 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Myles Eden, 5-64. Receiving: Kevin Jurovich, 10-233, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... For the first time in weeks, the offense was able to open things up and get rolling. Adam Tafralis was nearly flawless against New Mexico State, while there was even a semblance of a running game with 190 yards. Now the Spartans have to build on this and come up with a road win at Louisiana Tech to keep hope for a .500 season alive. If the offense is as efficient as it was this week, it should be able to pull it off.

Nov. 3
Boise State 42 ... San Jose State 7
Boise State blew the game wide open in the second quarter with a 44-yard touchdown catch from Ryan Putnam, the first of two Austin Pettis touchdown catches, and a 37-yard Jeremy Avery scoring dash, and Ian Johnson put it away in the second half with two short scoring runs. San Jose State managed just a four-yard Kevin Jurovich touchdown catch in the second quarter before the Broncos went on a 28-point runs. Boise State committed ten penalties, San Jose State didn't commit any.
Player of the game: Boise State QB Taylor Tharp completed 28 of 35 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 11-19, 77 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jacob French, 10-37. Receiving: Jalal Beauchman, 4-33
Boise State - Passing: Taylor Tharp, 28-35, 259 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Jeremy Avery, 7-56, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Pettis, 7-54, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... At some point a running game needs to emerge to take the pressure off Adam Tafralis. It's too late to make any WAC noise, having lost to Hawaii, Fresno State and Boise State in the last three weeks, but there's still a shot at bowl eligibility by winning out. It's not going to happen if the offense keeps playing like this. How did the Boise State game get so ugly? SJSU converted two of 14 third down conversions, while BSU converted ten of 14.

Oct. 20
Fresno State 30 ... San Jose State 0
Ryan Mathews ran for scores from 14 and 58 yards out and Clint Stitser connected on field goals from 35, 40 and 44 yards away in the Fresno State win. The Bulldogs got a 21-point third quarter on the Matthews runs and a two-yard Lonyae Miller run to put the game well out of reach. San Jose State outgained the Bulldogs 394 yards to 383, but missed two field goal chances and was killed by penalties.
Player of the game: Fresno State RB Ryan Mathews ran 16 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Fresno State - Passing: Tom Brandstater, 16-26, 132 yds
Rushing: Ryan Matthews, 16-144, 2 TD. Receiving: Bear Pascoe, 4-38
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 22-41, 254 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
Adam Tafralis, 15-97. Receiving: David Richmond, 5-119

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... 12 penalties for 90 yards, continued problems with the kicking game, and nothing from the running backs killed any chance to keep up with a hot Fresno State. The Bulldogs didn't do anything fancy, but the Spartans couldn't hang on in the third quarter as things started to get out of hand. Just when things appear bleak after losing to Hawaii and Fresno State in painful fashion, but in different ways, here comes the trip to Boise State.

Oct. 12
Hawaii 42 ... San Jose State 35 OT
Colt Brennan hit Jason Rivers for a two-yard touchdown on Hawaii's overtime possession, and then Myron Newberry sealed the win with an over-the-shoulder interception on San Jose State's possession to cap a furious comeback. Down 14 with fewer than four minutes remaining, Hawaii got an 11-yard Davone Bess touchdown catch, and went 45 yards in eight plays leading to a two-yard Brennan touchdown run with 31 seconds in regulation to put it into overtime. Hawaii scored the first 14 points, and then San Jose State went on a 28-point run thanks to an 84-yard Dwight Lowery punt return for a score and a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown. Kevin Jurovich lit up the third quarter with touchdown catches from 16 and 68 yards out, before Hawaii broke the run on a 34-yard C.J. Hawthorne scoring grab. Hawaii outgained San Jose State 601 yards to 344.
Player of the game: Hawaii QB Tyler Graunke completed nine of 11 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 27-47, 302 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: James T. Callier, 13-30, 1 TD. Receiving: Jacob French, 8-65
Hawaii - Passing: Colt Brennan, 44-75, 545 yds, 4 TD, 4 INT
Rushing:
Kealoha Pilares, 10-52, 1 TD. Receiving:
Ryan Grice-Mullen, 14-175, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Spartans did a good job of keeping up the apace in a firefight with Hawaii, but once the momentum shifted late, it didn't appear as if the offense had any answered. Once again, there wasn't much of a running game, with Adam Tafralis taking over the game early on with his arm, while Dwight Lowery cemented a spot on the All-WAC team with a strong game, even if the Warrior passing attack went nuts. The team has to quickly get over this loss with road games at Fresno State and Boise State ahead.

