San Diego State Aztecs at Utah State Aggies – Preview, TV, Betting Line, Weather, Rushing Record

San Diego State (6-1, 3-0 MWC) vs Eastern Michigan (3-4, 1-3 MAC)

Game time: 8:00 PM EST

Location: Romney Stadium, Logan, UT

TV: CBSSN

Streaming:

Weather: Rain likely, highs in the low 60’s

Series: SDSU leads 11-1, won 9 in a row

Line: SDSU by 6, O/U 44

Logan, Utah will be the site of some history this year. Donnel Pumphrey will take the field Friday night, and barring some supernatural force of nature performance from the Utah State Aggies’ defense, he’ll move over a few more names towards the career rushing yards record.

But what else is going to happen?

Utah State is hovering just below .500 after a home win over Fresno State that brought the Tim DeRuyter era to a close for the Bulldogs. The Aggies are a good defensive team who manage to avoid giving up big plays Рespecially in the running game Рand also boast an above-average pass defense despite struggling to generate any pressure on the quarterback without bringing the secondary up to blitz.

They’ve also only beaten the three worst teams they’ve played (Arkansas, Fresno and Weber States, respectively). This is in part because they are largely devoid of any kind of vertical passing game, which means that despite an ability to avoid big plays, as soon as they get too far behind they’re screwed.

This plays out in quarterback Kent Myers’ numbers, as the Aggies are 3-0 when he attempts less than 30 passes and 0-4 when he does not. The Aggies are at their best when they run the ball to control the clock, keep their opponent from turning their own long drives into touchdowns, and wait for some mistakes to capitalize on.

San Diego State is looking to continue the process of obliterating all memory of that awkward loss to South Alabama a month ago, and Pumphrey is the cure for what ails them. He and backup Rashaad Penny are combining to average a robust 243 yards per game, while Christian Chapman continues to begin his slow slog upward from “game manager” to “potentially useful weapon in the passing game.”

The Aztecs have one of the best defenses in the country, in large part to being extremely strong in stopping the run. They may occasionally get beat by a big play in the passing game, usually when they’re bolstering their pass rush with a blitz or two, but it has gotten appreciably better now that they have entered conference play.

SDSU has allowed only 548 total yards and 13 points over their previous three games, and they’ve won those three games by a combined score of 85-13 despite taking their foot off the gas late in all of them (the primary reason the offense is 119th in S&P+ in the 4th quarter). The always-strong rush offense is now getting help from Chapman and the pass offense, as he has completed 70% of his passes for 454 yards in those three games.

Prediction

Utah State relies on running the ball to retain possession, avoiding big plays on defense, and generating a turnover or two to stay ahead of you. Problem is, their pass defense is their strength and the Aztecs do just the opposite. Not only that, SDSU has the best rush defense the Aggies have faced all season. I’ll wager this one is not all that different from San Diego State’s last three games; they may not blow out Utah State on the scoreboard, but the winner of the game will never really be in doubt.

San Diego State 35, Utah State 10

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