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First look: San Jose State at Washington State

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 3, 2018, 8:39 p.m.

San Jose State quarterback Montel Aaron throws a pass against San Diego State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)
San Jose State quarterback Montel Aaron throws a pass against San Diego State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP)

What is it? Washington State (1-0) will face its second Mountain West opponent in as many weeks when the Cougars host San Jose State (0-1).

Where is it? Martin Stadium in Pullman.

When is it? The game starts at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Where can I watch it? Pac-12 Networks will have the live coverage.

Who is favored? The Cougars opened Sunday as 34-point favorites, but the line moved to 35½ Monday.

How did they fare last week? SJSU opened the season with an embarrassing 44-38 home loss to FCS opponent UC Davis. WSU overcame a six-point deficit in the third quarter, eventually running away with a 41-19 win over Wyoming in Laramie.

Why SJSU will win: The Cougars have overlooked lesser opponents before – Eastern Washington in 2016 and Portland State in 2015 being the most recent examples. Yes, it would take something much more colossal for this particular SJSU team to escape with an upset, but it’s never ideal to let a team like this hang around.

Why WSU will win: In a Mountain West preseason poll that had the Cougars’ last opponent, Wyoming, picked to finish second in the Mountain division behind only Boise State, the Spartans were pegged dead last in the West division. SJSU’s defense has given up 40 points or more in 10 of its last 14 games and 39.9 per game since the 2017 season opener. This isn’t a good sign for the Spartans one week before squaring off with the Washington State Air Raid: UC Davis quarterback Jake Maier completed 37 of 55 passes, totaling 446 yards through the air and three touchdowns in the game last week.

What happened last time? WSU’s quarterback, Gardner Minshew, will be wearing No. 16 this weekend – same as the last time these teams met. On the first day of October in 1996, Ryan Leaf threw for a school-record 305 yards by halftime and eventually reached 355 while dialing up four touchdown passes for the third consecutive game. Michael Black rushed for 109 yards and two TDs as the Cougars rolled up 564 yards of total offense in routing the Spartans 52-16 at Martin Stadium.


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