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Army football preview: Black Knights travel west to face San Jose State

Jeff Monken and the Black Knights are looking for their fourth straight win. But the 0-5 Spartans are hungry for a win and could pose a dangerous challenge.

NCAA Football: Army at Buffalo Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

In a first time match-up for the Spartans and the Black Knights, Army returns from their bye week to head more than 2,000 miles west to take on San Jose State.

With a 0-5 losing streak, the Spartans are in last in the Mountain West Conference, but a third consecutive home game in a Super Bowl site could be extra motivation for San Jose State. While this is the first time both teams are seeing each other, they did share a common opponent this season in Hawai’i. The Spartans lost to the Rainbow Warriors 44-41 and the Black Knights offered up an took a road win with 28-21.

Prior to their bye week, the Black Knights put up an impressive win against Buffalo, winning 42-13, which was much-needed momentum for Jeff Monken’s side after losing both road games at Duke, 14-34, and Oklahoma, 21-28.

Even with SJSU entering this weekend’s game with a five-game losing streak, they’ve been closing out the second half with points on the board, averaging 26.20 points per-game. Army faces a true passing opponent this week as SJSU has junior Josh Love under center. The 6-foot-2 quarterback has 1,030 passing yards on the season. A bulk of those yards came against Hawai’i as Love threw for 451 yards.

One of Love’s favorite targets is tight end Josh Oliver, who has 31 catches for 382 yards and two touchdowns this year. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, he could be tough to bring down for Army’s secondary.

For Army, expect the Black Knights’ rushing attack to have a big day. SJSU is 59th in FBS in rushing defense, allowing opponents to scamper for 150.8 yards per game. Against Oklahoma, who has the 62nd best rushing defense, Army racked up more than 230 yards on the ground. Overall, Army has the nation’s third best rushing attack, tallying more than 1,500 yards on the ground so far in 2018.

A positive for the Spartans is that Army hasn’t been very good on the road this season, losing two out of three games away from West Point. The Black Knights last played in California in 2014, losing 31-0 to then-No. 15 Stanford.

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. (EST)

Watch: ESPNU

Where: Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara, California

Rankings: In Bill Connelly’s S&P+ rankings, Army is 83rd and SJSU is 123rd (for an explainer on S&P+, click here).

Spread: Most books have Army favored by 15 points. Connelly expects the Spartans to cover.