Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB
By Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Retro Night was a new event, but it drew a larger than usual crowd to CEFCU Stadium on Thursday night. Fans and media watched San Jose State host its first ever meeting against Northern Colorado.
SJSU got the party started as DeJon Packer ran for a 1-yard rushing touchdown and Matt Mercurio kicked in the extra point to put the Spartans up 7-0 at 10:09 of the first quarter.
Northern Colorado kicker Collin Root made a 52-yard field goal to cut SJSU’s lead 7-3 with 7:41 left in the first.
The Spartans scored their second touchdown of the night. Josh Love found Jermaine Braddock, who ran for a 7-yard passing touchdown, and Mercurio kicked in the extra point to make it a 14-3 game with 3:51 left in the first.
SJSU led 14-3 at the end of the first.
Northern Colorado gave SJSU fans a scare when Root kicked in a 36-yard field goal to cut the Spartans’ lead to 14-6 at 14:45 of the second quarter.
SJSU true freshman quarterback Nick Nash came into the game, ran for 59 yards on 3 rushes, but fumbled into the endzone for a touchdown. The Spartans had a “darn it” moment, but it was short-lived as they bounced back for a 21-6 lead with 7:33 left in the second. Nehemiah Shelton caught the interception, Love ran for a 3-yard rushing touchdown, and Mercurio kicked in the extra point.
SJSU led 21-6 at the halftime break.
A similar scare surfaced the Spartans in the second half. Jacob Knipp found Dontay Warren, who ran for a 7-yard passing touchdown, and Root kicked in the extra point for the Bears’ first touchdown of the game. Northern Colorado cut SJSU’s lead 21-13 with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
SJSU was back on top 28-13 just 1:51 later. Love found Derrick Deese, who ran for a 14-yard passing touchdown, and Mercurio kicked in the extra point.
An intentional ground in the endzone by SJSU led to a Northern Colorado safety, which added two points to cut SJSU’s lead to 28-15 with 3:05 left in the third.
SJSU led 28-15 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter went off to a rough start. Root kicked a 36-yard field goal to make it a 10-point game, 28-18, at 13:30 of the fourth.
Tyler Nevens’ 8-yard rushing touchdown and Mercurio’s extra point made it 35-18 in favor of the Spartans with 5:21 left in the fourth. Nevens, coming off a major injury last season, redeemed himself in the home opener this season.
SJSU defeated Northern Colorado 35-18.
NOTES: The Spartans’ offense featured Tre Walker, Jackson Snyder, Troy Kowalski, Kyle Hoppe, Tyler Stevens, Quinn Oseland, Billy Humphreys, Josh Love, DeJon Packer, Sitaleki Nunn, and Bailey Gaither … The Spartans’ defense featured Nehemiah Shelton, Hadari Darden, Viliami Fehoko, Jamaar Hardy, Cade Hall, Tysyn Parker, Tre Webb, Jay Lenard, Ethan Aguayo, Jesse Osuna, and Tre White on defense … Josh Love was the Spartans’ nominee for the 2019 Campbell Trophy … Krazy George was in attendance … Former wide receiver and Super Bowl XLV champion as well as SJSU alum James Jones was in attendance.
UP NEXT: The Spartans host Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6:00 p.m. Game will be broadcast on ESPN3.