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Fresno State vs. San Jose State: A Football preview

150 miles separate bitter rivals the Bulldogs of Fresno State (8-1) and the Spartans of San Jose State (4-5). They first played in the Roaring ‘20s (1921) and Saturday will be the 86th meeting. Fresno State holds a slim 44-38-3 record in the Battle for the Valley and has won the last two meetings.

Broadcast Information

· Date: November 11, 2023

· Time: 9:30 PM CST

· Where: CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, CA

· T.V: CBSSports Network

· Radio: 96.7 FM in Fresno, CA

The Stakes?

This rivalry has a trophy, the Valley Trophy, and Fresno State is looking to solidify its path to the Mountain West Championship Game with a victory. The Spartans will be looking to halt a two-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.

Key Players-Fresno State

On a three-game winning streak, the Bulldogs’ passing offense is #14 nationally and is led on the field by Mikey Keene (a transfer from UCF). Keene has thrown for 2238 yards, 20 TDs, and seven INTs. He has posted three games with four passing touchdowns and is coming off a 290-yard, 1 TD performance in a 37-30 win over Boise State.

Keene averages 297 yards per game passing, good enough for #2 in the Mountain West Conference.

In the “toting the rock” department, Fresno State will run RB Malik Sherrod. Sherrod has gained 620 yards on the ground and scored six touchdowns. Earlier in the season, he scored three rushing TDs against Utah State in a 37-32 win.

And he is coming off a spectacular performance against Boise State in which he rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown, including a 52-yard scoring run. In addition, he also returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

Key Players-San Jose State

Also, on a three-game win streak, the Spartans are coming off a 35-0 fade to black road victory over the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii.

Special Teams are an often overlooked but equally important phase of the game. San Jose State is one of the best in the country at a 74% efficiency rating. That’s spectacular enough to rank #2 nationally. That #2 ranking is based on:

· Scored a touchdown on a blocked punt.

· One punt returned for a touchdown.

· Recovered three on-side kicks.

· Recovered two fumbles on kickoffs.

The Spartans are equally adept at taking the ball away from the other team on defense. SJSU ranks 6th in the FBS in Turnover Margin at +9 (#2 in the MWC). They rank 24th in Takeaways with 16 on the season. And, the Spartans have stolen the football away six times in the last two games.

In the run game, San Jose State has rushed for over 200 yards in each of the last three games. That hasn’t happened since the early 2000s. The catalyst for that rushing attack is RB Kairee Robinson. Robinson has rushed for 719 yards and 13 TDs and averages a whopping 6.48 yards per carry. He has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last three games.

QB Chevan Cordeiro has not thrown an INT in the last three weeks and has only thrown three all year. Cordeiro has passed for 11, 407 career yards, which ranks him #3 all-time in the Mountain West Conference. And, he ranks 8th in the FBS among active players. He is the all-time leader in the MWC in touchdowns accounted for.


San Jose State is a 1-point home favorite. Look for the Spartans to come up with a takeaway or two and make a special team play that changes the momentum of the game to get the win over the Bulldogs.

Final Score: San Jose State 34 – Fresno State 31


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