CSU Rams at San Jose State football: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions – The Denver Post

CSU Rams (2-6, 1-2 MW) at San Jose State (5-2, 3-1)

When/where: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, CEFCU Stadium

TV/Radio: NBC Sports Bay Area/1600 AM, 98.1 FM

Line: SJSU -24, 45.5 over/under

Weather: 60 degrees, showers

What to know

Offensive line shuffle: After walk-on Keegan Hamilton’s start at center in place of George Miki-Han last week in Boise, the Rams have now started six different offensive line combinations over eight games. That has led to some old problems re-emerging against the Broncos, as CSU quarterback Clay Millen was sacked five times — or one less than the Rams’ total sacks allowed from the previous four games combined.

No fly zone: Making matters worse for the Rams’ inconsistent aerial attack? Miki-Han’s availability is up in the air, and a salty San Jose State pass rush (2.86 sacks/game) awaits. As does a secondary that has eight interceptions in seven games while allowing the 12th-least pass yards per game (177.0 per game) of any team in FBS. Translation: Millen will have his hands full – again.

Familiar faces: The Nevada talent diaspora following Jay Norvell’s departure to CSU included the transfer of wide receivers Elijah Cooks (37 receptions, 621 yards) and Justin Lockhart (23-389) to SJSU. The pass catchers are first and second, respectively, in receiving yards for the Spartans, and will no doubt be the focus of CSU’s secondary.

Spartan remembered: The Rams will add the Spartans decal to their helmets this week to honor freshman running back Camdan McWright, who died at the age of 18 last month after being struck by a bus while riding a scooter.

Key matchups

CSU RB Avery Morrow vs. SJSU defensive line: Two big reasons for the Spartans’ defensive success? Linemen Viliami Fehoko (6-4, 263-pounds) and Cade Hall (6-3, 270), who had 8.5 TFLs combined against Nevada last week and lead a unit that ranks second in the Mountain West in rushing yards allowed per game (118.3). After getting banged up in Boise in a game that saw the Rams total three rushing yards, Morrow is expected to suit up. There will be no easy yards Saturday.

CSU secondary vs. SJSU QB Chevan Cordeiro: The last time the Rams faced Cordeiro in 2021, the 6-foot-1 Hawaii native picked CSU apart with 406 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-41 passing. Now, he has even more weapons. Can a CSU secondary that just gave up 305 yards to Boise State QB Taylen Green hold up?

Predictions

Sean Keeler, sports columnist: San Jose State 30, CSU 10

The cool news? Tailback Avery Morrow should be good to go after taking a knock at Boise. Less cool? The Spartans’ defense is up next. Defense and special teams will probably dictate if — and for how long — the Rammies hang around.

Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: San Jose State 34, CSU 13

The Rams took a massive step back the moment they took a step up in competition with their visit to Boise State last week. It’s hard to see that changing with a visit to the Bay Area for an after-dark affair. RIP, bowl eligibility.

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