Air Force is already 1-0 on the season following its dominant win over Navy, but now it’s time to pick things back up with the Mountain West slate. As long as the Falcons can keep the momentum rolling, they should be well prepared for a road tilt against the San Jose State Spartans.
While the Falcons have a relatively small sample size of data to work with, the early numbers are pretty darn good. Haaziq Daniels and the gang are averaging 40 points per game (after, you know, one game) and the defense was locked in against Navy, allowing just seven points.
We don’t really have any data on the Spartans as they haven’t seen any early action, but it’s important to note that this San Jose State squad was picked by the Mountain West media to finish just fifth in the West Division. Perhaps another nail in the coffin is the fact that San Jose State spent much of its preseason practicing hundreds of miles from home at Humboldt State.
ESPN gives Air Force a 62.2% chance to win ahead of the game, but this matchup may not be as close as it suggests. Following the dominant victory over the Midshipmen, Air Force senior George Silvanic called it “A good victory” but also said “We’ve got to keep moving forward.” It remains to be seen how the extra weeks off will impact the Falcons’ preparedness.
San Jose State is turning to journeyman quarterback — if you can call him that in college — Nick Starkel to lead the Spartan offense this year. The name should sound familiar, as Starkel is coming off of stints at both Arkansas and Texas A&M. He’s coming off of a season with the Razorbacks where he completed just 53% of his passes for 1,152 yards.
Starkel is in a perfect position to take the reins from Josh Love thanks to an experienced receiving corps. Senior Tre Walker and sophomore Isaiah Hamilton are back and they’re joined by graduate Bailey Gaither. Another senior, Derrick Deese, gets the starting nod at tight end. Overall, the Spartans passing attack may be a danger to the Falcon secondary after the blown deep pass to Myles Fells against Navy.
If we take a quick gander at per-game stats, the Spartans averaged 427 yards and 30.1 points per game last season with Josh Love at the helm. On the defensive side of the ball, San Jose State allowed slightly more yardage per game at 443. As for points, the opposition was able to average 31.9 per game.
Last year’s Spartan squad finished with a 5-7 record, missing out on postseason play and falling to the Falcons in Colorado by a score of 41-24. This year, a lot remains to be seen for the San Jose State crew, but at least we have this stat to keep in mind:
How to watch
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, October 24
Where: CEFCU Stadium (formerly Spartan Stadium) — San Jose, CA
Watch: FS1 | Alex Faust and Petros Papadakis will have the call.
Spread: Air Force is favored by -7 at most books, and the over-under is around 61.