San Jose state head coach Brent Brennan steps on the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against Hawaii on Saturday, December 5, 2020 in Honolulu. (AP Photo / Marco Garcia)
- The state of San Jose will finish an undefeated short season against Nevada as a three-point favorite on Friday night
- Nevada’s Carson Strong was one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, having a five touchdown performance last week
- Read below for odds, analysis and a selection of the game
Two of the three teams competing for a Mountain West Championship face each other to advance to the conference title game in Las Vegas on Friday. The undefeated state of San Jose is looking to end its regular season by beating Nevada in loss, but this is the best wolf pack team in the past decade.
This is more of a street game for the Spartans who had to travel when the city of San Jose decided to cut sports within the city due to COVID-19 concerns. This is a tricky matchup for head coach Brent Brennan, who was without a win against Nevada during his tenure in the state of San Jose.
After that game was opened as a selection, the line moved towards San Jose State for the 2.5 point start.
Nevada vs. San Jose State Week 15 Chances to Win
|Nevada||+3 (-106)||+120||O 58 (-108)|
|San Jose State||-3 (-115)||-108||U 58 (-113)|
DraftKings odds on December 9th
Battle of the Top Passing Offenses
Nevada second quarterback Carson Strong was one of the nation’s best passers-by, having played his best game of the season since the Wolf Pack first game in 2020. Last Saturday, Strong threw against Fresno State 354 yards and five touchdowns in the wild, winning 37-26.
85-YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS @CarsonStrong_ to @ toryhorton11! @NevadaFootball rises 10 to FS2 # AtThePeak | in the fourth quarter #BattleBorn pic.twitter.com/23mW0c5Jf4
– Mountain West (@MountainWest) December 6, 2020
This year, Strong has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for more than 2,300 yards and 21 touchdowns with just four interceptions, two of which were against the Bulldogs. After starting the season with no selection in his first three games, he’s thrown four in his last four games, but he’s also thrown 12 touchdown passes during this stretch.
The state of San Jose has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just over 67 percent of their passes in the last three games. Although the Spartans have been better able to defend against third losses in recent weeks, they haven’t committed particularly severe crimes in their last three games in this category. Both teams have played against Hawaii and San Diego State in their last three games, and while Nevada’s only loss this season was to the Warriors, Strong completed 80 percent of his passes with two touchdowns.
PLAY THE BATTLE SONG
Touchdown, @BambinoTre ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/txSCkDKWk0
– San José State Football (@SanJoseStateFB) December 6, 2020
The Spartans counter with the well-traveled Nick Starkel, who is now starting his third college program after stints at Texas A & M and Arkansas. In addition to a performance of 481 yards and five touchdowns against New Mexico in his second game of the season, Starkel was relatively pedestrian. In two of his last three games, he barely made the 180-yard mark through the air – and only made 48 percent of his passes against the Hawaii team, against which Strong had a clean statistic.
2020 College Football Conference Title Odds Tracker
Where does it go?
Although the Spartans are the home team, they will travel farther than the wolf pack to play this game. The Spartans Defensive Front 7 should be a more disruptive unit than the one Strong struggled with for most of the season, but he’s also the best QB San Jose State he has faced.
Nevada doesn’t have a big rush to pass and the wolf pack had a poor performance defending the pass in their final game against the Bulldogs. Fresno has been a good offense all season, and this game should be seen as an outlier against the consistency Nevada has otherwise shown this season. In any case, the Wolfpack Secondary has done well this year and will want to respond with a better performance against Starkel, who dropped out over the course of the season.
Both teams will be motivated to advance to their first Mountain West championship game in program history, but Nevada gets its shot in a de facto home game with one of the nation’s hottest quarterbacks.
The choice: Nevada +3 (-106)
Nick Krueger has more than a decade of experience in sports media and covers a wide range of events including two Olympics for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick during his career have been college football recruitment, NCAA track and field athletics, and major league baseball spring training.
Nick Krueger has more than a decade of experience in sports media and covers a wide range of events including two Olympics for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick during his career have been college football recruitment, NCAA athletics, and major league baseball spring training.