San Jose State wide receiver Chandler Jones (top) will lead the Spartans when they play at Stanford on August 31. Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: San Jose State Spartans

California might be the Stanford Cardinal archrival but don’t overlook our next team in the know the opponent series. Located to the south of Palo Alto there isn’t any love lost on the farm for the San Jose State Spartans who are 24 on our list.

The Spartans will open the 2012 season at Stanford Stadium on August 31st at 7 pm on the Pac-12 Network. Last season SJSU went 5-7 with a 3-4 record in the WAC, they got drubbed by Andrew Luck and the Cardinal 57-3 but bounced back losing to UCLA by a 27-17 score.

Junior Dasmen Stewart looks like the heir to the thrown Matt Faulkner with what the Spartans return at QB this season. Stewart appeared in four games last season throwing for 158 yards without throwing a touchdown but did rush for 120 finding the endzone once.

Sophomore Tyler Ervin is the team’s leading returning rusher among running backs, Stewart actually leads the team in that statistic. Ervin has 114 yards in 2011 with one TD, senior David Freeman had 77 yards with one score.

The receiving game is where San Jose State will return its most yards from last year with junior Noel Grigsby leading the group. Last season he had 886 yard with two touchdowns to lead the team. Second, third and fourth leading receivers return also with junior Chandler Jones 566 yard with two TDs, senior tightend Ryan Otten 739 hauling in a team high five TD’s and sophomore Jabari Carr 476 and four touchdowns.

On defense the team’s leading tackler is back with junior linebacker Keith Smith who had 104 tackles, 50 solo and 54 assisted in addition to forcing three fumbles. Second leading tackler senior safety James Orth 78 tackles also had four interceptions. The team’s leader in sacks with 9.5 is back in senior defensive end Travis Johnson he had 73 tackles which was tied for third.

Having to break in a new QB and having a lite running game could make things difficult on offense for San Jose State but they do return several receivers. Defensively I think they’ll be fine with what they return in addition to playing in the WAC. I can see this team getting to a bowl, outside of Stanford they play UC Davis, Colorado State, San Diego State, Navy and BYU so they’ll have a shot I feel.

2012 San Jose State Spartans Schedule –

UCLA 8/30
@Stanford 8/31
UC Davis 9/8
Colorado State 9/15
@San Diego State 9/22
@Navy 9/29
Utah State 10/13
@UTSA 10/20
Texas State 10/27
@Idaho 11/3
@New Mexico State 11/10
BYU 11/17
Louisiana Tech 11/24

Previous Previewed Teams -
July 2 – Nicholls Colonels (32)
July 6 – Northern Colorado (31)
July 12 – UNLV (30)
July 13 – Duke (29)
July 16 – Colorado State (28)
July 18 – Sacramento State (27)
July 20 – Fresno State (26)
July 23 – Rice (25)

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