South Alabama-San Diego State
Start Time: 8:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 19
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Radio: South Alabama: here. San Diego State: 105.7 The Max/AM 1700
Records: South Alabama 1-1, San Diego State 1-1. First meeting between the two programs.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: South Alabama +17.5. Over/Under: 45.5.
South Alabama Outlook: After holding on for the win versus Gardner-Webb in week one, the South Alabama Jaguars were dominated by Nebraska in their week two matchup.
The Jaguars have been surprisingly good running the football with a 4.4 yards per carry average. The problem is the lack of carries with only 55 attempts for a 121.5 yards per game averages on the season. Xavier Johnson (14/149/1TD) and Tyreis Thomas (7/51/1TD) have shouldered the load with 27 of the 55 total rushing attempts. UAB transfer Cody Clements (37-65/455/2TD) has been a bit up and down to start his career at South Alabama. Clements has found safety blankets, and fellow UAB transfers, Josh Magee (7/158/1TD), Gerald Everett (7/114/1TD), and D.J. Vinson (5/21/0TD) for 19 of his 37 total completions.
Even with the blowout versus Nebraska added to the equation, the South Alabama defense has not played all that great this season. The defense is giving up 435 yards per game and 5.8 yards per play in the first two weeks of the season. Opponents have been successful on the ground with a 4.8 yards per game, good for 217.5 yards per game on 90 carries. Pass defense has been good in terms of yards allowed, but opponents are scoring a touchdown on every 12th pass attempt this season with 7.1 yards per pass attempt. Roman Buchanan (20 tkl, 1 tfl, 1 INT) and Blake Dees (20 tkl, 2 tfl, 2 ff) lead a defense that has 12 tackles for loss but no sacks on the season.
San Diego State Outlook: The San Diego State Aztecs struggled in week two with a los to Cal after winning a week one game versus FCS program San Diego.
SDSU has been a bit of a disappointment on the offensive side with only 315 total yards per game and only 4.7 yards per play. The running game, bringing back one of the best backs of 2014 in Donnell Pumphrey (40/147/1TD), has not found its stride with the team only putting up 159 yards per game on the ground and 4.0 yards per carry. Chase Price (19/101/0TD) has been able to shoulder some load for the Aztecs with Pumphrey starting off slowly. Quarterback Maxwell Smith (19-40/236/1TD) has been a huge disappointment in the passing game with the Aztecs' starting quarterback averaging only 118 yards per game in the ait. SDSU is only putting up 5.7 yards per pass attempt with three interceptions and one touchdown. Eric Judge (4/82/0TD) is the only receiver with over 75 yards on the year.
Defensively, the Aztecs have been shooting themselves in the foot with penalties. Opponents have gained six first downs in the first two games of the season on SDSU penalties. Opponents are struggling to rush the ball with only 3.3 yards per carry and 121.5 yards per game on the ground. Pass defense numbers are a bit skewed after the Cal game with the Aztecs giving up 8.3 yards per pass attempt on the season and 14.5 yards per completion. Even so, the Aztecs have intercepted six of a possible 52 pass attempts this season with Damontae Kazee (10 tkl, 2 tfl, 3 INT), Calvin Munson (16 tkl, 3.5 tfl, 1.5 sacks, 2 INT), and J.J. Whittaker (5 tkl, 1 INT) all picking off passes. Jake Fely (20 tkl, 1 tfl, 0.5 sacks) leads a defense that has 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, and six interceptions.
Prediction: Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses in week two with South Alabama losing big to Nebraska and San Diego State getting raced by Cal. It is very important for San Diego State get their rushing games started early with running back Donnell Pumphrey (40/147/1TD) having a slow start to the season so far. South Alabama should fight back early, but will have a tough time scoring points versus a very good Aztec defense. San Diego State will win this game, just not by the 17.5 points margin Vegas predicted.