Two dark horse Mountain West contenders face off when the San Jose State Spartans host the Utah State Aggies Friday night. Television coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Utah State and quarterback Chuckie Keeton caught national attention on the opening night of college football, as two late Utah field goals handed the Aggies a 30-26 loss despite three total touchdowns and nearly 400 yards of total offense from their quarterback. Keeton and Co. followed up with dominating wins over Air Force (52-20) and Weber State (70-6) before another close loss to a Pac-12 team in USC (17-14).
Despite a 1-2 record, San Jose State has shown little signs of slowing down from its 11-2 campaign in 2012 even without former head coach Mike MacIntyre (hired away by Colorado). After a 24-0 opening win over Sacramento State, the Spartans hung around with Stanford, trailing by just two touchdowns heading into the fourth before falling 34-13. In their third game, San Jose State trailed Minnesota by just three points at halftime, and ended up losing 43-24.
Rankings and records: Utah State is 2-2, and San Jose State is 1-2. The Aggies are 1-0 in conference play, while this is the Spartans' conference opener. San Jose State holds a 20-14-1 lead in the all-time series, but Utah State has won the last four contests between the two schools.
Vegas: Utah State is an ten-point favorite. The over/under is 61 points. OddsShark has more.
Weather: Night-time in San Jose should be mid- to high-50s with clear skies.
Three names to know
Chuckie Keeton. The star quarterback has thrown for an astounding 14 touchdowns so far this season, tied for second in the nation, and has run for one more. He's one of the top threats in the nation with the ball in his hands, and can do it either through the air or on the ground.
Bene Benwikere. One of the players tasked to stop Keeton will be San Jose State cornerback Benwikere, who has an interception and six passes broken up on the year.
Chandler Jones. The Spartans' best playmaker, he's caught 20 passes for 370 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Two things at stake
With Boise State seemingly down, Utah State needs to win every game it can with the hopes of winning the division.
For San Jose State, a win would be huge for first-year head coach Ron Caragher, whose Spartan team has played well as the underdog but has not pulled off an upset yet.
How to witness
TV: 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Radio: For San Jose State, try 1590 AM and 1460 AM. For Utah State, 610 AM, 95.9 FM, 1390 AM, 97.5 FM and 1280 AM.
Online streaming: WatchESPN
For all your Mountain West needs, head to Mountain West Connection.