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San Jose State Spartans vs. Auburn Tigers Preview and Prediction

Author:
D'Haquille Williams

D'Haquille Williams

It's been a tumultuous season for Auburn (2-2, 0-2). In the preseason, the Tigers were picked by many to contend for the College Football Playoff.

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But after barely surviving a potential upset by Jacksonville State, Auburn has dropped consecutive games to LSU and Mississippi State. But fear not, Tigers fans, your team enters Saturday's game favored by 20 points!

San Jose State 2-2 (1-1) is coming off a 49-23 win against Fresno State in Week 4 and ranks as the nation's No. 42 overall offense and No. 36 defense. Surely head coach Gus Malzahn and Auburn won't find itself facing another upset against a Group of 5 team, right?

San Jose State at Auburn

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: SEC Network
Spread: Auburn -20

Three Things to Watch

1. Sean White as Auburn's starter

White made his first start as Auburn's quarterback last week against Mississippi State. He threw for 188 yards and an interception on 20-of-28 passing.

Saturday's game should provide a confidence boost for the freshman who was thrown into SEC play. He will face a Mountain West Conference defense that has far less talent than Mississippi State, which should help his transition moving forward.

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2. Will D'Haquille Williams finally see a breakout performance?

Whether it's been White or Jeremy Johnson under center neither quarterback has helped D'Haquille Williams live up to the preseason expectations of being a potential first-round NFL Draft pick. Williams has 130 yards and one touchdown on 11 catches.

Sure, that's a great performance for one game, but that's over a span of his first four. Williams could finally see the breakout performance many expected him to consistently have in 2015, despite San Jose State coming into this game as the nation's second-ranked passing defense (94.5 ypg).

3. Will Auburn's defense finally improve?

Let's be honest, the Will Muschamp hiring hasn't lived up to expectations thus far. Auburn ranks last among SEC teams in total defense and has allowed an average of 413.5 yards per game.

But the Tigers finally held a team to under 400 yards in last week's loss. Perhaps its a sign that Muschamp's new scheme is finally working?

Final Analysis

It's almost to the point where you can't trust Auburn enough in any matchup. Sure, the line is minus-20 in the Tigers' favor, but that's not nearly as wide of a margin as it was in Week 2, which resulted in an overtime win.

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Auburn needs to win this game handedly to gain momentum in a tough SEC West. The team already has two losses and hasn't even played Alabama or Ole Miss yet. This is definitely a game Auburn should win by a comfortable margin.

Prediction: Auburn 28, San Diego State 14

— Written by Jason Hall, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and works for Fox Sports Florida. Follow him on Twitter@jasonhallFSN.