When and where: September 29, 2018, CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, CA, 4:00 PM ET
The San Jose State Spartans will look to win their first game of the season when they roll out the red carpet for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in Week 4.
After getting blasted by the No. 20-ranked Oregon Ducks, the Spartans could certainly use a pick-me-up in a strong home stand against the Rainbow Warriors, who beat Duquesne handily in Week 3. The Rainbow Warriors dropped their last road game in a one-touchdown loss to Army.
McDonald fireworks continue
Hawaii sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald has been a human touchdown-throwing machine this season. He is coming off a sizzling performance where he lit Duquesne up for 273 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in a 42-21 win for the Rainbow Warriors.
The main difference between McDonald and most young quarterbacks, when asked to drop back and pass 40-plus times in a game, is his ability to take care of the football. His accuracy hasn’t always been on the money, but he also isn’t one to try to force errant throws into tight coverage windows.
The lone interception he threw against Duquesne was the only pick he’s thrown so far this season.
Along with the improved offensive play, Hawaii’s defense also played better after an abysmal performance against Army, when they let the Knights run loose on the ground for 303 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
They stepped things up in a big way the following week by allowing only 27 total rushing yards, albeit against a far less talented rushing offense in Duquesne. That kind of performance isn’t feasible every week, but they could create serious problems for opposing offenses if they’re able to limit the run game.
Pass defense remains a nightmare for San Jose State
Defensive play has remained the Achilles heel for San Jose State since the beginning of the season. Teams are averaging 525.3 total yards per game when matched against them. There have been problems at every level—from the defensive front consistently losing at the line of scrimmage, to the linebackers struggling to make key downhill tackles, to the secondary getting torched by a revolving door of quarterbacks on a weekly basis.
It hasn’t been a pretty sight.
The secondary has been the most glaring of the many issues on defense, allowing an average of 391.7 passing yards per game. They’re a team that tends to give up huge chunks of yards through the air. It’s a persisting problem that hasn’t shown any signs of going away any time soon.
On the offensive side of the ball, San Diego State has actually played well, aside from the occasional turnover. Quarterback Josh Love specifically struggled against No. 20-ranked Oregon in Week 3, throwing 238 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It’s tough to win against any team with that many self-inflicted wounds, much less one of the best teams in the country.
- Under is 4-1 in Spartans last 5 games
- Under is 5-2 in Spartans last 7 games against teams in their conference
- Under is 8-2 in Spartans last 10 games after a week off
- Rainbow Warriors are 1-5 ATS in last 6 games played in the month of September
- Rainbow Warriors are 6-20 ATS in last 26 games after surpassing 450 total yards in previous game
- Rainbow Warriors are 1-10 ATS in last 11 games on the road against a team with a losing record at home
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
McDonald should have a field day with a San Jose State defense that hasn’t been able to stop the pass. That type of deficiency plays right into the hand of a pass-happy team like Hawaii. Even in the loss to Army, McDonald still managed to throw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll be facing far less of a challenge against San Jose State, who has given up 300-plus yard passing performances in every game they’ve played in so far this season.
They gave up 400 yards through the air to UC Davis and Washington State. If McDonald drops back for 40-plus passing attempts, he could have a career-day against the Spartan defense.
I’m not expecting a blowout in this game, considering the amount of firepower San Diego State has on offense. As proved in the loss to Oregon, they’re a tough team capable of hanging around even when things aren’t going their way. The end result in this one will be a shootout with McDonald edging Love in the end.
Prediction: Hawaii (-13)
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the over for this game.
The offensive stats will pile up in this head-to-head meeting featuring two suspect defenses. All McDonald does is throw touchdown passes, and he’ll have the opportunity to do so against a shoddy pass defense. San Jose State, on the other hand, isn’t a team to go away quietly. They are more than capable of amtching Hawaii’s offensive intensity.