SJSU MBB returns home to host Portland on Sunday afternoon

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose State men’s basketball team stunned Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y. That, my friends, was an astonishing win to say the least. The Spartans beat a Pride team that finished 93rd in KenPom and won 27 games last season.

Now, SJSU looks to make it two in a row as they head home to the Provident Credit Union Event Center on Sunday afternoon. Here are the facts that you should know before the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

BROADCASTS
TV: None

Stream: Stream all non-televised SJSU home games via the Mountain West Digital Network at sjsuspartans.com/watch.

Radio: Justin Allegri on the call through TuneIn.com and the TuneIn app. Search for “San Jose St. Basketball”.

PORTLAND SERIES HISTORY
All-time series is tied, 11-11 … The Spartans hold a 6-4 edge at home … The last meeting was a 64-55 loss at the Chiles Center on Dec. 9, 2017. Ryan Welage had a team-high 21 points in the loss. Isaiah Nichols started in that game, scoring nine points and grabbing six boards in 32 minutes. Caleb Simmons also started against the Pilots. He played just 10 minutes … In a Spartan loss to the Pilots in 2016 in the Event Center, Brandon Clarke had 28 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks … SJSU won the first six meetings in the series … Portland has won the last four meetings … The teams have gone to overtime five times, including a triple-overtime thriller in 1984. SJSU lost, 82-81.

HOME OPENER HISTORY
The Spartans have won three straight home openers … SJSU averaged 98.3 points per game in those wins.

SPARTANS STUN HOFSTRA IN SEASON OPENER
SJSU opened the 2019-20 season with a bang, defeating Hofstra on the road, 79-71 … Hofstra won 27 games last year, while SJSU lost 27 games … In his Spartan debut, JC transfer and former Wake Forest guard, Richard Washington, posted a team-high 23 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting. He scored 12 of his 23 points in the final four minutes, including a stretch of three straight three-pointers to put the game away … Senior forward Craig LeCesne had his first career double-double with a career-high 19 points plus 11 rebounds … It was SJSU’s first win in a road opener since 2010-11 when the Spartans topped Eastern Washington, 67-60 … The Spartans snapped a 21-game road losing streak dating back to the 2017-18 campaign … SJSU won on the East Coast for the first time since 2001-02, when the Spartans defeated Fairleigh Dickinson at the BCA Tournament hosted by NC State in Raleigh, N.C.

POSSIBLE THROWBACK
The Spartans are hoping to duplicate the success of the 1995-96 squad. SJSU won the Big West Conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year after going 4-23 during the 1994-95 season … The Spartans went 4-27 last season.

LOTS OF STARTERS BACK
The Spartans return seven players who started at least one game a season ago … Guard Seneca Knight is the most experienced, as the sophomore started 17 games, including the final 12, of his rookie season … Point guard Brea Ivey was just behind Knight, as the former junior college transfer started 16 games last season … Forward Craig LeCesne and guard Zach Chappell both started 15 games last year … Forward Christian Anigwe, guard Isaiah Nichols and walk-on guard Trey Smith each started one game.

SIX NEW FACES
Spartan head coach Jean Prioleau will have the help of six newcomers on the roster in 2019-20 … The Spartans have three new junior college transfers in Richard Washington (Tallahassee CC), Eduardo Lane (Marshalltown CC) and Ralph Agee (East LA College). Washington started his collegiate career at Wake Forest, where he played eight games as a freshman before an injury caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season … Another Wake Forest transfer will join the Spartans on the floor this season, as center Samuel Japhet-Mathias will be eligible after a redshirt season last year. The former four-star recruit appeared in 17 games off the bench at Wake Forest as a freshman in 2016-17. He posted six points and four rebounds at No. 17 Xavier … Prioleau added two freshmen this season in guard Omari Moore and walk-on center Harminder Dhaliwal.

SJSU TV SCHEDULE
The Spartans will play 10 games on TV this season, including three at home … SJSU hosts an ESPN networks game this year for the first time since 2010-11, when either ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry the SJSU tip against Utah State on Dec. 4. SJSU will also be on ESPN2 or ESPNU when visiting Utah State on Feb. 26 … SJSU will have four non-conference games on TV, all against Pac-12 competition. The Spartans will be on CBS Sports Network when hosting Stanford at the Provident Credit Union Event Center on Dec. 14. SJSU will battle both UCLA and Arizona on Pac-12 Networks and meet Oregon State on FS1 for a neutral site matchup in Las Vegas … The Spartans will also have four Mountain West contests on AT&T SportsNet this season – Jan. 15 at UNLV, Jan. 21 at New Mexico, Feb. 8 at Nevada and Feb. 29 vs. UNLV.