Oct. 6
San Jose State 28 ... Idaho 20
The Spartans broke the game open with a 21-point run on James T. Callier's second short touchdown run of the game, a 33-yard Kevin Jurovich scoring grab with 33 seconds to play in the first half, and a 13-yard Jeff Clark catch to open up the second half. And then the offense stopped working, while Idaho came back late in the fourth on a blocked punt for a score and a 19-yard Brian Flowers run to pull within eight. But that was as close as it would get, as Idaho's final drive was snuffed out by an interception from Dominique Hunsucker.
Player of the game: San Jose State QB Adam Tafralis finished 22-of-30 for 302 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception, running four times for seven yards.
Stat Leaders: Idaho - Passing: Brian Nooy, 8-15, 68 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Deonte Jackson, 22-94. Receiving: Deonte Jackson, 3-33
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 22-30, 302 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing:
James Callier, 31-93, 2 TDs. Receiving: Kevin Jurovich, 10-161, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Spartans have beaten who they were supposed to over the last three weeks, and now it's on to the real cheese ... Hawaii. The defense stopped Idaho's passing game cold, but things will be a little different next week, with or without Colt Brennan. The Spartan running game has to keep getting creative, and Adam Tafralis has to stay hot. He has three straight 300-plus yard games, and he'll need another to keep pace with the Warriors.

Sept.  29
San Jose State 34 ... UC Davis 14
Adam Tafralis threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers, highlighted by a 59-yard play to Kevin Jurovich early in the fourth quarter. UC Davis started to make it interesting, as Tim Plough threw his second touchdown pass of the game on a 20-yard throw to Brandon Rice, but the Spartans finished it off with a 35-yard Jonathan Harris interception return for a touchdown. Plough got picked off four times.
Player of the game: San Jose State QB Adam Tafralis was 25-of-34 for 330 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: UC Davis - Passing: Tim Plough, 22-38, 174 yds, 2 TDs, 4 INTs
Rushing: Joe Trombetta, 21-76. Receiving: Joe Trombetta, 8-40
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 25-34, 330 yds, 4 TDs
Rushing:
Jacob French, 13-18. Receiving: Kevin Jurovich, 7-135, 2 TDs

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's amazing what playing at home can do. The last D-I team to play at home, San Jose State came up with its best game so far, rolling over UC Davis with a huge passing day from Adam Tafralis. Unfortunately, the running game was stunningly bad, netting just 15 yards and averaging 0.6 yards per carry. LB Matt Castelo, with 15 tackles, led the way for a strong defensive effort, but to come up with a few WAC ins over the next month, the run defense has to be stronger.

Sept.  22
San Jose State 23 ... Utah State 20
Adam Tafralis connected with David Richmond for a 31-yard touchdown with 53 seconds remaining to pull off San Jose State's first win of the season. The Spartans got three touchdown passes from Tafralis, including a 24-yarder to Richmond in the second quarter, while Utah State's offense struggled to close. The Aggies answered a 31-yard Jared Strubeck field goal with an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Kevin Robinson, but they could only manage two field goals on offense before going on an 18-play, 92-yard drtive that took of 8:23 in the fourth quarter and finished up with a one-yard Derrvin Speight touchdown run. The Spartans needed just 56 seconds to go on their final scoring drive.
Player of the game: San Jose State QB Adam Tafralis completed 35 of 48 passes for 426 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions, and ran three times for 14 yards.
Stat Leaders: Utah State - Passing: Leon Jackson, 11-21, 78 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Derrvin Speight, 22-99, 1 TD. Receiving: Kevin Robinson, 3-32
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 3548, 426 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
Jacob French, 15-74. Receiving: David Richmond, 10-180, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Spartans can take a deep breath after not blowing the game to Utah State. They outgained the Aggies 524 yards to 253, and outpassed them 426 to 78, but a special teams breakdown, eight penalties, and two key interceptions almost meant a loss. While this wasn't a great overall performance, and the D has to be a little concerned about getting marched on late on the long Aggie fourth quarter scoring drive, the Spartans are where they probably should be at 1-3. Beat UC Davis, beat Idaho, and things start to get interesting when Hawaii comes to town.

