#76 San Jose State Football 2015 Preview

San Jose State Spartans

Overall Rank: #76
#6 Mountain West

San Jose State Team Page#76 San Jose State Football 2015 PreviewBuy San Jose State Football Tickets

San Jose State’s 11-2 season of 2012 seems like a long time ago now. The Spartans have since gone 6-6 in 2013 and then 3-9 last year. This group may not be able to reach that 2012 form, but they are much better than the team that lost their last six games last season.

2014 Record: 3-9, 2-6
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Ron Caragher (9-15 at San Jose State, 53-37 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Al Borges
Defensive Coordinator: Greg Robinson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tyler Ervin, RB, 888 yards
Passing: Joe Gray, QB, 2,305 yards
Receiving: Tyler Winston, WR, 694 yards
Tackles: Christian Tago, LB, 96
Sacks: Tony Popovich, DT, 2.0
Interceptions: Jimmy Pruitt, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: WR Tim Crawley, WR Hansell Wilson, K Austin Lopez, S Maurice McKnight, CB Cleveland Wallace

Key Losses: QB Blake Jurich, LB Vince Buhagiar, DT Travis Raciti, S Akeem King

No team in the nation had a stingier secondary last year than San Jose State. They allowed just 117.8 yards per game through the air. Much of the unit returns, including cornerbacks Jimmy Pruitt and Cleveland Wallace and free safety Maurice McKnight. Throwing the ball will not be easy against San Jose State again this year. On the flip side, the Spartans should continue to have success through the air. Quarterback Joe Gray stepped into the starting quarterback spot last season, replacing David Fales. On the year, Gray threw for 2,305 yards and 11 touchdowns. The starting job is not necessarily his since there is talent on this roster, but he is certainly the most experienced option. Receiver Tyler Winston returns after catching 78 passes for 694 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore. With other returnees like Tim Crawley and Hansell Wilson, the San Jose State passing game has a lot of potential this year and beyond.

The potential problem on offense is the ground game. Tyler Ervin, who rushed for 888 yards and four touchdowns in 2014, is a shifty playmaker, but the team as a whole ranked 94th in the nation in rushing offense. Jarrod Lawson and Brandon Monroe will once again try and add a short yardage dimension to the rushing attack, but those two combined to find the end zone just once. These are small running backs who struggle in the red zone. That puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback to force throws in red zone situations and that has not always worked out well for Gray. The defensive front seven could help out the stout secondary a little more. Last year San Jose State averaged just 1.0 sack and 3.8 tackles-for-loss per game. And the run defense allowed 239.4 yards per game. The pass defense looks much better when the opposition does not need to throw the ball to win. Christian Tago is a very good linebacker and there is some experience in the front seven, but they have to be more productive in 2015.

The Bottom Line:
San Jose State should start to balance out a little more this year. The offense should have more success on the ground thanks to a good and experienced offensive line and the defensive front will not rank 116th in rush defense again. The key to actually winning games though will be in the turnover department. The Spartans must get more consistent pressure in the backfield and help create turnovers. And, on the other side of the field, Gray must keep his turnovers down. If those things happen, this is a San Jose State team that can surprise, especially since they get MW West Division rivals Fresno State and San Diego State at home.

Projected Bowl: Arizona Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 141.3 (94th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 253.2 (44, 4)
Total Offense: 394.5 (70, 7)
Scoring Offense: 19.3 (113, 12)
Rushing Defense: 239.4 (116, 10)
Pass Defense: 117.8 (1, 1)
Total Defense: 357.3 (32, 3)
Scoring Defense: 29.4 (83, 8)
Turnover Margin: -1.00 (114, 12)
Sacks: 1.00 (119, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (50, 5)


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