San Jose State (3-1) at Navy (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (30,000) -- Annapolis, Maryland. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: SJSU 2-0, Navy 1-0. Away Record: SJSU 1-1, Navy 0-1. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-0, Navy 0-1. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, Navy 0-0. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: For the first time since 2003, the San Jose State Spartans are paying a visit to the Eastern Time Zone as they contend against the Navy Midshipmen in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon in Annapolis.
Last weekend, the Spartans assured themselves a winning record heading into the month of October for the first time since 2008, thanks in part to a 38-34 road win over San Diego State at Qualcomm Stadium. San Jose State has rattled off three straight wins since being downed by Stanford in the opener by a mere three points. A victory against the Midshipmen would give SJSU four wins before the end of September for the first time in program history.
As for Navy, it finally landed in the win column last weekend with a 41-3 romp over VMI in its home opener. Prior to that, the Midshipmen had bowed to Penn State (34-7) and suffered an awkward 50-10 setback at the hands of Notre Dame in Ireland.
The only other meeting between these two programs took place last season with SJSU capturing a 27-24 victory at home.
A 14-yard TD pass from David Fales to Chandler Jones with 50 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter was just what the Spartans needed as the score pushed the visitors over the top in the four-point win against San Diego State. Fales finished the meeting 21-of-31 for 260 yards and four scores to four different receivers.
Also getting in on the scoring action for SJSU was Tyler Ervin who returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter during the seesaw battle.
The San Jose State defense was left on the field for nearly 39 minutes, exposing the group to constant run plays from the Aztecs which generated 271 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Vince Buhagiar used his time on the field to register a game-high 11 tackles, making three behind the line of scrimmage, including one sack in the close call.
Buhagiar currently leads the group in total stops after four games with 35, recording 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. The leader in those two latter categories is Travis Johnson who has an incredible 9.5 TFL and six sacks, placing him among the best in the nation in both areas.
Averaging just under 17 yards per catch thus far, Jones has accounted for five of the 11 aerial touchdowns for the Spartans over the course of four games, while Jabari Carr and Noel Grigsby both have a pair of trips to the end zone to their credit. Fales has been fantastic in distributing the ball, converting 72.0 percent of his attempts for 280.8 ypg. As a whole, SJSU generates 305.8 ypg through the air which is tops in the Western Athletic Conference and 20th nationally entering the week.
The meeting with VMI saw the Midshipmen go down 3-0 to the Keydets in the opening period, but then the hosts rattled off 41 unanswered points to assume control and the eventual win.
Predominantly a running team like the other two service academies (Army and Air Force), Navy rambled for 403 yards and four touchdowns against VMI on 51 rushing attempts, with quarterback Trey Miller doing quite a bit of damage with 116 yards and three TDs on 17 carries. Miller also tried to keep the VMI defenses on its toes by converting 7-of-14 passes for another 107 yards.
Despite being one of the weakest teams in the nation in terms of turnover margin at this stage of the season, Navy was able to end consecutive drives by VMI in the fourth quarter by intercepting passes, one of those being returned seven yards for a score by Matt Warrick.
One of the more dominant players on the defensive side of the ball for Navy through three games is Keegan Wetzel, who is third on the team in total tackles with 17 and is first in both sacks (three) and tackles for loss (four) for a group that tends to struggle in those areas.
Averaging 265.7 ypg on the ground, Navy ranks ninth in the nation in that category and has a host of players to thank for that. Three players are averaging at least 51.0 ypg on the ground and while Miller is the one with the most TDs (three), it is Gee Gee Greene who tends to pick up the most yards on a consistent basis, averaging 9.6 per carry.
As long as Fales can find his outlets down the field, it doesn't matter where the Spartans find themselves playing these days because he doesn't seem to have any problems making the right decisions in the pocket.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 31, Navy 28
09/26 10:32:43 ET