Sept. 15
Stanford 37 ... San Jose State 0
Derek Belch nailed a 52-yard field goal on Stanford's opening drive, and that's all the scoring needed as the defense shut down San Jose State allowing 163 yards of total offense. Belch connected from 37 and 50 yards for a 9-0 Cardinal lead going into halftime, and then the offense found its groove with two T.C. Ostrander touchdown passes, including a 46-yarder to Richard Sherman, and a touchdown runs from Toby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble. Stanford outgained the Spartans 276 yards to 32 on the ground.
Player of the game: Stanford RB Toby Gerhart ran 12 times for 140 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 12-24, 130 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Dominique Hunsucker, 10-26. Receiving: David Richmond, 4-38
Stanford - Passing: T.C Ostrander, 18-28, 220 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Toby Gerhart, 12-140, 1 TD. Receiving: Richard Sherman, 4-71, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There's no running game, and the new starting receivers aren't coming close to stepping up in place of last year's top targets. Adam Tafralis is having a hard time being as efficient as he was in 2006 now that all his weapons are gone, and while the defense had its moments against Stanford, and kept the game close for a half, the offense couldn't sustain any drives to help out. Things get much easier over the next three weeks against Utah State, UC Davis, and Idaho.

Sept. 8
Kansas State 34 ... San Jose State 14
Kansas State had few problems getting past the Spartans as Josh Freeman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Deon Murphy and ran for a one-yard score in the first half, and James Johnson and Murphy each had scoring runs in the fourth quarter. San Jose State didn't let the game get out of hand until the fourth, but it struggled to put pount on the board as it only managed a 20-yard Jalal Beauchman touchdown catch in the second quarter before getting back on the board late on a 21-yard Jacob French scoring grab.
Player of the game ... Kansas State RB James Johnson ran 15 times for 111 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 25-36, 272 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: James Johnson, 15-111, 1 TD  Receiving: Jordy Nelson, 6-82
San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 16-20, 134 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Myles Eden, 7-33  Receiving:
Kevin Jurovich, 10-82
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Spartans' big concern going into the year was the loss of the top receivers, and now it appears to be an even bigger killer than ever expected. QB Adam Tafralis was efficient against Kansas State, but there wasn't much in the way of yards or deep balls, and the running game, without Yonus Davis, was non-existent for stretches. The defense needs to stop getting shoved around, and the next few weeks against Stanford and Utah State should help that. The team needs to be in a game first, and then it can try to recapture some of last year's spark.

Sept. 1
Arizona State 45 ... San Jose State 3
Arizona State stomped on the Spartans as Ryan Torian ran for three touchdowns and Rudy Carpenter threw for two others in the surprising blowout. The San Jose State offense managed a 28-yard Jared Strubeck field goal and gained a mere 115 yards of total offense on the day. The Sun Devils did whatever they wanted to, rushing for 250 yards and passing for 270.
Player of the game ... Arizona State RB Ryan Torian ran 17 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: San Jose State - Passing: Adam Tafralis, 5-13, 39 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Adam Tafralis, 6-19  Receiving: David Richmond, 5-32
Arizona State - Passing: Rudy Carpenter, 14-20, 197 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Ryan Torian, 17-123, 3 TD  Receiving:
Michael Jones, 4-63, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... This wasn't the way San Jose State envisioned the season starting after such a great 2006. All the strides made last year go out the window as the offense came up with a mere seven first downs and the defense did absolutely nothing to slow down the Sun Devil attack. First, Adam Tafralis has to become a consistent passer again. Next, someone has to run the ball effectively. Considering how well the Kansas State defense played against Auburn, next week might not be that much fun either.