NCAA RULES CHANGES
The most notable rule change for the 2019-20 season is the extension of the three-point line. The new distance will match the three-point line used in FIBA games. The new line is 22 feet and 1.75 inches from the center of the basket, just over 16 inches further back from the previous three-point line … The other major change is the shot clock will now reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound, rather than the full 30 … Another smaller change is head coaches will be able to call live-ball timeouts in the final two minutes of both the first and second halves, plus the final two minutes of overtime periods.

NEW NAME FOR EVENT CENTER
SJSU’s on-campus arena has a new name starting with the 2019-20 season. Provident Credit Union has signed on as the naming rights partner, making it the Provident Credit Union Event Center. The deal is for $8.1 million over 20 years, with the majority of the annual payments scheduled for maintenance and renovation of the 30-year old facility. The president and CEO of Provident Credit Union is Jim Ernest, a Spartan alum.

DIRECTIONS TO EVENT CENTER
Walt McPherson Court in the Provident Credit Union Event Center is located near the corner of Seventh and San Carlos Streets. The easiest freeway access is just a few blocks away off interstate 280. Take the Seventh Street exit and follow signs to San Joe State University. Parking is available for a fee at the South Parking Garage on San Salvador and Seventh Streets and the West Parking Garage on San Salvador and Fourth Streets.

ICYMI: SJSU’s Love 1 of 83 nominated nationally for Burlsworth Trophy

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

Nationally-ranked San Jose State quarterback Josh Love is one of 83 players nominated for the 2019 Burlsworth Trophy.

The award honors the most outstanding NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) player who began his career as a walk-on and shown outstanding performance on the field.

Love is the only quarterback among this year’s record-number of nominees for the award named after former University of Arkansas walk-on and All-American offensive lineman, the late Brandon Burlsworth.

A senior from Mission Viejo, Calif. and co-captain of this year’s Spartan team, Love is one of the country’s most prolific passers. Leading San Jose State to road wins at Arkansas on September 21 and Army West Point on October 26, he is among the top-20 nationally in passing yards per game (5th/310.3), completions per game (12th/22.58), total offense (12th/302.8) and passing yards per completion (20th/13.76).

The two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week this season has thrown for single-season personal bests of 2,793 yards and 17 touchdowns in the Spartans’ first nine games. Love became just the second San Jose State quarterback in school history to record four 400-yard passing games in a season with his 438-yard, two touchdown performance against #21 Boise State on Nov. 2. His four interceptions in 346 pass attempts is a career-low and one of the best interception-to-pass attempt ratios in college football this season.

Love enrolled at San Jose State in 2015 as a non-scholarship player from Long Beach Poly High (Long Beach, Calif.). He was placed on scholarship in August 2016, started one game as a redshirt freshman, five as a sophomore, and eight last year as a junior. Love has started every game for San Jose State in 2019.

“This award is about the journey, the incredibly challenging journey that all of these nominees have taken,” said Marty Burlsworth, CEO and Founder of the Brandon Burlsworth Foundation and older brother of Brandon.

“When you begin your college career as a Walk-On there are plenty of skeptics, those that think you can’t do it. This group of Burlsworth Trophy nominees have proven all the skeptics wrong. They have put in an immense about of work and overcame numerous obstacles to make their dreams come true.”

Without one D1 scholarship offer, Brandon Burlsworth walked on at the University of Arkansas in 1994. He became a three-year starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected as the 63rd overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft, but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those children who have limited opportunities.

Previous San Jose State nominees include offensive lineman David Quessenberry, a 2012 Burlsworth Trophy finalist, wide receiver, current graduate assistant and school-record setting wide receiver Chandler Jones, wide receiver Tim Crawley, and All-America punter Michael Carrizosa.

Ten semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 12 and three finalists will be named on Nov. 19.

The Brandon Burlsworth Foundation, in conjunction with Springdale Rotary Club, will host an awards ceremony on Dec. 9, 2019 in Springdale, Ark. to honor the three finalists and to announce the 2019 winner.

The Burlsworth Trophy is one of 25 nationally-recognized annual football awards recognized by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA).

