Five non-BCS Games to Watch – San Diego State at San Jose State Headlines

There may be a great slate of BCS games on this weekend with Oklahoma-Baylor, Oregon-Stanford and Alabama-Louisiana State, among others, but there are some great games among non-qualifiers too. Here are 5 of the best:

Sep 12, 2013; Jonesboro, AR, USA; Troy Trojans quarterback Corey Robinson (6) looks to pass against the Arkansas State Red Wolves during the first half at ASU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Troy @ Louisiana Lafayette (Sun Belt)

7:30 PM ET (Thursday)

The skinny: Former conference power Trojans look to knock current conference top seed.

 

Things to watch out for:

  • Robinson’s crusade: the Trojan senior became Troy’s leading passer early last season, and is just establishing a big lead on the next contender. He’s one of the Sun Belt’s best, a strong-armed passer who continues to be prolific despite the lessening of the talent around him. This could be your last chance to check him out.

  • Beware the two-headed monster:  ULL like to run the ball, and they’ve a pair of good backs in Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. Freshman McGuire was a 3-star recruit who runs with some power despite his size. Harris is a big, powerful runner, who has a 3-game streak of 326 yards and 9 TDs. Troy have a solid run defense.

  • Don’t forget defense: Troy’s unit is pretty good, but the Ragin’ Cajuns have the best player on that side of the ball in linebacker Justin Anderson, a playmaker and tackling machine. The senior already 85 tackles, 7 for loss, recovered 2 fumbles (forced 3) and returned an interception for a score. He’ll have his hands full against the Trojan passing attack.

 

Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, Troy 27

Nov 2, 2013; Boca Raton, FL, USA; Tulane Green Wave quarterback Nick Montana (11) throws a pass against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the first quarter at FAU Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane @ Texas-San Antonio (CUSA)

2:00 PM ET

The Skinny: Conference also-rans face off against upstart new boys with a shot at the East title on the line. Who’d have thunk it?

 

Things to watch out for:

  • The return of Montana: Nick (son of Joe) came back last week from injury, but had a tough time against Florida Atlantic, throwing 3 interceptions in the loss. He should be further healed for this matchup, and hopefully will return to his pre-injury form. If he does, he’ll hook up often with WR Ryan Grant (57-737-7) to give the Roadrunners some headaches.

  • Can Soza keep pace?: Roadrunner QB Eric Soza is a playmaker, but he’s struggled at times in his first full season in the FBS. Nonetheless, he gives UTSA their best chance of moving the ball, whether it’s on the ground or through the air. Tulane’s defense is strong against the run, but has proven to be vulnerable against accurate quarterbacks. Soza could make them pay.

  • “Now I shall become the master!”: In a plot twist that would make George Lucas proud, when UTSA head coach Larry Coker was offensive coordinator, and the HC, at Miami, Green Wave HC Curtis Johnson was his receivers coach. Move forward 8 years, and Tulane have the upper hand in the conference while the Roadrunners look to usurp them. These guys are old friends, so don’t expect any awkward hugging, or “spitting on hand before post-game handshake” nonsense, but it should bring a little extra flavor to what should be a good game in its own right.

 

Prediction: Tulane 24, Texas-San Antonio 21

Sep 21, 2013; Waco, TX, USA; Louisiana Monroe Warhawks quarterback Kolton Browning (15) throws against the Baylor Bears during the first half at Floyd Casey Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State @ Louisiana-Monroe

7:00 PM ET

The Skinny: The reigning Sun Belt champs battle last year’s runners-up to stay in the title race.

 

Things to watch out for:

  • Kolton Browning: For those of you who don’t remember Browning, he’s the QB who led ULM on a giant-killing streak last season, including the famous win over Auburn. This season, he’s led the Warhawks to a 5-4 record despite a weak defense. As a senior, this is Browning’s last chance at a Sun Belt championship – don’t believe he’s going to give it up without a fight.

  • Can the real Adam Kennedy please stand up?: One week after throwing for 282 yards in the win over Troy,  Kennedy throws for 166 yards in a rout at the hands of Memphis; a week after torching Idaho for 375 yards and 4 TDs, he throws for 89 yards against ULL. He can’t afford a duck against the Warhawks, but if this comes down to a battle of quarterbacks, my money’s on KB.

