Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com
By Ana Kieu
The offense found the end zone three times, the defense picked off two passes and the kicking game continued to shine in the second and final San Jose State Spartans football fall scrimmage at CEFCU Stadium on Saturday night.
The Spartans packed a lot of action in front of their beloved fans participating in the team’s annual FanFest. Following the scrimmage, a barbecue dinner and the movie “Spider-Man; Into the Spider Verse” wrapped up the activities on the practice field.
“It was an awesome day. We had a great turnout of fans, family and supporters. It was awesome,” said head coach Brent Brennan, who spent time thanking the fans that sat in the bleachers or in their lawn chairs or stood on the sidelines.
“It was a great kickoff to the season. It was great to look over to the sideline and see it full.”
In regards to the play on the field, Brennan gave props to the defense for its play for more than half the scrimmage before the offense began moving the ball in the 77-play scrimmage.
“The goal (of the scrimmage) was to play some of the younger guys a little more and give them ‘live’ football. A lot of them are pretty ‘green’ and need some opportunities to play and prove what they can do to be ‘blue line.'”
Brennan also commented on the importance of keeping the penalty count down. The offense was penalized three times, one wiping out a nice gain. To Brennan, penalties affect more than down and distance. How a drive progresses or regresses on either side of the ball can be affected by a penalty call.
“We have to play right up that edge and play with our hair on fire, but when the whistle blows, it (the play) has got to be over. That’s part of our discipline and that has to show up every week,” Brennan said.
Running back Romero Teu and quarterback Chance La Chapelle scored on runs of 7 and 2 yards, respectively. In between the two running scores, a pair of freshmen, quarterback Alec Trujillo and wide receiver Andre Crump, Jr., hooked up on a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The three scores followed 39-yard field goals without a miss, one each by community college transfer Chris Wood and redshirt freshman Matt Mercurio. A week earlier, Wood went 2-for-2, including one from 49 yards out, and Mercurio was 1-for-1 converting a 27-yard try.
“Fall camp is going pretty good. I’m a lot more consistent on my field goals. In spring ball, I was getting more line drives from my field goals,” said Wood who is battling Mercurio for the kick-scoring job and credits Coach Brennan for creating a greater sense of focus when he is on the field to kick.
“I’m encouraged by that group. Coach ‘G’ (Fred Guidici) does a great job with our special teams guys. There are some new guys in the mix. Obviously, Alex (Galland) is a great addition as a grad transfer. It’s been good to see the other guys get in there and mix it up. Chris has been striking the ball well and so has ‘Merc’ (Matt Mercurio),” Brennan said.
The defense had its moments in the 77-play scrimmage. Cornerback Nehemiah Shelton came up with a notable interception in the first half of the scrimmage. Defensive lineman Duane Tuitasi added to the defense’s takeaway count snaring a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage for a second interception. The defense came up with four quarterback sacks–one more than in the first scrimmage–and had six more plays with a tackle for loss.
“We had a lot of ‘blueline’ today. Everybody had a lot of energy,” said linebacker Ethan Aguayo, who shared with the assembled media contingent the importance of playing every play whether one is first or third string.
The Spartans ended the scrimmage singing the Spartan Fight Song to their fans. It’s been something they’ve done after each win and plan to do it often this season.
The Spartans return to practice on Sunday, August 18, at 11:50 a.m. They’ll begin turning their attention to the August 29 season opener against Northern Colorado, with their August 20 practice. With the start of the fall semester on August 21, practice time normally will be from 9:40 a.m. to noon.
NOTES: Among the former San Jose State football players in attendance were linebackers Mike Scialabba, Epie Sona and Alex Manigo; offensive linemen Nicholas Kaspar and Evan Sarver; defensive end Mohammad Marah; punter Michael Carrizosa; wide receiver Tim Crawley; and kicker Bryce Crawford, who finished representing the Spartans earlier in the day at the four-day Campbell Trophy Summit hosted by the National Football Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif.
Chris Wood, 39-yard field goal
Matt Mercurio, 39-yard field goal
Romero Teu, 7,-yard run
Andre Crump, Jr., 5-yard pass from Alec Trujillo
Chance La Chapelle, 2-yard run
Rushing (40 carries — 83 yards, 2 TDs)
Nick Nash, 6-48; Romero Teu, 4-24, 1 TD; Lorenzo Burkes, 7-18; Tyler Nevens, 3-8; Jake Simmons, 1-7; Jamar Simpson, 1-5; Alec Trujillo, 4-2; Brendan Manigo, 6-(-1); Josh Love, 1-(-7); Chance La Chapelle, 7-(-21), 1 TD.
Passing (20-37-2 interceptions — 194 yards, 1 TD)
Josh Love, 1-3-0-12; Jake Simmons, 7-9-0-90; Alec Trujillo, 6-14-1-41, 1 TD; Nick Nash, 5-7-0-51; Chance La Chapelle, 1-4-1-0.
Receiving (20 receptions, 194 yards, 1 TD)
Andre Crump, Jr., 3-32, 1 TD; Lorenzo Burkes, 3-31; JaQuan Blackwell, 3-24; Tyler Nevens, 2-13; Brendan Manigo, 2-1; Steven Houston, 1-21; Sitaleki Nunn, 1-18; Malikhi Miller, 1-15; Isaiah Hamilton, 1-14; Tre Walker, 1-12; Austin Liles, 1-7; Jamar Simpson, 1-6.
Alex Galland, 7-35.0 avg.
Chris Wood, 3-32.7 avg.
Nehemiah Shelton, Duane Tuitasi, 1, each.
Cade Hall, Jordan Cobbs, Christian Johnson, Josh Gomez, 1, each.