SJSU Spartans podcast with Ana Kieu: A much-improved SJSU team vs. Boise State; plus more

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

On the SJSU Spartans podcast with Ana:

1. Football: SJSU lost to Boise State 52-42, but it was a very competitive game.

2. Football: SJSU takes on Hawaii on Saturday, November 9.

3. Men’s soccer: SJSU showed grit in Texas.

4. Women’s soccer: SJSU beat Fresno State 2-1 for a trip to the Mountain West Tournament.

5. Women’s basketball: SJSU began the regular season at UC Irvine.

Ana’s Final Thoughts.

Listen to Ana on the SJSU Spartans podcast each week at http://www.sjsuspartans.com

SJSU MBB opens season with 79-71 win over Hofstra in Long Island

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

It took just one game of the 2019-20 season for San Jose State men’s basketball head coach Jean Prioleau to pick up his signature win of his Spartan career. SJSU defeated Hofstra, an 18-point favorite coming off a 27-win season, 79-71, inside the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.

The win was the Spartans’ first road victory since 2017 and first win on the East Coast since 2001.

“I’m really proud of our guys, those guys stuck together,” Prioleau said. “It’s been a long journey. The guys battled. We were actually down and made some substitutions to get right back in the game. I think we have something special. We shot 47 percent for the game and 30 percent from three-point range. We outrebounded them 47-33, which is unbelievable. We beat a team that won 27 games last year on their home court. That says a lot, that’s going to send a shockwave around the nation.”

Trailing 69-67 with 3:32 to play, Richard Washington knocked down the first of three consecutive three-point baskets to put the Spartans in control of the game. SJSU finished the game on a 12-2 run to close it out.

Washington, a transfer from Tallahassee Community College, shined in his SJSU debut, scoring a game-high 23 points to go with seven rebounds. He was one of four Spartans to score in double figures. Craig LeCesne tacked on a career-high 19 points and 11 boards for his first double-double of the season. Seneca Knight (13) and Brae Ivey (10) also broke the double-digit plateau in the win.

After an even first half that finished with Hofstra holding a 35-34 lead, the teams continued to exchange blows through the first 10 minutes of the second half. Neither team found much success from the three-point range for the first 30 minutes until Hofstra’s Tareq Coburn rattled off back-to-back treys to give the Pride a 53-48 lead with 10:14 to play. Hofstra extended their lead to as much as eight at the 7:07 mark before a Ivey’s clutch 3-ball stopped the bleeding.

Knight followed with a fast break layup and Washington nailed a jump shot to give the Spartans a 65-63 lead with 4:36 to play. Washington then hit clutch shot after clutch shot to shut the door on the Pride. Washington scored 12 of his 23 points in the final four minutes.

“It was an exciting game,” Washington said. “We knew coming in what they were. We just had to stay composed. We knew they were going to go on runs. They had one late in the game where they went up by like eight or nine. I just told the guys that we didn’t need to panic and stay composed. We were right there. This is what we do and what we love. We got it done.”

With the win over Hofstra (0-1), SJSU (1-0) received a major boost of momentum. The Spartans head back to San Jose to host their home opener against the Portland Pilots on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Provident Credit Union Event Center.

SJSU MBB opens season Wednesday at Hofstra

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

San Jose State men’s basketball head coach Jean Prioleau is now in his third year (and will likely face pressure if his team doesn’t get the ball rolling in year three) and his team will take on the Hofstra Pride on Long Island Wednesday at 4 pm PT.

Here’s what you need to know about the SJSU-Hofstra matchup.

SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (4-27, 1-17 Mountain West)
PPG: 65.9 | FG%: 40.4 | 3FG%: 32.8 | FT%: 65.5

NOTES: SJSU will look to improve from its 2018-19 campaign with a mix of return talent and skilled newcomers. The Spartans return PG Brae Ivey to help in the rebuild. Ivey averaged 9.2 points and tallied a team-high 102 assists. F Seneca Knight (17 starts), F Craig Lecesne (15) and G Zach Chappell (15) are all back after starting multiple games. Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau welcomes five newcomers, including former Wake Forest players Richard Washington and Samuel Japhet-Mathias.

HOFSTRA PRIDE (27-8, 15-3 Colonial)
PPG: 83.4 | FG%: 48.6 | 3FG%: 38.5 | FT%: 80.2

SERIES: First Meeting

LAST: N/A

NOTES: Hofstra was invited to the NIT last season after falling in the CAA Tournament championship game, 82-74, to Northeastern. The Pride’s leading returning scorer is senior guard Eli Pemberton, who averaged 15.0 points plus 4.8 rebounds per game. Head coach Joe Mihalich is in his seventh season and will be coaching his 200th game for the Pride on Wednesday.

