It was an historic season for the San Jose State Spartans, and they topped it off with a victory in the Military Bowl over Bowling Green in Washington D.C.
The Spartans proved today that they could still win without Mike MacIntyre, who took the head coaching position at Colorado at the end of the regular season. MacIntyre led them to a 10-2 record, earning a spot in the BCS rankings at No. 24 for the first time since 1975.
But who needs MacIntyre when you have David Fales, their outstanding junior quarterback who threw for 395 yards on 33/43 pass attempts and two touchdowns? Fales’ prolific passing made up for the Spartans’ -17 in the running game as they defeated Bowling Green 29-20 this afternoon.
Fales got the Spartans on the board early in the first quarter with a beautiful 33-yard pass to Kyle Nunn, who walked into the end zone. The rest of the half consisted of field goals from both sides, and the Spartans led 10-6 at intermission.
Things climaxed rapidly in the third quarter. Fales was sacked and fumbled the ball at his own 28-yard line, which was returned by Bowling Green to the Spartans’ 8-yard line. That set up a rushing touchdown for Anthon Samuel on the very next play to give the Falcons their first lead of the game at 13-10.
But San Jose State would claw their way back in front. Bene Benwikere blocked a Bowling Green punt, and the ball went out the back of the end zone for a safety. Then, the Spartans got the ball back and went to work. Fales completed three consecutive passes to Chandler Jones and Noel Grigsby, setting up an 18-yard touchdown completion to Jones, who used some nice footwork along the sideline to find his way in the end zone. Just like that, the Spartans took a 19-13 lead into the fourth quarter.
Bowling Green scored quickly on their first possession of the fourth. Matt Schilz marched the Falcons down the field, and John Pettigrew did the rest, rushing for 34-yards to set up a first and goal at the one-yard line. Pettigrew finished off the touchdown on the ensuing play to put Bowling Green up by one.
Austin Lopez’s field goal put the Spartans in front 22-20 with under five minutes to play, and the game changed from there. With time running out to re-take the lead, Schilz was sacked by Travis Johnson at his own 24-yard line, and lost the ball in the process. The Spartans’ Keith Smith recovered in a pivotal moment.
De’Leon Eskridge put the cherry on top of the sundae with a one-yard rushing touchdown that put San Jose State up 29-20 with under three minutes remaining. