San Diego State at Fresno State
When: Saturday, November 17, 7:30 PM PST
Where: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
TV/Streaming: CBS Sports Network / CBS Sports App
San Diego State Aztecs (7-3, 4-2 Mountain West)
San Diego State and Fresno State, the two teams that have claimed all five Mountain West, West Division titles in league history, meet once again with major conference implications on the line Saturday in Fresno.
The MW Western Division champions within the two-division era: San Diego State (2): 2015*, 2016*; Fresno State (3): 2013*, 2014, 2017.
The Aztecs own a 29-24-4 series lead. The Bulldogs snapped a two-game SDSU series winning streak last season with a 27-3 decision at SDCCU Stadium.
SDSU will try to rely on its defense as its offense has been a little off from its past seasons. San Diego State is currently 11th nationally in total defense, allowing only 302.3 yards per game. The Aztecs have been particularly effective on that side of the ball of late, holding five of its last six opponents to 297 yards or less. Since 2015, SDSU is 36-4 when holding the opponent to 380 yards of total offense or less.
The Aztecs are fifth nationally in rushing defense per game at 94.7 yards. San Diego State, which is allowing just 2.7 yards per rush, is 33-4 since 2015 (with 11 straight victories) when the opponent has a 3.7 yards per rush average or lower.
SDSU is coming into this game with a surprising loss at home to UNLV last week but are 2-0 this season in the week after a loss.
Key Player: QB Ryan Agnew will be the key to getting the SDSU offense going. He does have the highest career yards per completion (14.37, min. 100 completions) of all Aztec signal callers in the past two decades but will need to throw it a little more often for SDSU to pull off the road upset.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: PK John Baron II has the third-highest field goal percentage among active kickers in the nation (min. 25 FGM). He is 49-of-57 in his career (86.0 percent). He also is tied for the national lead in 50+-yard field goals this season (4) and he is 5-for-5 this season and 25-of-27 in road/neutral games in his career with eight consecutive makes. Look for the Aztec drives to stall and use Baron to use his leg to get points.
Fresno State Bulldogs (8-2, 5-1 Mountain West)
A victory for FSU over San Diego State will clinch the 2018 MW West Division title for Fresno State. It would be the Bulldogs second consecutive division crown and fourth in six years.
Like SDSU, Fresno State is also coming off a loss. FSU lost at Boise State last week.
Fresno State has allowed 15 touchdowns this season, the second-fewest in the FBS to Mississippi State’s 12. Fresno State’s scoring defense ranks T-5th in the FBS, allowing 13.5 points per game.
Fresno State officials are monitoring the air quality due to the forest fires in northern California and forecasts for Saturday, but the game is expected to be played. According to the NCAA guidelines, serious consideration should be given to rescheduling a game if the air quality index hits 200 or above.
Key Player: QB Marcus McMaryion has been tabbed a national semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award (top quarterback), Wuerffel Trophy (community) and Maxwell Award (top all-around player). The Aztecs will likely be keying on the run game of the Bulldogs–the area that proved to be the decided the game last year so expect McMaryion to be the key to a Bulldog win in the passing game.
Fantasy Bonus Baby: WR KeeSean Johnson leads the nation in consecutive games with at least one catch (46) and is also the nation’s leader in active career receptions (250). Johnson needs 47 yards to reach 1,000 yards receiving in 2018 – he would become the fourth receiver in program history to record back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards. Expect Johnson to have a big game in this one in the passing game and to eclipse the 1,000 yard park.
Fearless Forecast: The Bulldogs on paper are the better team in this one and expect them to win this one. Unless SDSU wins the turnover margin, this game looks like a big win for FSU. Expect that this will not happen and for the Bulldogs to hoist the MW West Division trophy as well as the Oil Can Trophy. Fresno State 27 San Diego State 16
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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