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The Big Sky and Mountain West Conference see their first action of the season when Southern Utah travels to San Jose State at 9pm PT.
The Southern Utah Thunderbirds play FCS Division I football in Cedar City, Utah. This will be the first of three road games as the Thunderbirds play Arizona State next week and a neutral game against Tarleton State the following week at Globe Life Park.
Southern Utah had a short spring season that was one they hope to soon forget. Five of their six games were lost by one score and the majority of those were last minute losses. Just a few years ago Southern Utah was a Big Sky Champion, but ever since the Thunderbirds have lost their step.
The San Jose State Spartans play FBS Division I football in San Jose, California. This will be the first of four out of conference games for the Spartans as they play USC next week, Western Michigan Sept. 25th, and New Mexico State Oct. 2nd.
The Spartans last season was a magical worst to first type scenario. SJSU has been on the bottom of the conference the last few years and turned it around so that they beat out perennial powerhouse Boise State for the title. A sharp loss in their bowl game to Ball State put a damper on the end of the season.
QB Justin Miller has been the heart of the offense the past few seasons. Whether throwing or rushing Miller is the best spark the Thunderbirds have seen since SUU last won a conference championship. If the Thunderbirds have the ball in the last minute of the game they will be in a perfect spot to avoid the results of all last season.
San Jose State
QB Nick Starkel was a second-team All-Mountain West selection after leading the Spartans to an undefeated regular season in the spring, their first Mountain West Championship title and first ranking in the final Associated Press poll since 2012 at #24. He ranked 19th nationally with 271.8 passing yards per game, and ranked 23rd nationally with a 152.6 passing efficiency. Originally a transfer from Arkansas, Starkel will be looking to guide the Spartans to a bowl game this fall and to get himself up the NFL Draft boards.
The game tonight has a 25.5 point spread according to Caesars Sportsbook. Southern Utah will need to do a lot to keep the score from going that high or higher. Southern Utah in a rebuilding phase against an incumbent Mountain West champ just screams for a blowout score.
Look for Southern Utah quarterback Justin Miller to throw deep, run often, and turnover the ball in desperation as the Spartans run over the Thunderbirds.
My name is Ben Schleiger and I’m your representative for the Big Sky Conference. I have done work for multiple newspapers and sports blogs including The Johnstown Breeze, The University of Northern Colorado Mirror, and Mile High Maniac. I am a proud alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. In my free time, I like watching sports, playing video games, and trying new foods.