Week 5 MWC Picks: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. San Jose State Spartans

Cody Fajardo has a 70.3 percent completion rate this season.
Cody Fajardo has a 70.3 percent completion rate this season.

Nevada-San Jose State
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Spread: NEV -5
Total: 53
M/L: NEV -210; SJS +180

Betting odds courtesy of Bookmaker

The Nevada Wolf Pack has opened the season 2-1 with victories over Southern Utah and Washington State, and a loss Sept. 13 to Arizona. This week, the Wolf Pack faces Mountain West rival San Jose State and is five-point favorites in the affair according to college football odds.

The Wolf Pack has been “just good enough” thus far. The team averages a small margin of victory (just 4.3 points) while balancing its offense well enough to keep opposing teams on their toes. The Wolf Pack ranks 58th in the nation in passing yardage and 49th in rushing yardage.

QB Cody Fajardo is the main culprit behind the Wolf Pack’s success. He’s thrown for 734 yards on a 70.3 percent completion ratio while also rushing for 182 yards on 40 carries. He’s thrown four TDs to just one INT, while also rushing for a TD.

RB Don Jackson helps with the attack, and has rushed for 223 yards on 62 carries. That 3.6 yards per carry could use some improvement, but Jackson gets the Wolf Pack in the end zone, already having scored three TDs on the year. James Butler is the No. 2 back and he still only manages 3.6 yards per carry. Neither back has had a big run yet this year, and Butler doesn’t really bring big play potential either, though he has scored two TDs.

The Wolf Pack has only scored four TDs from passing this year with Jarred Gipson having accounted for two of those. Both Jerico Richardson and Hasaan Henderson have been very good, averaging 13.7 and 12.5 yards per reception, respectively, but the pair has just one TDs between them (Henderson).

San Jose State is 1-2 on the season. The Spartans won week 1 over North Dakota, but faced a tough Auburn team in Week 2 (losing 59-13) and had problems with Minnesota last week, falling 24-7. The result is that San Jose’s stats are on the deflated side.

The team allows 31 points per game, but if the Auburn game is taken out of the equation that number falls to just 17 per game. Meanwhile, the offense has really only been good against North Dakota. It’s hard to get a real gauge on the Spartans at this point due to the disparity in the teams they have faced. This week may be the best chance to get an idea of what the Spartans are actually capable of.

QB Blake Jurich has been decent. He’s thrown 64.2 percent for completion, but has thrown four INTs to just five TDs. His QB rating is still reasonably high, 139.9, but it hasn’t translated to a lot of success for the team. The backfield is by committee, with the carries having been split between four different options. None of them have been effective.

Jarrod Lawson and Bradon Monroe both average over three yards per carry, and leading rusher Thomas Tucker (83 yards) has just a 3.6 yard average. Blake Jurich has accounted for one of the two rushing TDs this season, and the Spartans need more than yardage from the backfield, but consistent production to make it a reliable option as the season progresses.

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