Sept. 1 – at Arizona State
Offense: Arizona State really wasn’t Arizona State in 2006, but with ten starters returning, there’s reason to believe that the Sun Devils will score in bunches this year.  Dennis Erickson brings a balanced and unpredictable system that’ll use multiple formations and plenty of shotgun, yet still lean heavily on the running game.  The success of the unit hinges on the play of quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who looked destined for stardom as a freshman before suffering through a humbling sophomore season marked by turnovers and lapses in confidence.  His supporting cast is headed by Ryan Torain, one of the nation’s best backs that no one outside the Pac-10 has seen.  With six seasoned linemen back, he’s destined to become the first Sun Devil in over 30 years to go for more than 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.  Although Carpenter’s receivers did nothing to help him out of his slump in 2006, they’re now awash with the kind of speed and playmaking potential that’s customary in Tempe.        
Defense: Six starters return to a defense that improved in 2006, yet still allowed more than 40 points in four of the final ten games.  The Sun Devils will continue to run out of a 4-3 base while asking their linebackers and safeties to freelance and make plays all over the field.  There are building blocks—and question marks—at each unit heading into 2007.  Tackle Michael Marquardt and Dexter Davis have all-league potential, but both are going to need support from a couple of new starters.  Although the linebackers have considerable upside, the man in the middle, Morris Wooten, is a first-year player.  And while safety Josh Barrett and corner Justin Tryon will play on Sundays, the pass defense is in deep trouble if the other cornerback gets routinely exposed.  The net result?  A nice collection of talent that’ll still allow plenty of yards to the Pac-10’s finer-tuned offenses.

Sept. 8 – at Kansas State
Offense: Call this another stepping stone season. The offensive line is ridiculously deep, but without much appreciable talent. The receiving corps has a slew of good prospects coming in, and four good tight ends, but can only count on deep threat Jordy Nelson to deliver. The 1-2 rushing punch of Leon Patton and James Johnson is scary-good, but there's absolutely no one behind them. And then there's the quarterback situation, which was a plus going into last year with several good players in a battle, but now is Josh Freeman and no safety net. Freeman has the talent to be a superstar, but hasn't been remotely consistent. When he's not on, it's over. It's not all doom and gloom. There's a ton of athleticism, and Freeman, Patton, Johnson and Nelson will have games when they're unstoppable, just not enough of them.
Defense: Raheem Morris lasted one year as defensive coordinator before moving on to the NFL. Tim Tibesar will take over and put in a 3-4 scheme, which might, at times, appear to be more of a 4-3 with star Ian Campbell playing outside linebacker and the occasional end. There's a ton of overall experience and depth, even with just six returning starters, with the strength to likely be in the secondary, where safety Marcus Watts leads a veteran cast. While the D likely won't be sixth in the nation in sacks and 18th in tackles for loss, there will be plenty of big plays made in the backfield with all the speed and athleticism across the positions. The overall net result should be better than last year, when KSU gave up 346 yards and 24 points per game.

Sept. 15 – at Stanford
Offense: Jim Harbaugh wants to attack defenses with an up tempo offense that’ll feature lots of pre-snap motion and a ball control element that harkens back to the Bill Walsh days of the West Coast offense.  It worked swimmingly at the University of San Diego for the past couple of years, but this is Stanford where ten points and less than 250 yards a game was the norm last year.  The Cardinal is experienced everywhere and pretty deep at the skill positions, but none of that will matter unless the offensive line does a complete 180 off last year’s atrocious performance. 
Defense: New defensive coordinator Scott Shafer is scrapping the 3-4 this year in favor of an attacking 4-3 that is designed to create more turnovers and more plays for negative yards.  The Cardinal is open to suggestions after finishing last in the Pac-10 in just about every defensive category in 2006.  There are holes, to be sure, but Shafer will also inherit some exciting young talent at each unit, such as sophomore tackle Ekom Udofia, sophomore linebacker Clinton Snyder and junior cornerback Wopamo Osaisai.  Above all else, the defense has to find some answers against the run after being humiliated for more than 2,500 yards and nearly five yards a carry a year ago.