BROADCAST INFORMATION
TV: None

STREAM: FloHoops will stream the game at Hofstra. The feed costs $7.99 through FloSports.TV.

RADIO: Justin Allegri on the call through TuneIn.com and the TuneIn app. Search “San Jose St. Basketball” on TuneIn.

HOFSTRA SERIES HISTORY
This is the first meeting between the Spartans and Pride.

SAN JOSE STATE TV SCHEDULE
SJSU will play 10 games on TV this season, including three at home.

SJSU hosts an ESPN networks game this year for the first time since 2010-11, when either ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry the SJSU tip against Utah State on December 4. SJSU will also be on ESPN2 or ESPNU when visiting Utah State on Feb. 26.

SJSU will have four non-conference games on TV, all against Pac-12 competition. The Spartans will be on CBS Sports Network when hosting Stanford at the Provident Credit Union Event Center on Dec. 14. SJSU will battle both UCLA and Arizona on Pac-12 Networks and meet Oregon State on FS1 for a neutral site matchup in Las Vegas.

SJSU will also have four Mountain West contests on AT&T SportsNet this season — Jan. 15 at UNLV, Jan. 21 at New Mexico, Feb. 8 at Nevada and Feb. 29 vs. UNLV.

A LOT OF STARTING EXPERIENCE BACK
The Spartans return seven players who started at least one game a season ago.

Seneca Knight is the most experienced, as the sophomore started 17 games, including the final 12, of his rookie season.

Brae Ivey was just behind Knight, as the former junior college transfer started 16 games last season in his first year at SJSU.

Craig Lecesne and Zach Chappell both started 15 games last year.

Christian Anigwe, Isaiah Nichols and Trey Smith each started one game.

SIX NEW FACES
Spartans head coach Jean Prioleau will have the help of six newcomers on the roster in 2019-20.

SJSU has three new junior college transfers in Richard Washington (Tallahassee CC), Eduardo Lane (Marshalltown CC) and Ralph Agee (East LA College). Washington started his collegiate career at Wake Forest, where he played eight games as a freshman before an injury caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season.

Another Wake Forest transfer will join the Spartans on the floor this season, as center Samuel Japhet-Mathias will be eligible after a redshirt season last year. The former four-star recruit appeared in 17 games off the bench at Wake Forest as a freshman in 2016-17. He posted six points and four rebounds at No. 17 Xavier.

Prioleau added two freshmen this season in guard Omari Moore and walk-on center Harminder Dhaliwal.

NCAA RULES CHANGES
The most notable rule change for the 2019-20 season is the extension of the three-point line. The new distance will match the three-point line used in FIBA games. The new line is 22 feet and 1.75 inches from the center of the basket, just over 16 inches further back from the previous three-point line.

Another major change is the shot clock will now reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound, rather than the full 30.

A smaller change is head coaches will be able to call live-ball timeouts in the final two minutes of both the first and second halves, plus the final two minutes of overtime periods.

THE EVENT CENTER GETS A NEW NAME
SJSU’s on-campus arena has a new name starting with the 2019-20 season. Provident Credit Union has signed on as the naming rights partner, making it the Provident Credit Union Event Center. The deal is for $8.1 million over 20 years, with the majority of the annual payments scheduled for maintenance and renovation of the 30-year old facility. The president and CEO of Provident Credit Union is Jim Ernest, a SJSU alum.

San Jose State travels to Hawaii for Saturday night football game

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State football shocked the general public with a narrow win over Army and a competitive game against #21 Boise State. So what’s next for the Spartans? The 4-5 team heads to the Aloha state to take on Hawaii on Saturday night.

Fun fact: Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich is from Daly City, Calif. Rolovich attended Marin Catholic High School (Kentfield, Calif.), where he won varsity letters in football and baseball; City College of San Francisco, where he led the Rams to a national championship in 1999; and University of Hawaii, where he served as a two-year letterman and replaced starter and future all-time NCAA career passing leader Timmy Chang in 2001. The 40-year-old was named one of two MVPs from the 2002 Hula Bowl.

Anyhow, here’s what you need to know before Saturday’s game.

Game #10
San Jose State vs. Hawaii
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Saturday, November 9, 2019, 6:00 p.m. HT
Spectrum Sports/Facebook Live

San Jose State record
4-5, 1-4 Mountain West. Most recently, San Jose State lost to Boise State, 52-42, in a Mountain West game.

