San Jose State (1-1) is hoping to bounce back from its loss to in-state rival Stanford when goes on the road to visit Minnesota.
This matchup will only be SJSU’s eighth game in school history against a Big Ten Conference opponent, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
“I’m excited to go back to Big Ten Country,” Spartans head coach Ron Caragher said to the news source. “Regardless of who and regardless of what conference, regardless of their ranking, we just need to take care of San Jose State and play Spartan football.”
The Spartans defense, which gave up 197 rushing yards to Stanford, will be facing another tough running offense.
Minnesota (3-0) is currently ranked No. 23 in rushing yards in the Football Bowl Subdivision, according to ESPN.
The Golden Gophers rushed for 213 yards and four touchdowns against Western Illinois last Saturday.
Spartans linebacker Keith Smith, the team’s leading tackler with 30 so far this season according to SJSU Athletics, among others in SJSU’s defense will have to make plays all over the field in order to contain Minnesota’s running attack.
SJSU will also have to rely on a much improved performance from quarterback David Fales.
Fales completed 29 of 43 passes for 216 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Stanford.
In addition, despite throwing for two touchdowns against Sacramento State during Week 1, Fales completed only 16 of 32 passes.
Fales said the reason for his poor performance against Sacramento State was “first-game jitters,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Perhaps that was also the case in the Stanford game.
Playing on the road against the fifth best team in the nation in front of a raucous Stanford crowd surely doesn’t put opposing quarterbacks at ease.
However, Fales was ranked among the top-10 in passing yards and was the nation’s best in completion percentage last season, according to ESPN.
Minnesota’s defense gave up an average of 18.7 points during its first three games this season.
A victory on the road is possible if SJSU can limit Minnesota’s rush yards and Fales plays as he did last season.
Whatever the case may be, especially after losing to Stanford, a win at Minnesota is a must if SJSU hopes to once again break into the top-25 sometime this season.