Sept. 22 – at Utah State
Offense: The offense did next to nothing last season scoring fewer than 14 points seven times and finishing averaging 10.83 points and 254 yards per game. The offensive line isn't bad and the starting receivers, led by Kevin Robinson, are solid, but the quarterback situation isn't settled with Riley Nelson out on a church mission, and there's no experience whatsoever at running back after Marcus Cross transferred. Basically, the attack needs to find one thing it can do well.
Defense:
If experience counts for anything, the Aggies should be far better with 11 returning starters and a ton of veteran backups ready to fill in. Now the defense has to stop someone after getting ripped apart by just about everyone. How bad did things get? The Aggies allowed an average of 48.8 points per game over the final five games. Ben Calderwood leads an undersized line that has to do more to get into the backfield. The corners are way too small, the linebackers are way too small, and the tackles are way too small. If the overall team quickness isn't accounting for big plays, there will be problems.


Sept. 29 – UC Davis

Oct. 6 - Idaho
Offense: Same idea, different implementation. The new coaching staff will go with a one-back set using four and five-wide formations, sort of like the old coaching staff did, but there will be an even bigger emphasis on tough running. That's a good thing with the strength in the running back corps with four good players, led by junior Jayson Bird, to carry the offense early on. The quarterback situation will be settled this fall with the likely winner being 6-5 redshirt freshman Nathan Enderle, but the receiving corps is going to be a work in progress well into the season. The starting five up front should be fine due to its experience, but it's nothing special. 
Defense: There's experience and all-star talent to work with, so why was the Vandal defense so miserable last season? The line. The front four has to find tackles that can stop the run, and ends that can get into the backfield. If that happens, there could be a night-and-day improvement as the coaching staff looks to attack, attack, and attack some more. With MLB JoArtis Ratti back and healthy, he should combine with David Vobora to create the WAC's most dangerous linebacking duo. Corner Stanley Franks is an interception machine, and safety Shiloh Keo is an undersized hitter. Now everything has to start working around those four.


Oct. 12 - Hawaii
Offense: Everything worked last year as Colt Brennan and the offense exploded for a nation-leading 559 yards and 46.86 points per game. While Brennan is back, after flirting with the idea of turning pro early, along with star receivers Davone Bess, Jason Rivers and Ryan Grice-Mullen, the line isn't remotely as good as last year's and the running game will desperately miss Nate Ilaoa. David Farmer has to add the run to the run and shoot, or else Brennan won't be nearly as effective. Even so, expect video game numbers out of the nation's best passing attack.
Defense:
With defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville gone, Greg McMackin will change the D from a 3-4 to a 4-3, even though the one weak spot, at least early on, is experience on the line. The linebackers will be excellent with good depth behind top tacklers Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian, and they won't have to do  as much compared to last year with a more conservative, though not that much, overall defensive approach. Three starters return to a secondary that needs to be far tighter and far more clutch in big situations.

Oct. 20 – at Fresno State
Offense: New offensive coordinator Jim McElwain will pump some life into a stagnant passing game with a wide-open attack featuring some funky, multi-receiver formations while not running quite as much. Call it playing to the strengths, as the receiving corps is lightning fast, but untested, while Tom Brandstater, who struggled mightily last year, is still a talent who appears ready to make a big jump and become a major player. The running game will suffer without Dwayne Wright, but Lonyae Wright and Clifton Smith should be decent. The line is the strength of the team with four starters returning to a group that allowed just 12 sacks.
Defense: After a tremendous 2005 season when the defense dominated, last year was a step back, especially in the secondary. Enough overall experience returns to be better, but the line has to do more to get into the backfield and the corners have to pick off more passes after taking away just three. There's plenty of speed and athleticism in the linebacking corps to swarm to the ball, and there's size and pass rushing ability from the front four, but there have to be more big plays and more takeaways.

