Written by Tyler Pastorious
This week marks the start of a new season for the San Jose State University football program. They will be kicking off Thursday (August 30th) in San Jose, CA going against the Aggies of UC Davis. The overall record in this series is 6-4-2 with SJSU leading the series. This game will mark the first time that second-year head coach Brent Brennan will be a head coach against the Aggies.
The matchup with the Aggies, who play in the FCS, has “tune-up” game written all over it. However, you cannot take your foot off the pedal at all if you are SJSU. One mishap or overlook of someone on the Aggies roster and this game can turn.
“This is the key game. The first game is what is going to set the tone for the rest of the season and how we approach the season. Along with that though, we want to take a one-game approach and worry about what is in front of us at the moment,” coach Brennan stated.
The Spartans have an offense that was averaging almost 320 yards per game last year, while the Aggies nearly had 500 per game. With QB’s Montel Aaron and Josh Love, coach Brennan has not named a starter so it is possible to see both QB’s getting action in the game. The real question is who is going to provide that spark for the Spartan offense under the lights? Whoever has the better performance will most likely carry the torch heading into Week 2 but, there are no real answers right now.
San Jose State has a strong defensive line that Brennan has said has looked great in camp. However, one thing that can be concerning is the young group in the secondary. That is the only real question going into Week 1 against UC Davis. The Aggies have a star receiver in Keelan Doss who can put anyone on his highlight film so the Spartans are hoping that the young secondary can contain him as much as possible. This does circle back to the Spartans d-line – can this defensive line put enough pressure on the Aggies to scramble and pressure QB Jake Maier? Putting enough pressure on the QB will aid the young secondary and should help make the coverage a little easier. If the defense can contain the Maier to Doss connection, the Spartans should have enough firepower on offense to get the opening win on the season.
“They (UC Davis) has stepped up a lot and implemented the scheme that they want to use,” Brennan said about the UC Davis offense.
As a former special teams coordinator, Brennan has the Spartans specialists primed for the season. “With my background, we spend a good amount looking at special teams. I’d say compared to most, we spend the most time looking at special teams compared to other schools.”. He also had high praise for veteran kicker Bryce Crawford who might see punting and field goal duties again this year. Bryce saw some extra duty last year doing this so it will be great for his stats but might put some strain on the specialist’s leg.
With both, Brennan and UC Davis coach Dan Hawkins, starting their second years respectively, look for each to try and set the tone early for what they want to do. If San Jose State suffers an early loss, it won’t sit pretty for Coach Brennan and the rest of the coaching staff. With next week being at Washington State, then at Oregon, and followed by a home game against Hawai’i, needless to say, the schedule is not kind early on.
The thing that stands out is the level of the programs between SJSU and UC Davis. Anyone from Northern – California would say the Spartans typically put the better product out on the field consistently and have the better overall program, I look for that to shine through in the home opener Thursday night. Coach Brennan seemed confident in the presser Monday and seemed like the team was ready. It is hard to tell with nothing on tape yet, so Thursday night is a big game in many aspects but, I look for the Spartans to take the first victory of the season with a good showing by the defense.
The game is in San Jose, California at 7:00 PM Pacific Time, Thursday, August, 30.
(Image Credit: Kym Fortino)