Hawaii record
5-4, 2-3 Mountain West. Hawaii lost to Fresno State 41-38, in a conference contest.

Radio
KKSF (910 AM, Oakland), RealTalk 910, is the new flagship radio station for San Jose State Spartans football. Justin Allegri calls the play-by-play. Kevin Richardson provides commentary. The Hawaii broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. PT with a pregame show.

Network affiliates are KION (1460 AM/101.1 FM, Salinas), KFIV (1360 AM, Modesto), KWSX (1280 AM, Stockton).

Television
Spectrum Sports and Facebook will provide broadcast coverage. Robert Kekaula calls the play-by-play. Rich Miano provides commentary. Scott Robbs is the sideline reporter. Broadcast coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. PT.

Series history
Hawaii leads the series, 21-19-1 with one cancellation in 1941. The Rainbow Warriors have won the last three games between these teams including last year’s 44-41 game that lasted five overtimes and is the longest contest based on number of overtime periods for both schools. San Jose State’s last win in the series was a 42-23 victory in 2015 at Aloha Stadium.

Playing for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy
Though San Jose State and Hawaii have faced each other in football since 1936, this year’s game marks the first time the two schools are playing for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy, named after the late head coach of each team during a 29-year NCAA Division I head coaching career. He passed away on May 10, 2019 in Tucson at age 80.

Tomey’s head coaching record was 183-145-7. His first head coaching position was at Hawaii where his teams from 1977 through 1986 compiled a 63-46-3 win-loss record in 10 seasons. He departed Hawaii for the University of Arizona where his Wildcat teams had a 95-64-4 win-loss record from 1987 through 2000. His third and final head coaching position was at San Jose State during the 2005 through 2009 seasons. The Spartans were 25-35 in those five seasons.

Tomey was the winningest head coach in Hawaii football history at the time of his departure. When he retired from San Jose State, he had more coaching victories in five seasons than any of his predecessors since 1989.

In the San Jose State-Hawaii series as a head coach, Tomey had a 2-5 win-loss record. The Rainbow Warriors were 1-1 against the Spartans in 1977 and 1978. The Spartans were 1-4 during he 2005 through 2009 seasons winning 20-17 at Aloha Stadium in 2008. He also was an assistant coach at Hawaii when San Jose State posted a 28-27 triumph in the 2011 game in San Jose.

Entering the 2019 season, his 183 victories ranked 41st among all head coaches at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. His 335 games as a head coach ranks 19th among all NCAA Division I FBS head coaches.

Another .500 mark, maybe?
San Jose State can be at the .500 mark for the fifth time this season with a win at Hawaii on November 9. The Spartans missed out on going one game over .500 for the fourth time this season in a 52-42 loss to Boise State. San Jose State was 1-0 after defeating Northern Colorado in the season opener, 2-1, following a win at Arkansas and 3-2 after topping New Mexico in a home game at CEFCU Stadium.

Can there be three road wins?
San Jose State can pick up its third road win this season at Hawaii. Earlier this season, the Spartans won on the road at Arkansas (31-24) in the Central Time Zone and Army (34-29) in the Eastern Time Zone.

The last time San Jose State won three road games in a season was in 2013 when the Spartans were victorious at Hawai’i (37-27), at Colorado State (34-27) in the Mountain Time Zone and at UNLV (34-24) in the Pacific Time Zone.

Points all over the scoreboard
With three regular-season games remaining, San Jose State has scored 269 points in nine games. The current point total is the most by the Spartans in a season since 2016 when San Jose State scored 293 points.

The last time the Spartans scored 300 points in a season was in 2015 when the team won the AutoNation Cure Bowl in a 13-game season scoring 363 points.

30-point games
San Jose State has scored 30 or more points in six of its nine games this season compared to four a year ago. The Spartans are 4-2 in games the team scored 30 or more points this season. The two losses were a 41-38 defeat at Nevada on October 12 and the 52-42 loss to #21-Boise State on November 2.

Two 100-yard receivers
The November 2 Boise State game marked the first time since the October 29, 2016 win over UNLV that two San Jose State players had more than 100 pass receiving yards in the same game. Tre Walker led all players with nine receptions for 193 yards. Bailey Gaither tied a personal single-game best of eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.

