UTAH STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE

RECORDS: Utah State 2-2, 1-0 MWC, San Jose State 1-2, 0-0

KICKOFF: 6 p.m., Spartan Stadium

TV: ESPN

RADIO: 1590-AM, 90.5-FM

SERIES HISTORY: SJSU leads 20-14-1, but Utah State has won four straight. The Spartans last win was in 2008.

STORYLINE: San Jose State begins Mountain West play against a team that's, at minimum, one of the three best in the conference. Utah State's two losses have both come to Pac-12 teams (Utah and USC) by a combined total of seven points. A loss here doesn't cripple the Spartans -- although it might feel like it. SJSU's schedule gets easier over the next month so there would still be time to recover. But a win would be monumental toward re-creating the good vibes during last year's record-setting season.

INJURY UPDATE: Utah State - RB Joe Hill (undisclosed) and DE Connor Williams (undisclosed) are questionable. San Jose State - LB Vince Buhagiar (shoulder), WR Noel Grigsby (knee), RB Tyler Ervin (ankle), S Brandon Monroe (ankle) and LB Derek Muaava (knee) are out .

MATCHUP TO WATCH: San Jose State's pass protection against Utah State's front seven. Nine different Aggies recorded a sack last year against the Spartans while racking up 13 for the game. That was both a record for sacks allowed by SJSU and sacks recorded for USU. Breakdowns were everywhere. Lineman got beat, running backs didn't pick up blitzes and quarterback David Fales didn't throw the ball away.


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The Aggies have tons of talent in the front seven. Their entire starting defense is juniors and seniors except for sophomore Kyler Fackrell, who may be the unit's best play. SJSU can't let them take over the game again this year.

STATS THAT MATTER: San Jose State is 2-1 in conference debuts. It lost to Air Force in its first Western Athletic Conference game in 1996, but won its Big West Conference debut in 1987 and its Pacific Coast Athletic Association debut in 1970. Five of San Jose State's seven touchdown drives this season have lasted 2 minutes or less. One exception was a 2:16 drive against Minnesota. LB Keith Smith leads the nation with 17 tackles per game. The next highest total in the conference is Utah State's Jake Doughty at 10.5 per game.

                                       -- JIMMY DURKIN