San Jose State University begins play in the Mountain West on Friday night when they face Utah State. This will be the first game as a member of the Mountain West Conference for both San Jose State and Utah State. The Aggies will be another challenge for San Jose State. The Spartans were dominated at home last year by Utah State and saw their hopes of a Top 20 ranking go down with the loss. This year the stakes may be higher. San Jose State must win to get back to .500. Although not a must win, the Spartans will find it tough to make it into bowl season with three losses in their first four games. Perhaps more important for the Spartans is to build and maintain their fan support. A win at home on ESPN under the bright lights of Spartan Stadium can build momentum and help attendance. 13,000 fans showed up on a Thursday night to see San Jose State open the season against Sacramento State. This game is on a Friday night and is nationally televised so an even bigger crowd should be on hand. A t-shit giveaway also adds incentive to attend the game. If the university can draw 20,000 to the contest and win, a sellout may not be out of the question later on in the season.
In order for that to happen though the Spartans must execute on offense and be able to stop the run on defense. David Fales has been sharp early on against tougher competition and should continue to be stellar against the Aggies. The Spartans should also match up better on defense against the Aggies than they did against much bigger Stanford and Minnesota. This is the most important game of the season for the Spartans so far. Although not a must win, competing in a bowl and gaining national prominence will be even harder to come by with a loss.