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Player To Watch at SJSU: Run, Mike, Run

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Mike Warren finally breaks out this week

Iowa State v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

I figured I would eventually have a few repeats throughout the season when picking a player to watch each season, but I really wanted to make it longer than four weeks before duplicating my pick.

I failed. I’m making a repeat selection. Mike Warren is yet again this week’s player to watch. Here’s the bad stuff first. Iowa State is 115th in the nation in rushing yards per game. Warren’s 153 yards on 42 carries leads the team, and the bulk of that came his 95-yard outing last week.

So maybe, just maybe, Mike Warren might be getting back on track. He’s still dealing with an offensive line that will struggle mightily, but there’s some good news regarding San Jose State: its defense sucks. Hard.

The not-so-mighty Spartans give up 38 points per game, tied for the 112th-ranked defense in the nation. Furthermore, the Spartans struggle defending the run, giving up 236 yards per game on the ground, 5.2 yards per carry, and nine rushing TDs in three games.

Tulsa’s D’Angelo Brewer ran for 164 yards and three rushing TDs against SJSU. Portland State’s Paris Penn ran for 137 yards and a TD against SJSU. Utah had three guys run for more than 60 yards, each scoring a TD against the Spartans. I don’t claim to know to much about the offensive line quality of Tulsa, Portland State, and Utah, but I am willing to bet that Mike Warren is a better running back than those guys.

Warren is going to have struggles all year long with that offensive line, but he’s too good to not break off some big games here and there. And perhaps more importantly, San Jose State’s defense is so bad that Mike Warren can’t not have a decent game. Right? ... Right?

In three games, Warren has a total of 153 yards. I like him to run for more than that alone this weekend. He finally busts into the end zone for the first time this season as Matt Campbell and the Clones get their first win.

Run, Mike Warren, run. This is as good of a chance as you’ll have to find some open spaces for most of the year.