Heel Doggy! Spartans Await Cal State Fresno

This Saturday, San Jose State hosts Cal State Fresno on Senior Day. While the Bulldogs have collapsed this season, they've won three straight and have vowed to beat San Jose State this Saturday at 1PM. Cal State Fresno is currently tied with San Jose State in the WAC standings at 4-3, but after many years of losing to the dreaded dogs, the Spartans are amped and ready for this crucial WAC contest!

San Jose State might be going to a bowl game, but it isn't celebrating. At least not yet. There's still one more game on the regular-season schedule, one that the Spartans want as badly as any this season.

This Saturday, San Jose State hosts Fresno State on Senior Day. While the Bulldogs were reeling earlier this season, they've won three straight. They are actually tied with San Jose State in the WAC standings at 4-3, as the winner of this game finished tied for third with Nevada while outright fifth place awaits the loser.

Actually, San Jose State isn't even thinking about the postseason right now, at least according to coach Dick Tomey, who according to the San Jose Mercury News, is expected to sign a two-year contract extension that'll run through 2010.

To tell you the truth, this week I'm trying not to even think about that, because we know we are going to go someplace, and that's reassuring, but we need to focus our attention on Fresno," Tomey said. "We can decide how we are going to practice and all the other stuff, starting on Sunday. No, (I'm not worried about the bowl announcement becoming a distraction for the players this week). These guys (Fresno State) have beaten us every year for a thousand years. We're not worried about distractions.

Last season Fresno State defeated San Jose State 45-7.

The official word announced Tuesday was that San Jose State is headed for the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 23 against the New Mexico lobos of the Mountain West conference.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: San Jose State would prefer to run and pass off the success of the ground game, but when that isn't happening, the Spartans don't sit around and wait for it, either. Fresno State has been playing better of late on defense, creating pressure, not missing as many tackles, and a few passes to stretch the field early could pay off huge in the running game.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Spartans first, second and third objective will be stopping Fresno State RB Dwayne Wright, who rushed for 295 yards last week against Louisiana Tech. San Jose has been strong defensively this season, against both the run and the pass, but Wright is playing on another level and seven and eight-man fronts will be needed to slow him down.

QUOTE TO NOTE: It's easy to get that done (give the players a history of when it was a big rivalry). The hard part is beating them, because they are a good team. We have to make it a rivalry (again) at this point in time."--San Jose State coach Dick Tomey on this Saturday's game with San Jose State.

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Fresno State at San Jose State, Dec. 2 -- San Jose State (7-4, 4-3) hasn't beaten Fresno State since 1990, and while the Spartans are headed to a bowl game regardless, they would love to finish tied for third place in the conference rather than fifth.

As for Fresno State (4-7, 4-3), the Bulldogs can finish tied for third place and considering they beat Nevada earlier this season, Fresno State could claim third place outright. A four-game win streak would also be a nice way to finish a sometimes tough season.

"Our guys were three years old the last time we beat Fresno," San Jose State coach Dick Tomey said. "This is an easy week, motivation-wise, because you are playing somebody that has just been much superior. You have not been competitive with them, on the field, in recruiting, as a program. Fresno and Boise have clearly been the best programs in this league, and they are good models on how to run a program, how to have a program, and we aspire to be better than we have been."

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Yonus Davis -- Has really struggled of late, with just 86 rushing yards the last three games. He's still third in the conference with 947, but San Jose State coach Dick Tomey says Davis is on a short leash.

I think that he has got to just continue to work hard and run hard. He just needs to play, but he also needs to be more productive. He's not going to continue to play, if he's not productive," Tomey said. "(He will continue to start), but he has to be productive, and if he's not productive, then we are going to replace him.

"In some cases, we haven't blocked real well (for him). Against Hawaii, we didn't block real very well. There wasn't any place (for him) to run. He just needs to be more productive when he gets the ball, consistently."

WB Adam Tafralis -- If the running game can't get going, Tafralis will have to win this game through the air. Fresno State had two interceptions last week after just three in its first 10 games and the secondary is playing better of late.

LB Matt Castelo -- The key player in this game's outcome will be Fresno State RB Dwayne Wright. The key player in stopping him in Castelo, the conference's second leading tackler.

ROSTER REPORT: CB Christopher Owens (concussion), S Rakine Toomes (hand) and FB James T. Callier (ankle) didn't play in the second half of the Idaho game last Saturday but are expected to play against Fresno State. Also, WR James Jones aggravated an ankle injury but he too is expected to play.

I think that they (players hurt at Idaho) are all okay," San Jose State coach Dick Tomey said. "I think they will all play. I really think that this is the kind of game that every man, woman and child will play, that is at all capable (of playing).

"I think that this is a very important game for both teams, and this is the last game of the regular season for us. It's the last game for them. It's the last game for the seniors. It's a very important game, and I just think that guys, even if they are banged up, they play, if they possibly can. We're very hopeful that everybody will be able to play.

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