In the 2016 UNLV win, wide receivers Tim Crawley caught eight passes for 114 yards and Tre Hartley had five receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

San Jose State comes up just short in 52-42 loss to #21 Boise State

Photo credit: @SanJoseStateFB

By Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose State football left West Point, N.Y. with a win over the Army Black Knights. Fast forward to Saturday night, where the Spartans returned home to the South Bay to host the then #21 Boise State Broncos. The Broncos represented the Mountain Division in the 2018 Mountain West Championship Game in which they lost to the Fresno State Bulldogs.

The Spartans hosted Dick Tomey Night in honor of the late head coach Dick Tomey (1938-2019). Tomey was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2019 and died from complications in May 2019. Tomey coached at San Jose State from 2005-09 and finished his tenure with a 25-35 record at SJSU.

San Jose State got on the board first, thanks to DeJon Packer. Packer ran for a 1-yard touchdown for an early 7-0 lead at 10:58. The Spartans followed up with a Josh Love 4-yard touchdown. Yes, Love ran for his own touchdown. Boise State, however, cut the lead in half with 15 seconds left. The Broncos came up with a huge stop on the third down, the Spartans punted for 49 yards and Avery Williams returned it for a 66-yard touchdown. The Spartans led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

San Jose State and Boise State exchanged scores in the second quarter. Matt Mercurio hit a 35-yard field goal to put the Spartans ahead 17-7 at 12:01. George Holani ran for a 1-yard touchdown to bring the Broncos within three with 7:58 left. Josh Love threw a pass to Isaiah Hamilton for a 16-yard touchdown and a 10-point lead with 1:13 left. Eric Sachse hit a 30-yard field goal to bring the Broncos within seven with 24 seconds left. The Spartans took a 24-17 lead to the locker room at the halftime break.

The exhilarating action ensued in the third quarter. San Jose State made the first score, once again. Matt Mercurio hit a 35-yard field goal to put the Spartans up by 10 at 10:27. Boise State scored two touchdowns to take a 31-27 lead. George Holani ran for a 6-yard touchdown to bring the Broncos within three with 9:13 left. Chase Cord ran for a 8-yard touchdown to put the Broncos ahead by four with 3:28 left. DeJon Packer ran for a 3-yard touchdown to put the Spartans up by three with 53 seconds left. The Spartans led 34-31 after three.

The fourth quarter was a thriller, but unfortunately, it was close, but it was “close, but no cigar” for the Spartans. George Holani ran for a 6-yard touchdown — his fourth rushing touchdown of the game — to put the Broncos ahead 38-34 at 11:31. Andrew Van Buren ran for a 32-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up by 11 with 6:24 left. Josh Love threw a pass to Bailey Gaither for a 9-yard touchdown and the Spartans’ two-point conversion was good, which brought them within three with 3:56 left.

However, the 3:56 turned out to be meaningless after Benton Wickersham intercepted a Josh Love pass with 1:25 left to seal the deal for the Broncos. The Spartans were competitive, but fell short in a 52-42 loss.

San Jose State fell to 4-5, 1-4 Mountain West. Boise State improved to 7-1, 4-0 Mountain West.

The Spartans head to Aloha Stadium to face the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m. PST.

SJSU Spartans podcast with Ana Kieu: SJSU barely beats Army, preps for #21 Boise State; plus more

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

On the SJSU Spartans podcast with Ana:

1. SJSU football beat Army 34-29 at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y.

2. SJSU football will return home to host #21 Boise State this Saturday.

3. SJSU men’s soccer returned to SJ for final home matches against Utah Valley and Air Force.

4. SJSU women’s soccer unable to secure a spot in the 2019 Mountain West Tournament.

5. SJSU men’s water polo goalkeeper Yahav Fire was named the Golden Coast Conference men’s water polo “Player of the Week” for matches played from October 18-20.

Ana’s Final Thoughts

Ana does the SJSU Spartans podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

SJSU’s Gaither is back and as fast as ever

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

Bailey Gaither is fast.

Gaither runs fast. Gaither talks fast. One cut, one wiggle and Gaither’s a blur down the field.

The slow slog of injury rehab, however, made the senior wide receiver appreciate that speed even more.

Last year as a junior, Gaither was off to a quick start, with six catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns against UC Davis. He had two more catches against Washington State and grabbed six balls for 90 yards at Oregon. In the Mountain West opener against Hawaii, Gaither had already made a 42-yard catch in the first quarter. Then, in the second quarter, the Paso Robles, Calif., native took a Josh Love pass 55 yards to the house for a touchdown. It was his last play of the season.

