Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#381 San Jose State 57 vs.
#382 Arkansas -20
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 7:30pm EDT
Written by Ricky Dimon

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#381 San Jose State University
#382 University of Arkansas
1-1
2-1
-2
1-2
0-2
1-2
25
30
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25

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The Arkansas Razorbacks will play their second-to-last non-conference game of the regular season when they host the San Jose State Spartans at Razorback Stadium on Saturday night.

Another stab at the SEC

San Jose State is understandably 0-6 all-time against SEC opposition, but its most recent such effort was not a bad one–a 35-21 loss at Auburn in 2015. Saturday marks the Spartans’ first-ever meeting with Arkansas.

“It’s a great challenge for us going on the road to an SEC school,” head coach Brent Brennan assured. “It’s a long way from home, and you get all the things that come with that. You get a different kind of a fan base and a great crowd. You’re going to get some humidity. Everybody has a ton of respect for that conference and obviously what they’ve done. The kids that are in our program now, they’ve seen a ton of success come out of that conference on a national stage. It’s going to be a great venue, and we’re playing a great opponent in Arkansas. These are the moments you kind of dream of growing up, and I think we’ll play our best football.”

The Spartans opened with a 35-18 rout of Northern Colorado before falling to Tulsa 34-16, both at home. Starting quarterback Josh Love left the setback against the Golden Hurricane in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury, but Brennan said his senior signal-caller will be ready to go against Arkansas. Love has completed 37 of 61 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Freshman backup Nick Nash has played in both games and leads the Spartans with 115 rushing yards on 13 keepers, scoring once. Nash has completed five of seven attempts for 44 yards through the air.

A Starkel is born

The Razorbacks won their season opener in unspectacular 20-13 fashion over Portland State, which was followed by a 31-17 SEC loss at Ole Miss. Former starting quarterback Ben Hicks, a senior, was replaced by Nick Starkel during the setback. Starkel remained under center for last weekend’s 55-34 victory over Colorado State and the junior will once again get the nod on Saturday against San Jose State. In Starkel’s first start for Arkansas, he completed 20 of 35 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Starkel’s ability to push the ball down the field opened things up for the run game, as well. Arkansas ran for 215 yards on 35 carries at the Rams’ expense. Rakeem Boyd gained 122 yards on 20 carries for his first multi-touchdown performance of his Arkansas career. Devwah Whaley added 81 yards and a score on just nine attempts.

“Rakeem Boyd and Devwah ran extremely hard,” head coach Chad Morris said following the win. “Our offensive line did some good things. Our first down production from last week to this week was completely different. I think Nick opened up a lot of our run game. Nick played very well. He was very confident. I am really proud of him and our entire football team to see our guys rally around him. These guys had a great week of practice. They responded and they pulled together. That was our challenge. We’re going to come in here tomorrow and clean up mistakes. We’ve got to keep improving. This team has a lot of work to do moving forward.”

Arkansas’ 24 first-quarter points were the most it has scored in Morris’ tenure as head coach (starting his second season). The 522 yards of total offense were the team’s most under Morris, who is already on his fifth starting quarterback just 15 games into his time with the Hogs.

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Spartans senior linebacker Ethan Aguayo, a former walk-on, is averaging 17.0 tackles per game to lead the nation. He had 20 tackles against Northern Colorado and 14 while facing Tulsa. Starkel has shown some positive signs for Arkansas, but Colorado State’s defense is terrible. The Razorback offense struggled mightily against both Portland State and Ole Miss. This one could be close than the spread suggests. San Jose State is 4-1 ATS in its last five on the road against opponents with winning home records. The Razorbacks are 16-33-2 ATS in their last 51 in September.

Prediction: San Jose State Spartans

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It remains to be seen if Love is 100 percent for the visitors on Saturday. The good news for San Jose State is that its defense is looking strong and Aguayo appears to be a star. The under is 4-0 in the Spartans’ last four overall, 6-1 in their last seven on the road, 4-1 in their last five non-conference games, 7-3 in their last 10 against opponents with winning records, and 4-0 in their last four on fieldturf. It is also 4-1 in the Razorbacks’ last five non-conference contests and 5-1 in their last six in September.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the Winners & Whiners Staff, he worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.