Ball St. vs

San Jose St.

at Tucson
Thu, Dec 31
11:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 321
Odds: San Jose St. -7, Total: 65

Game Analysis

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San Jose State (-9.5)  36   Ball State  28

San Jose State is a surprising 7-0 and Ball State surprised favored Buffalo in the MAC Championship game and hasn’t lost since their opening game. The Spartans, however, are clearly above average on a national scale (+6.7 compensated points line of scrimmage rating) while Ball State is below average on both sides of the ball and had an average LOS rating of -5.1 points.

The Spartans are led by former Texas A&M and Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel, who was the best quarterback on every team he played on but kept getting replaced by younger players that were considered to have more upside potential (Kellen Mond being the one that replaced him at A&M, who I still don’t think is as good as Starkel). Starkel has averaged 8.6 yards per pass play for the Spartans (against teams that would allow 7.1 yppp to an average FBS quarterback) and he should have his usual productive game against a Ball State defense that has allowed 66.7% completions and 7.4 yards per pass play to quarterbacks that would combine to average 6.5 yppp against an average defensive team. The Cardinals are a bit better than average defending the run and San Jose State is worse than average running the ball but Starkel is projected to easily top 300 yards passing at 8.9 yppp in this game.

Ball State’s offense is led by the steady play of quarterback Drew Plitt, who completes 66% of his passes for 7.1 yppp but has faced teams that would allow 7.6 yppp to an average quarterback. The Cardinals’ rush attack was a bit better than average with Caleb Huntley as the featured back early in the season, but Huntley left the team to pursue his pro career after running for 437 yards at 5.5 ypr in 3 games (against teams that would allow 5.6 ypr to an average back) and I now rate Ball State’s rush attack at 0.4 yprp worse than average. Overall, Ball State’s attack is 0.4 yards per play worse than average while San Jose State’s defense has allowed just 17.9 points per game and rates at 0.4 yppl better than average (5.1 yppl allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.5 yppl against an average team – adjusted for facing New Mexico with Tuioti at quarterback).

Ball State does have an advantage in special teams but overall the math favors San Jose State by 10.2 points, which is about where the line has climbed to. However, Ball State applies to a 59-8-2 ATS big underdog situation that won with UTSA against a far superior Louisiana-Lafayette team last Saturday (lost by 7 as a 14-point underdog). I’d lean slightly with Ball State at +10 (-110 odds) or better.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Ball St.
  • San Jose St.


  • Run Plays 40.7 34.9
  • Run Yards 179.3 145.6
  • YPRP 4.9 4.6


  • Pass Comp 21.7 24.0
  • Pass Att 33.0 35.7
  • Comp % 65.8% 67.2%
  • Pass Yards 278.1 295.7
  • Sacks 3.4 2.1
  • Sack Yards 21.0 16.3
  • Sack % 9.4% 5.7%
  • Pass Plays 36.4 37.9
  • Net Pass Yards 257.1 279.4
  • YPPP 7.1 7.4


  • Total Plays 77.1 72.7
  • Total Yards 457.4 441.3
  • YPPL 5.9 6.1


  • Int 0.9 0.9
  • Int % 2.6% 2.4%
  • Fumbles 0.1 1.0
  • Turnovers 1.0 1.9
  • Points 34.3 27.6
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