Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB
By: Ana Kieu
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — If you’re a San Jose State football fan, chances are you’ve heard the term “revenue games.” SJSU, a FBS and Mountain West school, has relied on such games to fund its athletic departments. Saturday’s non-conference matchup was another example as the Spartans took on the Black Knights at Levi’s Stadium in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Sure, SJSU fans and media members were fired up for this game. After all, it was held in Levi’s Stadium–one of the best, high-end stadiums in the country–and the food has never skimped on flavor! But the Spartans were unable to achieve their goal of defeating the Black Knights.
The Spartans decided to start Montel Aaron as their starting quarterback.
The Spartans got on the board first as Bryce Crawford kicked in a 49-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 4:14 left in the opening quarter. SJSU led Army 3-0 at the end of the quarter.
The Black Knights immediately responded with a 41-yard passing touchdown from Jordan Asberry. Jordan Abercrombie kicked in the extra point for a 7-3 lead just seven seconds into the second quarter. The Black Knights struck with a late touchdown–a 1-yard rushing touchdown from Kelvin Hopkins, Jr.–and another extra point kick from Abercrombie with 12 seconds left in the quarter. Army carried a 14-3 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The Black Knights got off to a good start to open the second half. Hopkins, Jr. notched his second touchdown of the game–a 24-yard rushing touchdown–and Abercrombie kicked in the extra point for a 21-3 lead with 9:06 left in the third quarter.
Turnovers, however, affected the Spartans like in previous games. SJSU’s first turnover of the game led to an Army scoring drive. At the time, the Black Knights were unable to add a touchdown, but they settled for a 33-yard field goal from Abercrombie, who added to the scoreboard 24-3 with 7:39 left in the quarter.
But the Black Knights weren’t done yet. Darnell Woolfolk bowled into the end zone for a one-yard rushing touchdown and Abercrombie kicked in the extra point to expand Army’s lead 31-3 with 6:18 left in the quarter.
Hopkins, Jr. scored what appeared to be his third rushing touchdown of the game–a four-yard rushing touchdown–but the play underwent a review. After further review, the ruling on the touchdown stood and Abercrombie kicked in the extra point to enlarge the lead 38-3 with 1:44 left in the quarter.
Following the Army touchdown, Aaron returned to the field and replaced Michael Carrillo. Aaron completed a pass to Thai Cottrell for seven yards to the SJSU 39 for a Spartan first down and then completed another pass to Tre Walker for nine yards to the SJSU 32. The Black Knights led 38-3 at the end of the quarter.
The Spartans committed another turnover that led to a Black Knights touchdown–a 52-yard fumble touchdown from James Nachtigal–and a PAT kick from Abercrombie, who made it 45-3 just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Spartans opened the scoring, but the Black Knights took the lead and never looked back. Army defeated SJSU 52-3 and it wasn’t even close.
“I thought the personal foul at the end of the game was embarrassing and awful and wrong,” head coach Brent Brennan said. “I’ve already addressed it with the team as there’s no place for that.”
“This was a total gut punch for our program, Brennan added. “I thought we were making great progress and I was actually encouraged about our practices and what it shows is that we’re not ready to make the next move.”
Aside from Brennan, the Spartan players had other thoughts on this game.
“We’re ready to move on,” defensive lineman Bryson Bridges said. “We played to the best of our abilities.”
When asked about pursuing the next level, cornerback Dakari Monroe responded, “Yes. Definitely. Since I came here, I’ve always wanted to play at the next level. I definitely want to pursue that.”
Last but not least, running back Tyler Nevens closed out the postgame press conference. Nevens reflected on his injury, asserting the media members, “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling more comfortable. My injury took me a lot of time to heal and get back to being the football player that I am. I showed them what I got.”
The Spartans’ possible starters were JaQuan Blackwell, Jackson Snyder, Troy Kowalski, Trevor Robbins, Jake Colman, Deano Motes, Josh Oliver, Josh Love, Tyler Nevens, Thai Cottrell and Tre Hartley on offense and Bryson Bridges, Boogie Roberts, Sailosi Latu, Jesse Osuna, Kyle Harmon, Ethan Aguayo, Jamal Scott, Dakar Monroe, John Touissaint, Tre Webb and Jonathan Lenard, Jr. on defense.
The Spartans will travel to Qualcomm Stadium to take on the San Diego State Aztecs next Saturday at 7:30 pm PT on CBSS.