San Jose State at #5 Auburn Preview and Predictions


Aug 30, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Aubie celebrates with students after the Auburn Tigers beat the Arkansas Razorbacks 45-21 at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Who: San Jose State Spartans (1-0, 0-0 MWC) at #5 Auburn Tigers (1-0, 1-0 SEC)

When: 6:00 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama

All-Time Series Record: First Meeting

To say the Tigers’ season opener against Arkansas was a tale of two halves would be an understatement.

In the first half, Auburn’s defense surrendered 21 points and 276 yards (150 rushing yards). In the second half, Auburn’s defense pitched a shutout and held Arkansas to just 61 total yards (3 rushing yards).

It was also a tale of two halves for the Tigers’ offense, though both tales really had happy endings. With Jeremy Johnson at QB in the first half, Auburn gained 311 yards of offense (243 passing, 68 rushing) and scored 21 points. With Nick Marshall at QB in the second half, Auburn gained 284 yards of offense (50 passing, 234 rushing) and scored 24 points.

This week sees the Tigers as huge favorites against the San Jose State Spartans. But these games aren’t played on paper. They’re played on football fields. (Apparently, I went to the John Madden School of Obvious Explanations.)

Let’s examine San Jose State vs. Auburn.

Keys to the Game:

Key for Auburn: Continued success on defense. Auburn’s defense was elite in the second half against Arkansas, allowing just 3 first downs and no points. After struggles on defense throughout 2013 and the first half of the game against Arkansas, it’s imperative that Auburn’s defense continue its success against an inferior opponent to show that Auburn’s defense actually is a force and not a sporadically successful unit.

More from Auburn Football

Key for San Jose State: Well, uh, defense. The Spartans’ defense was strong in their first game, allowing only 10 points and 244 yards. However, that was against North Dakota. Auburn is obviously a different animal. The Tigers rolled up 595 yards in the season opener against Arkansas, who easily has a more talented defense than SJSU. The Spartans have their work cut out for them. Stopping… no, even slowing down this Auburn offense is a tall order for San Jose State if they want any chance to shock the world.

Auburn players to watch: Justin Garrett and Robenson Therezie both received a lot of playing time against Arkansas, but even though Garrett was the starter, Therezie proved to be more impactful. He delivered a hit on Brandon Allen that led to a bad throw and a game-sealing pick-six by Jermaine Whitehead. It will be interesting to see how the coaches approach the “Star” position this week.

San Jose State player to watch: Blake Jurich. The Spartans’ starting QB, in his first start last week, went 22-25 for 250 yards, no picks and also ran for 20 yards and a touchdown. The success of this offense might depend on his ability to stay upright and maneuver in the pocket to make throws. He has an accurate arm but has never faced a defense like this.

Auburn vs. San Jose State Advantages:

Everything: Auburn. It speaks for itself. Listing the “Auburn vs. SJSU Advantages” in detail would be a formality, as Auburn is simply bigger, faster and stronger across the board.

Interesting Facts:

  • In 2013, San Jose State allowed a whopping 215 rushing yards per game. They improved in their season opener last week, yielding only 118 rushing yards against North Dakota.
  • In Auburn’s two season openers under Gus Malzahn, the Tigers defense has allowed 42 first-half points (21 vs. both Washington State and Arkansas) but only 3 second-half points (a Washington State field goal in 2013).
  • After being gashed for 150 rushing yards in the first half, Auburn’s defense limited Arkansas’s ground game to just 3 yards on 8 carries in the second half.
  • 2014 marks the first season since 2010 that San Jose State does not play Stanford. SJSU and Stanford are rivals due to close proximity.
  • San Jose State’s most famous football alumnus is former Stanford and 49ers head coach Bill Walsh. Walsh went 95-59-1 with the 49ers, winning three Super Bowls.
  • San Jose State has an 0-4 record all-time against SEC teams (0-1 vs. Alabama, 0-2 vs. Florida, 0-1 vs. LSU).


This game shouldn’t prove too difficult for the Tigers. SJSU QB Blake Jurich is making his first road start in college football. The game’s in (a shockingly sold-out) Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn’s offense has way too many weapons for the Spartans defense and the Tigers’ defense should have a solid day. Auburn gains over 650 yards of offense (including 400 on the ground) and rolls to an easy win.

#5 Auburn Tigers 63, San Jose State Spartans 14

SEC Predictions:

#2 Alabama 49, Florida Atlantic 3 (Duh.)

#9 Texas A&M 62, Lamar 14 (Duh.)

#12 LSU 45, Sam Houston State 7 (DUH.)

#15 Ole Miss 34, Vanderbilt 10 (Vandy’s performance against Temple was… less than encouraging.)

#21 South Carolina 41, East Carolina 27 (Hey, Carolina, your 3-4 defense struggled against pass-happy A&M. Good thing your next opponent is pass-happy ECU!)

#24 Missouri 31, Toledo 20 (Mizzou makes a very odd trip to the Glass Bowl. This screams, “TRAP!”)

Florida 56, Eastern Michigan 7 (Let’s try this again, Gators. Florida gains over 600 yards and Driskel shines.)

Tennessee 42, Arkansas State 14 (The Vols’ takedown of Utah State was impressive.)

Mississippi State 48, UAB 10 (UAB beat a hapless Troy by 38, so maybe they’re improving.)

Kentucky 38, Ohio 21 (Against a weak schedule, sure, but the ‘Cats will be glad to be 2-0.)

Arkansas 49, Nicholls State 7 (Arkansas hasn’t won in over a calendar year. Here, they finally break through.)

Other Notable Games:

#7 Michigan State 34, #3 Oregon 24 (In one of this season’s biggest games, the physical Spartans will invade Autzen and win by ten.)

#13 Stanford 27, #14 USC 14 (The Cardinal haven’t lost at home to USC since Pete Carroll was coaching. They won’t lose here, either.)

#16 Notre Dame 28, Michigan 21 (The Irish get the best of the Wolverines in the last game for a few years between these two.)

Texas 27, BYU 24 (OT) (BYU’s a popular pick, but I think the improved Longhorn D contains Taysom Hill.)

#8 Ohio State 35, Virginia Tech 10 (I don’t care if Ohio State’s defense is vulnerable. Scot Loeffler.)

#20 Kansas State 37, Iowa State 31 (The ‘Cats will be looking ahead to Auburn and almost trip in Ames. Almost.)

Arizona 38, UT-San Antonio 31 (This Thursday night game in Texas could be dangerous for RichRod.)

UPSET ALERT!  San Diego State 41, #21 North Carolina 39 (A big black eye for the ACC. The Tar Heels have real defensive concerns, and the Aztecs have offensive firepower to take advantage. The Aztecs will block a field goal on the final play to secure the upset.)