Western Michigan is coming into this game following a 34-13 loss to Pittsburgh. It was at home and was still a double-digit dog, and rightfully so: The Broncos put up just 13 points and were blown out. It was their second loss of 20 or more points to a Power 5 school, kicking off the season with an oddly similar 35-13 loss to Michigan State. Between those two games was a 37-30 win over conference opponent Ball State.
Running back Sean Tyler who got loose for 108 yards rushing and a touchdown. They’ll need more of that on Saturday as they travel to San Jose State’s Spartan stadium.
San Jose State is coming off a 24-16 loss to Auburn, but that game was two weeks ago, so it didn’t play this past weekend. The Spartans opened their season with a win over Portland State but won by a slim 21-17 margin. They’re led by quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who threw for 275 yards against the Tigers.
Kickoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Western Michigan vs. San Jose State Week 4 Prediction
Western Michigan’s Struggling Defense Is Focal Point
The Western Michigan defense should be the focal point of this game, mainly because it has struggled against every opponent it has faced. Even Ball State was able to put up 30 on the Broncos. All three teams, Power 5 or non-Power 5, have been able to find holes in the Broncos defense. It really hasn’t been just one flaw either, as the Panthers ran for 200 yards on Western Michigan, while the Spartans were able to throw for four touchdowns.
It was a mixture against Ball State, as they allowed 301 yards passing and 137 rushing to starting running back Carson Steele. It should be significantly easier to gameplan for this San Jose State offense. It has yet to put up more than 60 yards rushing in a game. Cordeiro has been the playmaker, and that should continue in this battle.
Tim Lester has yet to have a sub-.500 season as the Broncos head coach, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a defensive guru, as his team has not allowed under 28 points per game since the 2019 season. Lou Esposito has proven to have success coaching up a defensive line that ranked 13th in the nation with 3.17 sacks per game during the 2020 season. With all upperclassmen starters except for one on the defensive line, Esposito should be able to pressure and gameplan to stop Cordeiro.
Can Chevan Cordeiro Find His Rhythm?
Typically, in college football, it is easier to run the football than pass for a myriad of reasons. Don’t tell the Spartans that, though, as redshirt senior running back Kairee Robinson and junior running back Shamar Garrett have had little production this season, making most of the work fall on the shoulders of transfer quarterback Cordeiro.
Having two starting transfer receivers doesn’t help their cause, and on top of that, the Spartans offensive line has two redshirt freshmen. With all upperclassmen starting for their defense, it is clear experience matters, as they’ve had some type of success on that side of the ball.
While hanging with Auburn is impressive for the Mountain West school, throwing two interceptions against Portland State and not turning that into more than 21 points is the concern here. Cordeiro also doesn’t have a game this season with over a 60% completion rate, which means third-down conversations have been hard to come by. The Spartans are just 8-for-25 on third downs, and that should play into what is bound to be a close battle.
Western Michigan vs. San Jose State Prediction
The Broncos have struggled against quality opponents, and San Jose State doesn’t exactly fit that mold. Western Michigan might have concerns defensively, but Tyler and company should be able to move the ball at a more efficient pace than San Jose.
Given San Jose’s struggles against Portland State, and that it hasn’t played in a few weeks, take the road underdog here.
Best NCAAF Bet: Western Michigan +7 (-107) at PointsBet | Playable to +7 (-110)