“I was running and a guy clipped the back of my foot and I landed funny,” Gaither said. “I had to hop in to the endzone. That was that.”

Gaither tore his Achilles tendon on the play. Just as he was starting to take off as the Spartans’ go-to deep threat, Gaither faced surgery and a long rehabilitation process.

Almost every day for seven months, Gaither got up in the morning and headed to the training room in the Simpkins Stadium Center. He’d do exercises to strengthen his repaired Achilles. Exercises to get the range of motion and flexibility back. It was a lot of heat and ice and work.

With all that, Gaither still thinks the mental part of rehab was the most difficult.

“Trusting myself, telling myself that I’m going to be okay, that I’ll get through it,” Gaither said. “Dealing with myself mentally.”

The mental side of rehab for Gaither included dealing with the false alarms. A string of good days would be spoiled by a painful morning. But that’s all part of the process.

“It’s such a tedious injury,” Gaither said. “It’s hard to tell people that you feel better one day and then worse the next. I didn’t like having to tell people that I was hurting, I wanted to be better. But I needed to be honest with myself. You push it one day and the next day it hurts. Sometimes if you went too easy it would hurt the next day. Rehab is a jagged line, it’s not smooth.”

Eventually, the ins and outs of rehab started to level out. Seven months after surgery, Gaither was able to do the thing he does so well. Run.

Gaither wasn’t able to cut yet, but the straight-line speed that has made him a weapon for the Spartans was still there. He could still get up and go.

“That was definitely the worst injury I’ve had in my life,” Gaither said. “I had my family supporting me through it and all my close friends. The rehab was tough, but it made me stronger.”

Gaither’s family includes his mom, dad and younger brother. Growing up, Gaither used his speed to become a multi-sport star at Paso Robles High School. The 6’1″ wide receiver racked up 3,277 yards receiving and 41 touchdowns over three varsity seasons. He was also the San Luis Obispo Country Player of the Year as a shortstop, hitting .500 his junior year with 32 stolen bases. With colleges calling with offers for both sports, Gaither decided to follow his friend and high school football teammate, Josh Oliver, to San Jose State.

After a redshirt season and limited playing time as a freshman and sophomore, Gaither was enjoying his breakout junior year until going down against Hawaii. The adversity has made his standout senior season even sweeter.

Heading into Saturday’s showdown against No. 21 Boise State, Gaither has been on the receiving end of 27 passes from fellow fifth-year senior quarterback Josh Love for 491 yards and four touchdowns. Love has experienced his own sets of ups and downs during his career, something the pair has bonded over.

“Me and Josh have been friends through this whole process,” Gaither said. “Both a little overlooked when we first got here. Not really in the picture. Kudos to him, he worked really hard for this. He deserves this. A bunch of different coaches and staffs, we’ve been through it all together. New beginnings have been good to us.”

Throughout Gaither’s rehab process, one goal he had was to get back to where he left off. Not only figuratively — starting a season strong and becoming a go-to target — but literally as well. He wanted to get back into the endzone, the place where we was helped off the field a year earlier.

It took a little while, until the Spartans’ fifth game of the season. Against New Mexico on October 4, Gaither showed off his trademark speed with an 80-yard touchdown bomb from Love. Crossing the goal line, Gaither couldn’t help but soak in the moment.

“It just felt so good,” Gaither said. “It felt so good, like this is where I’m supposed to be.”

Back to blazing down the field. Back in the end zone. It took a long time to get back to that place, but Gaither has made quick work of reclaiming his role as the Spartans’ deep threat.

San Jose State prepares to host #21 Boise State this Saturday

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By Ana Kieu

SAN JOSE, Calif. — After a horrendous win to Army last year, San Jose State bounced back with a 34-29 victory over the Black Knights this year. So what happens next? The Spartans will watch the tape and prepare for their next opponent, Boise State, this Saturday. The Broncos are currently ranked #21 in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Here’s what you need to know before Saturday’s game.

Game #9
San Jose State vs. #21 Boise State
CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, Calif.
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m. PT
CBS Sports Network

SJSU record
4-4, 1-3 Mountain West. Most recently, San Jose ended a two-game losing streak with a 34-29 win at Army West Point.

#21 Boise State record
6-1, 3-0 Mountain West. Boise State lost their first game of the season to BYU, 28-25, on October 19. The Broncos had a bye the week ending October 26.

