SAN JOSE -- San Jose State is seeking its longest winning streak in 22 years when it hosts Utah State on Saturday.
The Spartans' streak, now at four wins, should be put to the test by an Aggies team that has won its past three meetings with SJSU.
"We've got our work cut out for us," Spartans coach Mike MacIntyre said. "It's going to be a great game."
SJSU hasn't won five in a row since it closed the 1990 season with six straight victories, ending with the California Raisin Bowl. That was also the last Spartans team to win a conference title.
If SJSU wants that kind of talk to continue, it will need to put points on the board against the nation's eighth-ranked scoring defense. Utah State is allowing only 12.8 points per game, tops in the WAC.
The Aggies have pitched a shutout in the first quarter in all six games, outscoring teams 54-0. They have allowed only 22 first-half points.
"They're a top-10 defense in America, and that's something we're going to have to deal with," MacIntyre said. "Hopefully we'll move the ball, and hopefully we'll be able to score in the first half and throughout the game."
SJSU's defense has been impressive as well and is coming off a 12-0 victory over Navy. The Spartans are surrendering only 17.4 points per game and, like Utah State, are in the top 20 in the country in total defense.
Does this figure to be a low-scoring contest?
"I don't know if it'll be high-scoring or low-scoring,"
Utah State coach Gary Andersen, whose team is coming off a 6-3 loss to BYU, also expects to see more offense than both teams showed in their previous games.
"I don't think it'll be a 6-3 ballgame or a 12-0 ballgame," Andersen said. "Both teams have good offensive players. I'm impressed with San Jose's skill. I'm impressed with San Jose's quarterback and what their offensive line is doing. I expect we'll have to score some points to win."
Spartans quarterback David Fales, ranked No. 15 in the nation in passing efficiency, has completed nearly 75 percent of his passes. He has helped grind out SJSU's past two wins. The Spartans beat Navy despite not finding the end zone, and Fales shook off a poor first half to rally for a 38-34 victory over San Diego State. Facing a tough defense, he may have to lean on that experience.
"The last two weeks, going against San Diego and Navy, we know what we have to fix and adjust and that we are capable of grinding out adjustments and coming back in the second half and playing well," Fales said.
The Spartans will have to contain an athletic, playmaking quarterback in Chuckie Keeton and a running game led by Kerwynn Williams.
"He's a really, really good football player," MacIntyre said of Williams. "They throw it to him, he runs. He has a lot of speed, a lot of athleticism."
Williams was bottled up by BYU (14 carries, 18 yards), but was averaging over 100 yards per game before that.
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