San Jose State Spartans vs. Utah Utes
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
Opening College Football Odds: Utah -26
San Jose State vs. Utah TV Coverage: ESPN2
The numbers on the Spartans are far from pretty this season. They do have their one win against Cal Poly, but aside from that, they've been dumped by USF and Texas by the combined score of 98-22.
Everyone, including Cal Poly, has been able to run all over SJSU at this point. The Spartans rank No. 123 in the land against the run at 305.7 yards per game. That will improve over time, but this is a team that has no shot of keeping most teams under 200 or 250 rushing yards game in and game out. Utah shouldn't be an exception to that rule.
The Spartans have turned their offense over to Montel Aaron under center. Josh Love has been ineffective, and things are so bad for him that Sam Allen was the man who came off the bench to replace Aaron when things got ugly last week against the Longhorns. Aaron went just 12-for-23 for 104 yards with a pick.
The ball hasn't come out of Tyler Huntley's hands often this year for Utah, and why should it? He's 50-for-68 passing, a ridiculously high rate of 73.5 percent, and he's averaging 7.8 yards every time he throws the ball.
Would we like to see more than just the one touchdown pass Huntley has this year? Absolutely. But he also has 159 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
We're interested in what Zack Moss can do in this game. Moss has been relatively quiet thus far, running for 149 yards and a touchdown and averaging a relatively modest 4.5 yards per carry. He could explode well beyond all those figures on Saturday night.
Betting Trends of Note
It's hard to argue with anything Utah has done this season. The team's 37-16 win over North Dakota and 19-13 win over BYU aren't the most impressive in the world, but both games were wins and covers.
What's most interesting is this string of unders the Utes have been on. Dating back to last year, they've played five straight games under the total, and this is a good candidate of a game as well with the way they can control the clock on the ground offensively while playing stout defense against a poor offense.
Last year when these two teams clashed in San Jose, Utah walked away with a comfortable 34-17 win that just barely eked past the total of 46 thanks to a late Spartans touchdown.
San Jose State vs. Utah Free Picks
Moss had a particularly good game in a split backfield last season against San Jose State, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries. But the Utes were awfully conservative in that one and could be again.
There's also a concern about this being a nasty scheduling spot with Pac-12 play coming up and the big win over hated BYU in the rearview mirror.
There's not a lot to like about San Jose State coming into this game save for the fact that Aaron is bound to get better. Remember that he's just a freshman, but he now has a taste of some big time action against big time teams. If he can parlay that into maybe two touchdown drives against the Utes, the Spartans should stick in front of this big number in what could be a relatively drab game.
College Football ATS Pick: Play San Jose State at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Utah 34, San Jose State 17