  • Golden Boot: If this game goes down to field goals, then it’s likely going to the Red Wolves. So far this season, kicker Brian Davis has made all 10 of his field goals, including one from 50 yards. On the other hand, ULM’s Justin Manton has hit just 4 of 7 attempts, with a long of 38.

 

Prediction: Arkansas State 27, Louisiana-Monroe 21

Sep 27, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose State Spartans running back Jason Simpson (32) dives for extra yards against Utah State Aggies safety Maurice Alexander (5) and linebacker Jake Doughty (51) during the first quarter at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Utah State @ Nevada-Las Vegas

8:00 PM ET

The skinny: Conference new boy takes on rising former cellar-dweller.

Things to watch out for:

  • What does defense win?: The Aggies season looked to take a turn for the worst when QB Chuckie Keeton was knocked out for the season against BYU. But the defense kept the ship afloat with a strong performance, led by linebackers Jake Doughty and Zach Vigil. USU is tough to run on (UNLV’s forte), but navigating their secondary can be a chore too.

  • The future is now: With Keeton gone and the offense struggling, heir apparent Darrell Garretson stepped in late against Boise State and flashed some potential. In the last two games, he’s starting to realize it, including 370 and 3 TDs against Hawaii. The freshman should continue to build on his performance against a Rebel defense that has been far from spectacular this season.

  • The Triplets rise again: With the defense struggling, UNLV have ridden strong performances from their QB Nick Sherry, RB Tim Cornett and WR Devante Davis to their 5 wins. Sherry has shown a big arm in the past, but has cut his interceptions down to 3 while throwing for 1859 yards and 15 TDs. Cornett (171-855-10) is a speedster, but has shown a nose for the endzone and caused some headaches for every opponent. Davis is a big, strong receiver who has caught 60 passes for 864 yards and 10 scores, and could be the biggest factor against the Aggies.

 

Prediction: Utah State 34, Nevada-Las Vegas 24

Oct 4, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego State running back Adam Muema (4) runs for a short gain during the second half against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State @ San Jose State

10:30 PM ET

The skinny: The battle to keep in the race with Fresno State begins here.

 

Things to watch out for:

  • Passing never Fales: One of the best JUCO signings in 2012, David tore up the soon-to-be-extinct (for football) WAC, completing 72.5% of his passes and throwing 35 TDs. He’s cooled off in the tougher Mountain West, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with, and the Aztecs have struggled against the better passers on the schedule.

  • Pounding the rock: The Spartans have struggled at times against the run this season, which favors San Diego State, who have a fine pair of backs to take advantage of the Spartan defense. Adam Muema is a strong runner who’s coming off a 233 yard, 3 TD effort against New Mexico, while freshman Donnel Pumphrey has the speed to break the big one. Being a Rocky Long coached team, the Aztecs will run the ball until somebody stops them.

  • Defying the odds: The last three times these two teams played (‘06,’08,’12), San Diego State was favored to win, sometimes heavily. The last three times these guys played, San Jose State won, and the first two were blowouts. This time SJSU are 7 point favorites, but these two teams matchup pretty well, and it could come down to who has the ball last.

 

Prediction: San Diego State 34, San Jose State 30

Topics: Adam Kennedy, Adam Muema, Alzono Harris, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Auburn Tigers, Boise State Broncos, Brian Davis, Brigham Young Cougars, BYU Cougars, Chuckie Keeton, Conference USA, Corey Robinson, Curtis Johnson, Darrell Garretson, David Fales, Devante Davis, Donnel Pumphrey, Elijah McGuire, Eric Soza, Florida Atlantic Owls, Hawaii Warriors, Idaho Vandals, Jake Doughty, Justin Anderson, Justin Manton, Kolton Browning, Larry Coker, Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns, Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Mountain West, Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels, Nick Montana, Nick Sherry, Rocky Long, Ryan Grant, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, Sun Belt, Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, Tim Cornett, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, UNLV Rebels, Utah State Aggies, UTSA Roadrunners, Western Athletic Conference, Zach Vigil

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