Ever since the thrilling win over arch-rival Fresno State to conclude the 2019 season, the San Jose State Spartans have been itching to get back on the football field.
They’ll get back on the football field tonight where SJSU is playing host to Air Force (1-0) at CEFCU Stadium. Kickoff is set for 9:30 PM (CT)/7:30 PM (PT) and will be televised on FS1.
Sadly for the Spartans, there will be no fans allowed in the stands due to Santa Clara County COVID-19 restrictions. So they’ll need to bring their own juice tonight.
Air Force is going to be a difficult opponent for the Spartans because of their triple option offense, as the SJSU run defense has persistently been a weakness. Air Force also already has a non-conference game under their belt.
Air Force is coming off an 11-2 season in 2019, after beating Washington State 31-21 in the Cheez-It Bowl. Head Coach Troy Calhoun is in his 14th season overall at Air Force and has a 99-69 career record, including 4-1 against SJSU.
Brent Brennan is beginning his fourth season at the helm of SJSU, coming off his best season in 2019 where the Spartans went 5-7, where he signed a 5-year extension in the offseason. Brennan has a career record of 8-29, going 0-1 against the Air Force Falcons.
For a variety of reasons, Air Force will play without several key starters from 2019. In July, quarterback Donald Hammond III was suspended from the team and then entered the transfer portal on Friday.
Air Force still opened the season with a 40-7 home victory over Navy on October 3.
With graduations, San Jose State will need to replace players at some key positions. Nick Starkel, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, will likely be the starting quarterback. Sophomore Nick Nash was also listed on the first team quarterback depth chart, indicating that SJSU could use a two-QB system.
Senior running back Tyler Nevens is the only returning back who scored a TD in 2019. Sophomore back Kairee Robsinson had 174 rushing yards last season is expected to make the next jump for SJSU at the running back position.
Sophomore Jaime Navarro is expected to start at right tackle, graduate student Jackson Snyder at left tackle, senior Kyle Hoppe at center, junior Tyler Stevens at right guard and senior Trevor Robbins at left guard are the expected starting offensive lineman.
A less experienced defensive line will be up to the task of trying to stop the triple option attack. Junior College transfer Jay Kakiva is the projected starting nose tackle. Junior Hadari Darden and senior Tysyn Parker are expected to fill the linebacker spots.
Sophomore Nehamiah Shelton and redshirt freshman Charlie Bostic are expected to be the starting cornerbacks.
Safety Bobby Bron II opted out of this season, so that position is a question of concern for SJSU.
The Spartans are looking to win their season opener for the second straight season. They haven’t won a conference opener was September 27, 2008 when they defeated Hawaii, 20-17, in the WAC opener that season.
Although SJSU went 5-7 overall last season, they only went 2-6 in MWC play. Now that Brennan has had three years to build the roster with his guys, even with the covid-19 and local wildfires, there’s no excuses….he must perform better in MWC play. He must show fans that the program is headed in the right direction of his promises of “championship football.”
San Jose State has not had a winning season since 2012 where they went 11-2 in 2012, or even a .500 season where they went 6-6 in 2013.
Spartans fans deserve better and are starving for a consistent and winning program.