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San Jose State

vs.

Texas

College Football

Free Pick

9/9/17

The Tom Herman era got off to a rocky start in last week’s opener, falling 51-41 to Maryland despite being an -18 point favorite at some places. The Longhorns get somewhat of a break this week against San Jose State and were up to -26.5 point favorites midweek at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Herman was supposed to turn things around immediately at Texas, but easier said than done, especially for a team that has struggled defensively the last couple seasons. The offense was fine en route to 41 points, although garnering just 3.2 yards per carry against the Terps is disappointing. Behind for most of the game, Shane Buechele was forced to throw it a ton, completing 34-of-53 passes for 375 yards, yet only two touchdowns. Against a much weaker team, the Longhorns should have more success.

The Spartans haven’t been bad in their first two games, competing with South Florida in the opener and then disposing of Cal Poly easily, but that doesn't mean they’ll win this one. While they put up a fight against USF, they also gave up 28 points in the second quarter of that game with all scoring drives at least 50 yards. Between Buechele and running back Chris Warren III, Texas could easily do the same thing against this defense. Buechele will undoubtedly throw it less in this game, but the Longhorns should be around 40 points, if not 50 against this defense.

The question will be stopping SJSU’s offense and that’s definitely not a guarantee after Maryland did whatever it wanted, running for 6.1 yards per carry. The Spartans aren’t at the same level so they won’t be dropping 51 points on Texas, but they could still score enough to cover.

SJSU will go with redshirt freshman Montel Aaron at quarterback after he outplayed sophomore Josh Love in the first two games. He was solid against USF and then carved easily through Cal Poly for 183 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 pass attempts. This will be a much different challenge, but Texas has little film on him, which could be problematic for a defense that has issues across the board. But similar to Maryland, the Spartans will try and establish the ground game between Zamore Zigler and Malike Roberson. While they won’t have as much success, it’s notable that SJSU’s offensive line has the same five starters as a year ago and they’ve rushed for 380 yards on 4.2 yards per carry through the first two games.

There’s no telling how things will play out for Texas’s defense this season, but with how it looked in the opener, it could have problems all season against the high-flying Big 12. The Spartans aren’t going to win this game, but with the line close to 27 points, there’s a decent chance they cover against a team that hasn’t shown much defensive capability. Similar to SJSU’s opening 42-22 loss to USF, the Spartans could score enough to keep this one close against a tough Texas team to trust. San Jose +25

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