After hearing that their hopes of a WAC title were likely gone, the San Jose State Spartans put on a show in front a national TV audience at home on Saturday night, defeating BYU by the score of 20-14.
Both teams scored on their opening possessions: David Fales threw a beautiful 51-yard bomb to Noel Grigsby to put the Spartans on the board first, but the Cougars responded with a 79-yard drive finished off by a Jamaal Williams spectacular 16-yard run. However, San Jose States’ extra point attempt was blocked, so BYU led 7-6.
But the Spartans would put take the lead for good when they scored on their next two drives. Fales threw touchdown passes to Chandler Jones late in the first quarter, then found Grigsby again early in the second.
The Spartan defense would hold the score 20-7 in their favor for what seemed like an eternity, until BYU struck on a Riley Nelson 20-yard strike to David Foote to draw the Cougars within a touchdown of taking the lead. Nelson somehow escaped from a near sack, then scrambled find Foote for a miraculous score.
It then became nerve-wracking for the Spartans and their fans, as BYU recovered an onside kick, and had the ball at their own 47-yard line with under three minutes to play.
On fourth-and-8, Nelson found Cody Hoffman for a first down at the Spartans’ 35-yard line. The Cougars worked their way down to the 21-yard line before linebacker Kevin Smith saved the day.
Smith sacked Nelson from the blindside, as Nelson never saw him coming as he dropped back to pass. Even better, Nelson coughed up the football which rolled away and was recovered by Vince Buhagiar, sealing the victory for the Spartans.
Spartans’ quarterback David Fales set a couple of school records tonight, as the San Jose Mercury News describes:
Fales broke his tie with Steve Clarkson for the school’s passing touchdown record on the opening possession. He entered the night with 25 touchdowns on the season and threw three in the first half to pass the mark Clarkson set in 1981. He also broke Mike Perez’s 1987 passing yards record of 3,260.
Fales completed 25 of 34 passes for 305 yards. He now has 3,431 passing yards and 28 touchdowns. His 3,302 yards of total offense is also an SJSU record, breaking Scott Rislov’s 2002 mark.
Up Next: The Spartans will welcome in No.20 Louisiana Tech next Saturday for their final game of the season.