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The BYU Cougars head back on the road this weekend as they prepare for their second-to-last regular season game against the San Jose State Spartans.
San Jose State is having one of its best seasons in a long time. The team currently has a 8-2 record, its best record since 1987, and will have its first winning season since 2006.
Last week the Spartans faced New Mexico State, BYU’s opponent next week, and won 47-7.
Third-year head coach Mike MacIntyre leads the Spartans.
This will be the 16th meeting between the two teams, with the Spartans leading the series 9-6. Last year San Jose State traveled to Provo and the Cougars won 29-16.
OffenseSan Jose State’s offense is one of the best passing offenses that BYU has faced this season. The team is currently ranked second in passing efficiency and ninth in passing offense.
Junior quarterback David Fales leads the passing game. He has completed 244-of-337 passes this season for 3,126 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has thrown seven interceptions.
Against New Mexico State, Fales passed for 276 yards and four touchdowns.
Fales is currently ranked as the most accurate passer in the country with a completion percentage of 72.4.
Junior wide receiver Noel Grigsby also helps propel the receiving game with 58 receptions for 914 yards and seven touchdowns.
Last week, Grigsby had 61 receiving yards on three receptions.
The Spartans' leading rusher is senior running back De’Leon Eskridge with 729 yards and seven touchdowns.
Last week, Eskridge rushed for 96 yards and one touchdown. He also had a career-long 63-yard touchdown run.
This offense is one that BYU’s defense is going to need to be prepared for if the Cougars want to control the game.
While San Jose State’s offense may be the strongest part of its team, the defense also performs well.
This season the defense has caused 11 interceptions and 15 fumbles.
SJSU's leading tackler is Keith Smith with 64. Smith also has been credited with one interception, five broken-up passes and two forced fumbles.
Defensive back Bene Benwikere is another defense star for the Spartans. He has caused four interceptions, including one last week against New Mexico State. He is 15th nationally in interceptions.
Benwikere also has 47 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Senior defensive end Travis Johnson is another strong force on the Spartans' defense with 11 quarterback sacks this season. He has also been credited with 52 tackles and two forced fumbles.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall knows this game will be a challenge and is looking forward to facing another good opponent.
“They score 30-something points a game and 300-plus yards through the air,” Mendenhall said. “It will be a big challenge. They are a good team. I think it will be a great game — looking forward to the challenge. It’s another road game with great TV exposure with two good teams playing. Our team is excited to play.”
This game should be a winnable game for the Cougars if they come prepared. San Jose State has proved it is a better team than years past and this should not be a walk in the park for the Cougars.
Ashley Anderson is a senior at BYU majoring in public relations with the hope of one day having a career in sports public relations.