September 10, 2010

Inside the numbers: San Jose State

MADISON - When it comes to scheduling tough opponents, not many schools tote around a slate of games like San Jose State can. After starting off the season with a 48-3 loss at the defending national champions Alabama, the Spartans take to the road yet again. This time they come to No. 11 Wisconsin and the Badgers power rush attack.

Before the Badgers and Spartans do battle, though, takes a deeper look at the match up.

The following is the first inside the numbers feature of the season.

1999: UW and SJSU have only met once on the gridiron, a 56-10 Badger win at Spartan Stadium. In that game, a former Heisman winner named Ron Dayne paced the Badgers to an easy win. This time around, the Badgers have another Heisman candidate in John Clay fresh off a 123-yard, two-touchdown day at UNLV.

Back-to-back: For the second straight year, San Jose State will open their season with back-to-back games against top-20 teams. With No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 Wisconsin set to open the slate, the schedule is just as, if not tougher, than last seasons start at No. 4 Southern California and at home against No. 17 Utah.

7,460: Talk about frequent flier miles. By the end of its road trip to Madison, San Jose State will have accumulated 7,460 air miles in its first two weeks of the season. I guess back-to-back trips to the central time zone will do that to a team located on the west coast. By the end of the season, the Spartans will have 16,712 air miles throughout their six road games.

27-24: The last time the Spartans beat a nationally ranked team came in 2000 when SJSU upset No. 9 TCU led by LaDainian Tomlinson. In that game, the Spartans beat the Horned Frogs 27-24.

8: When SJSU took the field against Alabama last week, it did so with eight offensive and defensive players, as well as kicker Harrison Waid, making their first starts on the collegiate level. By the end of the contest, 28 Spartans took part in their first collegiate contest.

1: Surprisingly enough, SJSU only allowed one sack a week ago at Alabama. With an offensive line that yielded 34 sacks in 2009, that is a welcome improvement, especially against such a talented squad.

9: Just a few weeks ago Vince Buhagiar was a freshman looking to find his way on offense. However, with less than two weeks until the season opener, the SJSU coaching staff moved him to the defensive side of the ball. Turns out that was a good move. The freshman middle linebacker matched his teammate Tiuke Tuipulotu with nine tackles. No other players recorded more tackles in that game.

7: Early on the Spartan offense had some success against Alabama, but as the game progressed it became apparent the Tide's defense was too stiff for the SJSU. By the end of the game, the Spartans only amassed seven first downs as compared to Alabama's 30.

6.3: The Crimson Tide running backs had a field day against the Spartans, even without reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram. In the end, Alabama averaged 6.3 yards per carry en route to racking up 257 rushing yards. For Wisconsin, a team with a trio of talented backs, that has to be a welcome sign.

175 to 591: Offensively the Spartans were only able to accrue 175 yards of total offense against the Crimson Tide. Defensively was way worse. By the end of the contest Alabama had racked up 591 yards of total offense, good for an average of 8.3 yards per play.

58: When pitting the UW offensive line against the SJSU defensive line, the Badgers have quite the size advantage. Averaging 323 pounds across the board, UW has 58 pounds on average against the Spartan defensive line. That should help the Badgers open some huge holes for the running backs to skirt through.

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