Nov. 3 – at Boise State
Offense: As the Fiesta Bowl showed, there isn't a more creative offensive coaching staff in the country, but the attack, led by a Heisman caliber back in Ian Johnson working behind a tremendous line, could look positively vanilla (by Boise State standards) early on. Ryan Clady leads a dominant front five with four starters returning, and they'll need to be even stronger in pass protection with the quarterback situation unsettled. Taylor Tharp is a good, accurate passer, while Bush Hamdan is a big-armed runner who'll throw it all over the place. The receiving corps has potential, but the top four pass catchers have to be replaced. Even so, look for several different formations and several different looks from game to game.
Defense: As expected, the defense was the best in the WAC last year and should be fantastic again with seven starters returning. Stopping the run will be goal one, and it can be with a fantastic returning pass defense. The secondary will be great with safety Marty Tadman and the corner tandem of Orlando Scandrick and Kyle Wilson returning, while the linebacking corps, even with the loss of Korey Hall, will be a strength with Derrell Acrey expected to step up and star, with veterans Kyle Gingg and David Shields keeping the run defense strong. Mike Williams and Nick Schlekeway form a good end tandem, but the tackles will be the team's biggest question mark outside of the quarterback situation.

Nov. 10 - New Mexico State
Offense:
So that's how it's supposed to work? With Chase Holbrook at the helm, the Aggies finished third in the nation in total offense averaging 475 yards a game, 15th in scoring averaging 31 points a game, and second in passing averaging 399 yards per game. Those numbers might seem pedestrian this year if everyone stays healthy. Nine starters return including the top seven pass catchers, starting running back Jeremiah Williams, four linemen, and of course, Holbrook, who'll be one of the nation's statistical leaders all year long if the line, which found the right combination late last year, gives him just a little more time.
Defense: Big plays, big plays, big plays. The call has gone out from defensive coordinator Woody Widenhofer for the defense to use all its experience, with eight returning starters (with safety Gerald Gurrier moving to receiver) to find a way to force more turnovers, come up with more stops on third downs, and most importantly, generate a pass rush. The Aggies came up with a mere 15 sacks and 55 tackles for loss last year, and those numbers need to double to give the beleaguered secondary any shot of being better. There isn't a whole bunch of talent from top to bottom, so everyone will have to be ultra-aggressive and more consistent.

Nov. 17 – at Louisiana Tech
Defense: 2006 was expected to be a year of transition, but yeesh. The D was the worst in America allowing 483 yards and close to 42 points per game, and it was simply awful from start to finish. Step one for the new coaching staff is to find a way to get into the backfield after the Bulldogs finished dead last in sacks and tackles for loss, and it'll alternated between a 3-4 and a 4-3 to try to get some production. The linebacking corps should be decent, the secondary can fly, and the defensive line is full of decent-sized veterans. Now there has to be come semblance of production.
Offense: It's not like the offense was awful last year, but it wasn't consistent and it didn't do enough to keep in all the shootouts created by its defense. Enough talent returns to look for more overall production, especially in the running game where Patrick Jackson should shine behind a big, veteran offensive line that can block, but can't pass protect. The quarterback situation will be worth watching with Zac Champion likely to get the job to start the season, but will be pushed by Michael Mosley and Ross Jenkins for time.


Nov. 24 - Nevada
Offense: The offense is going to be a work in progress and should be far better midseason than it will be to start. The biggest question marks are on the offensive line, particularly at tackle, after Charles Manu moved to guard and Dominic Green move to center. The receiving corps is big, faster than last year, and should make more big plays with big-armed Nick Graziano taking over at quarterback. The running backs need Brandon Fragger to be healthy to add a speed option along with Luke Lippencott. The Pistol offense will likely use a little more fullback this year, and will try to push the passing game deeper.
Defense: There will be some new defensive coaches taking over with coordinator Ken Wilson keeping the 3-4 scheme to take advantage of the great linebackers. Ezra Butler, Jeremy Engstrom, and Joshua Mauga are as good as any trio in the WAC, and will be the team's strength. The line is solid, helped by the emergence of nose tackle Matt Hines as a top all-around playmaker. The secondary is fine, but nothing special; the better WAC passing games won't have a problem against it.

  

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