Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener passes downfield against Nevada during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)
- Thanksgiving weekend in College Football kicks off Thursday afternoon as San Jose State hosts Fresno State at 3:30pm EST on FS1
- Fresno State is a 7-point favorite and is 2-1 ATS as a road favorite in 2021
- See the odds, breakdown of the game and best bet below
Fresno State (8-3, 5-2 MWC West) is a 7-point road favorite over San Jose State in the regular-season finale for both Thursday at 3:30 pm ET on FS1 in the game for the Valley Trophy. Both teams had an idle spot last week.
San Jose State (5-6, 3-4 MWC West) will become bowl eligible for the second straight season with a victory. The Spartans, who won the league title in 2020, have won the last three in the series.
Fresno State vs San Jose State Odds
|Fresno State Bulldogs||-290||-7 (-110)||Over 51.5 (-110)|
|San Jose State Spartans||+230||+7 (-110)||Under 51.5 (-110)|
Odds from DraftKings on Nov. 23rd
Tight at the Top
Fresno State must break a three-game losing streak in the series and hope for an upset later in the week to win its first West Division title since 2018.
Because the Bulldogs handed No. 19 San Diego State (10-1, 6-1) its only loss of the season, 30-20 on Oct. 30 at the Aztecs’ temporary home this season in Carson, Calif., they will win the West Division tiebreaker should the teams finish tied at 6-2 in division.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) November 22, 2021
San Diego State finishes at home against Boise State (7-4, 5-2 Mountain West Mountain) on Friday at noon ET on CBS. The Broncos also have plenty of motivation – they are one of three teams tied for first place in the Mountain Division and can win the division if they beat San Diego State and co-leader Air Force loses.
Boise State won in Fresno 40-14 on Nov. 6th.
Bulldog Haener in Charge
Senior Jake Haener has joined an elite group of Fresno State quarterbacks this season by becoming the seventh Bulldog to reach 3,000 passing yards in a season. He has thrown for 3,467 yards and 28 touchdowns entering the final two (and maybe three) games.
Haener has thrown for one fewer yard than Heisman Trophy favorite C.J. Stroud of Ohio State and 117 fewer than Heisman second-choice Bryce Young of Alabama. Bulldog Trent Dilfer had 3,000-yard seasons in 1992-93, and the Carr brothers combined for four. Derek had three (2011-13) and David one (2001).
As Haener has gone, so have the Bulldogs. He threw for 455 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-37 victory at then-No. 13 UCLA on Sept. 18 but had four of his nine interceptions in a 27-24 loss at Hawaii on Oct. 2, He threw three picks in the loss to Boise State.
The Bulldogs lead the Mountain West and are 14th in NCAA Division I with 462.7 yards per game, and their quick-strike attack has produced 10 scoring drives in less than one minute.
San Jose St. Nicks
San Jose quarterbacks Nick Starkel and Nick Nash have seen extensive time this season because of an early-season arm injury that kept Starkel out for five games.
Starkel, who led the Spartans to the Mountain West title a year ago, was so firmly No. 1 after throwing for 300 yards in each of the first two games that backup Nash spent two weeks working at wide receiver. That changed when Starkel went down with an arm injury against Western Michigan in week four.
Taking over against New Mexico State, Nash passed for 216 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover in a 37-31 victory. He started the next four games, going 2-2 including an overtime loss to San Diego State, before Starkel returned to start in the most recent two games, losses to Nevada and Utah State. Nash played sparingly in each.
Nash has two 100-yard rushing games, the first quarterback in school history to do that.
Fresno State vs San Jose State Betting Trends
San Jose State is 5-3 straight up and 4-3-1 ATS in the last eight in the series, 3-1, 2-1-1 ATS in the last four at home. The Spartans are 1-6 straight up and 3-3-1 ATS as a home underdog in the last seven.
Fresno State is a 5-4 as a favorite this season. The Spartans are 2-3 as an underdog, covering the last two. The teams did not play last year because of Covid-19 issues. The Spartans are 4-2 straight up and ATS in six games decided by seven or fewer points.
Fresno State has a plus-1.8 turnover margin, and its 20 takeaways are ninth in the FBS. The Bulldogs have nine interceptions in the last five games. San Jose State has four blocked kicks, tied for fourth in the FBS.
The Bulldogs have more to play for Thursday, although that it not necessarily a determinant, but they are the play because of the Spartans’ unsettled situation under center.
The pick: Fresno State -7 (-110)
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.