Photo credit: @SJSUSpartanFB
By Ana Kieu
San Jose State hit the road for the first time this season to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in a nationally televised game on SEC Network.
SJSU started on offense and got on the board first. Fifth-year senior quarterback Josh Love threw a 3-yard pass to JaQuan Blackwell for the first touchdown of the game (and on the first drive). Matt Mecurio kicked in the extra point. It was 7-0 SJSU at 12:44 of the first quarter.
The Spartan defense held the Razorbacks to a 3-and-out on their first possession. Arkansas went for it on 4th and 2 from the 4-yard line and “stuffed” so the Spartans took over on downs with 6:02 left in the first.
With his first reception as a Spartan true freshman, Isaiah Holiness went for 32 yards to the 50-yard line. However, Mercurio’s 46-yard field goal attempt was no good.
After that, Arkansas took over as they scored on a 62-yard pass play to tie the game 7-7 with 1:07 left in the first. Nick Starkel threw a 62-yard pass to Mike Woods for the touchdown. Connor Limpert kicked in the extra point.
Love attempted to hit Isaiah Hamilton on the deep ball, but it was intercepted by Arkansas, who took over at the 34-yard line with 32 seconds left in the first.
The game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first.
SJSU went on a bursting run in the second quarter. Ethan Aguayo recorded his first interception of the season and the Spartans took it back on the first play of the second. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Nick Nash ran for a 15-yard touchdown to help the Spartans regain the lead 14-7 at 14:18 of the second. Mercurio kicked in the extra point.
Mercurio hit a career-long 47-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 17-7 lead with 6:09 left in the second. Love then threw a 26-yard pass to Holiness for the touchdown. Mercurio kicked in the extra point. The Spartans led 24-7 with 1:06 left in the second and carried a 24-7 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Arkansas pulled within 14 on Limpert’s 48-yard field goal with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
SJSU led 24-10 at the end of the third.
Arkansas continued to pull closer. Starkel threw a 30-yard pass to Tyson Morris for the touchdown. Limpert kicked in the extra point. Arkansas, however, still trailed 24-17 at 13:10 of the fourth quarter.
The Spartan defense made a big stop on the third down. As a result, SJSU got the ball back on their own 44 with 9:09 left in the fourth.
The Spartans were concerned for a bit as the Razorbacks tied the game 24-24 with 2:56 left in the fourth. Starkel threw a 8-yard pass to Trey Knox for the touchdown. Limpert kicked in the extra point. But the Spartans came through at the right time when DeJon Packer ran for 19 yards for the final touchdown and Mercurio kicked in the final extra point for a 31-24 lead with 1:13 left in the fourth.
SJSU (2-1) defeated Arkansas (2-2) by a final of 31-24.
SJSU heads to Falcon Stadium to take on the Air Force Falcons on Friday, September 27 at 5 p.m. PT.