The San Jose State Spartans look for just their fourth winning season since 2000 and back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in nearly 30 years when they take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in a non-conference college football matchup Saturday on CBS Sports Network. The Spartans, who won the Mountain West Conference at 6-0 a year ago and finished 7-1 overall, have not had two winning seasons in a row since going 6-4-1 in 1991 and 7-4 in 1992. That capped off a four-year stretch with winning marks. FCS-level Southern Utah is looking to end a three-year stretch with a losing record.
The game is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif. The Spartans are 27-point favorites in the latest Southern Utah vs. San Jose State odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 57.5. Before making any San Jose State vs. Southern Utah picks, check out the college football predictions from the SportsLine's Emory Hunt.
Hunt is the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, which has been supplying analysis of all levels of football since 2007, and a former running back at Louisiana-Lafayette. He knows the game from a player's perspective.
Hunt went 178-149 on his college football picks over the past two seasons, returning $1,477 to $100 players. Anybody who has been following him is way up.
- Southern Utah vs. San Jose State spread: San Jose State -27
- Southern Utah vs. San Jose State over-under: 57.5 points
- Southern Utah vs. San Jose State money line: Southern Utah +1400, San Jose State -4000
- SU: Returns 20 starters from 2020, including 10 on offense and 10 on defense
- SJSU: The Spartans are 43-54-7 in season-opening games
Why San Jose State can cover
The Spartans' defense has been a huge part of the team's success. Junior linebacker Kyle Harmon returns after leading San Jose State in tackles a year ago with 78, including 45 solo. He posted a half-sack for three yards, forced one fumble and knocked down two passes. He was named to the 2021 Senior Bowl watch list and was a 2020 first-team All-Mountain West selection. He has played in 29 career games, including 20 starts. He was 28th nationally in tackles per game last season at 9.8 per game.
Another important part of the San Jose State defense is sophomore safety Tre Jenkins. He was the team's third-leading tackler in 2020 with 41, including 29 solo. He registered one sack for 21 yards, forced one fumble and recovered two others. He also knocked down two passes and intercepted two others. He is a 2021 preseason All-Mountain West selection after being named to the second team a year ago.
Why Southern Utah can cover
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Schenks had a solid spring, leading the Thunderbirds with six touchdowns. He caught three touchdowns in the spring opener at Northern Arizona and scored twice in SUU's win at Cal Poly. He added 126 yards and a score at Idaho. He has 18 career catches for 358 yards and seven touchdowns. He showed his versatility as a freshman in 2019 by punting 22 times for a 36.27-yard average.
Another impact player on offense is redshirt junior offensive lineman Braxton James. The 6-7, 310-pounder was a preseason All-American and preseason Big Sky Player of the Year. He is on the 2022 Reese's Senior Bowl watch list and was a 2021 spring first-team All-American. As a junior in 2019, he was named to the All-Big Sky third team after appearing in all but one game. He played in eight games as a sophomore.
How to make San Jose State vs. Southern Utah picks
Hunt is leaning over on the point total. He has also found a critical x-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Southern Utah vs. San Jose State? And which side of the spread hits hard? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on Saturday, all from the expert who has crushed his college football picks, and find out.