Photo credit: @SanJoseStateFB
By Ana Kieu
SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the San Jose State football team, Saturday night was a little bit more about celebrating 18 seniors on Senior Night. Those seniors were Chandler Hawkins, Zamore Zigler, Sailosi Latu, Jesse Osuna, Brandon Ezell, Josh Love, DeJon Packer, Ethan Aguayo, Christian Webb, Lionell Wiggins, Korey Mariboho, Deano Motes, Troy Kowalski, Bailey Gaither, Brett Foley, Duane Tuatasi, Alex Galland, and Quinn Oseland.
With that said, SJSU had their game faces on when the Fresno State Bulldogs were in town. Senior quarterback Josh Love and the Spartan offense opened the game with the ball. But the Bulldogs struck first as senior quarterback Jorge Reyna threw a 38-yard pass to tight end Jared Rice, who ran for the opening touchdown, and Cesar Silva kicked in the extra point. It was 7-0 Bulldogs with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
Fresno State made it a 14-0 game just 2:41 later. Ronnie Rivers rushed for a 5-yard rushing touchdown and Silva kicked in the extra point.
Junior center Kyle Hoppe suffered an injury and didn’t return. However, SJSU got on the board first as Matt Mercurio kicked a 22-yard field goal to reduce the deficit to 14-3 with 1:13 left in the first. The Bulldogs led 14-3 at the end of the first.
The second quarter looked better for the Spartans. Jay Lenard snagged an interception–his second interception of the season–for the first turnover of the game late in the second.
Just minutes after Cade Hall showed some moves with the strip sack, Justin Rice kicked a 10-yard field goal to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to 16-3 with 5:27 left in the second. The Bulldogs led 16-3 at halftime.
SJSU pulled within six to cut the deficit to 16-10 with 9:43 left in the third quarter. Love rushed for a 2-yard rushing touchdown and Mercurio kicked in the extra point. The Spartans continued to trail 16-10 after the third.
DeJon Packer saved the night for the Spartans. Packer rushed for a 10-yard rushing touchdown to put the Spartans up 17-16 with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter. Packer’s touchdown was all the Spartans needed to beat Fresno State 17-16 and keep the Valley Trophy for the first time since 2016.
With the win, SJSU finished the regular season 5-7, 2-6 Mountain West. Fresno State wrapped up the season 4-8, 2-6 Mountain West.
Follow me on Twitter @AnaKieu for San Jose State football offseason updates.