NCAA

North Dakota vs San Jose State Preview

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san jose stateSAN JOSE, Calif. – North Dakota will start 2014 on the road after a 3-8 campaign in 2013 that ended with a 34-18 loss at UC Davis. North Dakota will visit the San Jose State Spartans who defeated No. 16 Fresno State 62-52 to end their season at 6-1.

Things are going to look a lot different offensively for North Dakota in 2014 with the only thing continuing being the battle for starting quarterback. Sophomores Joe Mohlberg and Ryan Bartels are considered 1A and 1B and have competed for the starting job throughout the spring and fall along with learning a new offense. Junior Jer Garman returns in the backfield and looks to carry a bulk of the load while a new set of starting receivers will be greeting the winner of the quarterback battle.

A lot of experience is gone on defense as well but will look to senior linebacker Ben Peters who was second on the team with 58 tackles, 5.5 for loss. The turnover doesn’t bode well for a unit that allowed 34 points a game last seasons.

San Jose State is returning a lot on offense including the two leading rushers from last season in sophomores Thomas Tucker and Jarrod Lawson who combined for more than 1,000 yards. Blake Jurich looks to move into the starting quarterback role after throwing only six passes last season. The receiving corps had 142 catches for 1,655 yards. The offense averaged 32 points a game a season ago.

However, the defense allowed 35 points a game last season which contributed to their struggles as a team. Sophomore linebacker Christian Tago looks to improve on his 90 tackles, 10.5 for loss and four sacks in 2013. Most of the defense returns which means more experience and hopefully a better performance in 2014.

Keys for North Dakota Win

The Mohlberg/Bartels combo needs to take care of the football and avoid turnovers. Peters must take the lead on defense and force turnovers.

Keys For San Jose State Win

Jurich must keep the Spartans’ attack on schedule and balanced with with Tucker and Lawson getting carries. Defensive ends Sean Bacon and Adrian Blake need to get pressure on the offense.

Key Injuries :

None

Favorite:

Latest Line, N/A

Conclusion:

San Jose State returns more starters and game experience and that may indeed be the difference in this match-up.

About Mark West

Mark West grew up playing and loving baseball. In college, he found an interest in writing and reporting on sports. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Radio and Television Broadcasting with a News emphasis and a minor in Political Science. Mark began writing a few years ago informally about politics and sports on various blogs, but has focused primarily on baseball writing for the last two years. He loves Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball and writes about the games and the players for the Red Wolves and the Sun Belt Conference. Mark is a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, giving him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy, Regional Players of the Year, and NCBWA All-America voting.

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