No longer winless: San Jose State overcame adversity with 50-37 win over UNLV

Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB

By: Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Next stop for San Jose State? Home sweet home. In the Spartans’ case, however, they weren’t just tweeting out “#BeatUNLV” but were also filled with feelings of terror. To be fair, UNLV was one of SJSU’s assumed victories, but SJSU previously lost to Colorado State 42-30, despite putting up 30 unanswered points in the second half. That being said, SJSU not only had to put their foot on the pedal, but also keep it down…and that was exactly what they did on Saturday.

The Spartans wore customized helmet decals with the initials “AJ” in honor of the late SJSU cheerleader Anjela Jose, who died in a single car accident on October 14, and held a moment of silence for Jose prior to the kickoff inside CEFCU Stadium. After that, fireworks lit up the clear blue sky and the Spartans took the field.

Josh Love was the starting quarterback for the Spartans. The kickoff shocked a lot of fans in attendance as a UNLV returner called for a fair catch, caught it and ran through the defense for a long return. As a result, the officials whistled it dead and spotted the ball back at the 15.

“I’m a fighter and I always try to put in my input” Love said. “I’ll continue to fight for this team…We’re going to continue to fight for this team.”

Unfortunately, UNLV got on the board first to open the scoring 7-0 with 7:39 left in the first quarter. Max Gilliam scored a 6-yard rushing touchdown for his first rushing touchdown of the season and Evan Pantels kicked in the extra point for the Rebels.

But SJSU quickly evened the score 7-7 just 1:23 later as Tyler Nevens scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown and Bryce Crawford kicked in the extra point for the Spartans. Nevens’ game-tying score came just moments after Love threw to Thai Cottrell, who recorded a 60-yard reception for a career-long reception.

The Spartans and Rebels were tied 7-7 at the end of the first. SJSU had a season-high 179 total yards in that span.

The Spartans took a 14-7 lead at the 12:28 mark of the second quarter. The Josh effect was in full effect as Love threw to Josh Oliver, who scored a 2-yard passing touchdown for his third touchdown of the season. Crawford kicked in the extra point for the Spartans.

“Everything on the offensive end showed up,” Oliver said. “I think part of our success was the o-line. They played really hard. They played really good.”

The Spartans got ahead 17-7, thanks to a 50-yard field goal from Crawford with 6:25 left in the second. However, 11 seconds instilled a fear inside SJSU when UNLV pulled within 3 points after Gilliam connected with Tyleek Collins for a 75-yard passing touchdown and Pantels kicked in the extra point for the Rebels.

The Spartans’ excitement decreased as soon as the Rebels snatched a 21-17 lead with 1:36 left in the second. Collins scored the second of back-to-back touchdowns–a 4-yard rushing touchdown–and Pantels kicked in the extra point.

But the Spartans weren’t ready to back down just yet. Love threw a touchdown pass to Tre Walker, who scored a 37-yard passing touchdown. Crawford kicked in the extra point for the Spartans, who went back on top 24-21 with just 34 seconds left in the second.

The Spartans carried a 24-21 lead to the locker room at halftime.

The Spartans extended its lead 31-21 at the 10:48 mark of the third quarter. Love connected with Brett Foley, who scored a 1-yard passing touchdown. Crawford kicked in the extra point for the Spartans.

The Spartans continued to wreck havoc when Love threw a touchdown pass to Tre Hartley, who scored a 9-yard passing touchdown. Crawford kicked in the extra point for the Spartans, who expanded its lead 38-21 with 4:17 left in the third.

The Rebels pulled within 10 points when Collins scored a 46-yard passing touchdown, and Pantels kicked in the extra point. Simultaneously, the Spartans’ penalty for offside was declined.

Crawford attempted a 36-yard field goal–his second field goal of the game–to put the Spartans up 41-28 with just 15 seconds left in the third.

The Spartans held a commanding 41-28 lead at the end of the third.

The Spartans proceeded to rise up for the most part. Dakari Monroe picked up a 50-yard interception touchdown, but Crawford missed the extra point. Still, SJSU got a 47-28 lead at the 13:44 mark of the fourth quarter.

“We could’ve played better,” Monroe said. “We had a lot of yards, but I think the biggest thing for us…we made the big plays when they were needed and that’s always needed.”

The Rebels intimidated the Spartans when Pantels kicked a 23-yard field goal to reduce its deficit 47-31 at the 10:46 mark of the fourth. SJSU responded with a 23-yard field goal by Crawford just 3:35 later. SJSU led UNLV 50-31 with 7:11 left in the fourth.

The Rebels put a scare into the Spartans late in the fourth. Gilliam threw a touchdown pass to Collins, who scored a 4-yard passing touchdown to slice its deficit 50-37 with 2:26 left. UNLV attempted a 2-point conversion, but it failed.

The Spartans defeated the Rebels 50-37.

“It was an awesome night for our team,” head coach Brent Brennan said. “It has obviously been a tough couple of months and I’m just so proud of them because they never stopped working.”

Spartans’ possible starters
Offense: Tre Walker, Jackson Snyder, Troy Kowalski, Kyle Hoppe, Jake Colman, Deano Motes, Josh Oliver, Josh Love, Tyler Nevens, Thai Cottrell and Tre Hartley.

Defense: Bryson Bridges, Boogie Roberts, Sailosi Latu, Jesse Osuna, Jamal Scott, Ethan Aguayo, Alii Matau, Dakari Monroe, Zamore Zigler, Tre Webb and Jonathan Lenard, Jr.

If you’re into beer, you can get your tickets for the Spartans’ upcoming Beer Fest in their game versus the Nevada Wolf Pack on November 17 at 2:00 pm PT. You can click this link and use the promo code “BEERFEST” or call/text (408) 924-7589.

If you’re getting fired up about San Jose State basketball, there’s less than two weeks before the boys in Blue and Gold ball it out on the court. The Spartans host the Life Pacific College Warriors on November 7th at 7:00 pm PT.

Up Next
The Spartans travel to Laramie, Wyo. to take on the Wyoming Cowboys next Saturday at 11:00 am PT.

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