Radio coverage
KKSF (910 AM, Oakland), RealTalk 910, is the new flagship radio station for San Jose State Spartans football. Justin Allegri calls the play-by-play. Kevin Richardson provides commentary. The Boise State broadcast begins at 7:00 p.m. PT with a pregame show.

Network affiliates are KION (1460 AM/101.1 FM, Salinas), KFIV (1360 AM, Modesto), KWSX (1280 AM, Stockton).

KSJS (90.5FM, San Jose) also will carry a play-by-play broadcast of the San Jose State vs. Boise State football game. Air time is 7:15 p.m. PT with a pregame show.

Television
CBS Sports Network will provide broadcast coverage. Carter Blackburn calls the play-by-play. Aaron Taylor provides commentary. Jenny Dell is the sideline reporter. The CBS Sports Network presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Series history
Boise State leads the series, 13-0. The teams are meeting for the first time since the 2016 season when the Broncos won, 45-31, in Boise. Saturday’s game will be the seventh time the teams have played in CEFCU Stadium.

Of the 13 meetings, the 2004 and 2006 games in San Jose were the closest. In 2004, Boise State pulled out a 56-49 double overtime win. Both teams scored a touchdown in the first overtime. In 2006, Anthony Montgomery kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the game for a 23-20 Boise State win.

.500 again in 2019
For the fourth time this season, San Jose State’s at the .500 plateau with a 4-4 win-loss record. The Spartans have been above .500 three times and below .500 once.

Playing ranked teams the first weekend in November
Two of the biggest wins in San Jose State football history occurred on the first full weekend in November. The Spartans are 2-5 against nationally-ranked teams the first full weekend in November. Two of the five losses are to Boise State.

November 4, 2000 at San Jose State 27, #9/#9 TCU 24

November 1, 1980 San Jose State 30 at #10/#11 Baylor 22

Next opportunity for a winning streak
San Jose State has its 17th opportunity since the 2014 season to have a two-game winning streak when it hosts Boise State. The last Spartan two-game winning streak was a pair of victories hosting UNLV, 33-10, on October 4, and at Wyoming, 27-20, in overtime, on October 18, 2014.

2019 season win total matches 2016
The 34-29 win at Army West Point on October 26 gave San Jose State its fourth win of the season matching the win total of the 2016 season with four regular season games remaining. The last time the Spartans won five games in a regular season was in 2015 with a 5-7 record before capturing the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl over Georgia State, 27-16.

Victories in three time zones
For the first time since 2015, San Jose State has victories in three time zones. The Spartans have two home field wins in CEFCU Stadium in the Pacific Time Zone, a 31-24 win over Arkansas in the Central Time Zone, and a 34-29 win at Army West Point in the Eastern Time Zone.

In 2015, the Spartans won regular-season games in the Pacific Time Zone, won at Hawaii, and defeated Georgia State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

The win over Army West Point gave San Jose State three wins in its last four games and 3-7 overall playing in the Eastern Time Zone.

30-point games in 2019
San Jose State has scored 30 or more points in five of its eight games this season compared to four a year ago. The Spartans are 4-1 in games the team scored 30 or more points this season. The one loss was a 41-38 defeat at Nevada on October 12.

Points off of turnovers
After eight games, San Jose State has scored 58 points off of opponent turnovers compared to the opponent’s seven. Seven of the Spartan points came in the win at Army West Point in a 34-29 decision. The first opponent points off a Spartan turnover came in the October 12 Nevada victory on an interception return for a touchdown.

Penalty countdown
In San Jose State’s last three games, the Spartans were assessed nine penalties — five at Nevada, one versus San Diego State, and three at Army West Point. In the first five games, San Jose State was charged with 33 penalties. The Spartans enter the Boise State game ranked 23rd nationally in fewest penalties per game at 5.25 per game.

Finding the quarterback
Despite just 12 quarterback sacks on the season, San Jose State has seven of them in the two most recent games prior to the Boise State contest.

The Spartans had two against San Diego State on October 19 and a season-high five in the win at Army West Point on October 26.

Five possessions lead to five first-half scores
For the first time this season, San Jose State scored every time it was on offense in the first half of a game. Against Army West Point, the Spartans scored two touchdowns and kicked three field goals to build a 23-10 halftime lead.

Adding a two-point play to the scoring column
For the first time since the 2016 season, San Jose State successfully converted a two-point PAT when quarterback Josh Love completed a pass to wide receiver Tre Walker in the October 26 win at Army West Point. The Spartans are 1-for-2 on the season on two-point conversations.