Auburn vs San Jose State Preview

Auburn vs San Jose State Preview

The Auburn Tigers are looking to improve to 2-0 when they host The San Jose State Spartans out of the Mountain West Conference this Saturday. This will mark the third all-time meeting between the two programs with Auburn winning the two previous encounters. Those games occurred in 2014 and 2015 with results of 35-21 and 59-13. This will be the last chance for the Tigers to have a tune-up game before the Penn State Nittany Lions come to Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn vs San Jose State Preview

Tale of Two Quarterbacks

The biggest question heading into the season for the Tigers was thought to be answered, but after the Mercer game, it has not. T.J. Finley got the start against the Bears and early on he looked steady. In the first two drives of the game, he went five for six with 65 yards and one touchdown pass. On the second possession, he connected with Ja’varrius Johnson for 39 yards to set up Auburn inside the five. On the next play, he found tight end John Samuel Shenker for a touchdown. The final possession of the first half and the first of the second half were the final two for Finley. Both of those drives ended with a forced pass that resulted in an interception.

After the second turnover, Bryan Harsin turned to Robby Ashford for the remainder of the game. The Oregon transfer went four of seven on the game for 100 yards. That included a beautiful deep pass to Johnson for 56 yards. Ashford laid the ball out perfectly where Johnson only had to run under the pass. That play eventually led to a touchdown by running back Jarquez Hunter. That was not the first action for Ashford, as he was used in the run game early on. He rushed for 68 yards on the night. Both quarterbacks will see the field against the Spartans, but will one separate before the Penn State game?

Who are the San Jose State Spartans?

San Jose State opened its season last week with a narrow 21-17 win over Portland State. To say the least it was a struggle to win. The Spartans’ offense broke in a new quarterback in Hawaii transfer Chevan Cordeiro. In his debut, he passed for 235 yards on 15 of 30 passing and one touchdown. The issue on offense was the rush attack. San Jose State only totaled 49 yards rushing with an average of 1.7 yards per carry. The Auburn defense led by Derick Hall and Owen Pappoe will have an easy time if it is a one-dimensional offense again. The Mercer Bears never found a running game only totaling 74 yards. They found the most success through the air, and that will be the case for the Spartans most likely.

The Spartans’ defense has some key contributors that will need to be big to keep this game within reach. Up front is defensive end Viliami Fehoko who led the team in sacks last season with seven. He was also an All-Mountain West performer. Another star is linebacker Cade Hall who was the 2020 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. San Jose State gave up 395 total yards against Portland State with 270 coming from the passing game.

Auburn’s Tank

Whoever is playing at quarterback for Auburn needs to know one skill. Just hand the ball off to Tank Bigsby. The star running back had a big night against Mercer rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns. It was obvious the coaching staff made a strong effort in getting Bigsby the ball early and often. His backfield partner Jarquez Hunter helped to rush for three touchdowns off just eight attempts. The Tigers running game will help settle in both Finley and Ashford early in the game.

Auburn Tigers vs San Jose State Spartans Prediction

San Jose State presents a tougher challenge than Mercer but should be a game that Auburn will run away with. Auburn will need to play with a strong game and get an idea of who the quarterback will be moving forward with Penn State looming. The Tigers beat the Spartans 41-10.