When San Jose State takes to the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, it will be a whole new foe for every player on Auburn‘s current squad.
This will be the third all-time game between the Tigers and Spartans, with the first two, which were both Auburn wins, coming in the mid-2010s on the Plains. In the last episode, a 35-21 win for the Tigers in 2015, most of Auburn’s players that year were still in high school
San Jose State is old hat for the Auburn head coach, however. During his time at Boise State, Bryan Harsin faced the Spartans on more than one occasion, compiling a 3-1 record against them as head coach.
“(I) know this team well,” Harsin said on Monday. “Coach (Brent) Brennan does a great job of preparing his guys. They do a really good job of game planning. That’s one thing. And they’re always physical and their guys are playing hard. So, no doubt about that. , this is exactly what we will get.
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Although Harsin had four eyes on San Jose State as a head coach, he saw them often during his coaching career. All-time, he has faced the program 14 times as a coach, dating back to 2001 when he was a graduate assistant at Boise State.
Harin knows Brennan almost as well as he does with the Spartans. The two have only faced each other twice as head coaches, sharing two games in the last three seasons, but they have been part of teams that have faced each other 10 times in their coaching careers, covering four schools between Boise State, San Jose State, Oregon. State and Texas.
“We’ve always been friends, kept in touch, connected when we were both assistants on road recruiting and that sort of thing, and then obviously when we were both in our head coaching roles when he was in Boise and I was here,” Brennan said this week.
The last time Harsin and Brennan faced off came in the latter’s favor, a 34-20 win for the Spartans in Harsin’s final year at Boise State.
Saturday’s contest is expected to shake up in favor of Harsin, as the Tigers open as 23.5-point favorites, according to VegasInsider. The Spartans are also coming off a narrow Week 1 victory over Portland State which saw them make a late comeback.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro clinched the victory for San Jose State, scoring the game-winning touchdown as time expired. He scored all three Spartans touchdowns while passing for 239 yards.
Saturday won’t be Harsin’s first look at Cordeiro either, as the Hawaii graduate transfer faced Harsin’s Boise State teams three times between 2019 and 2020.
“He’s very athletic,” Harsin said. “He’s smart, tough. I’ve seen him play, and he’s really elusive. So you need to be in a great position and be able to make those plays in the open.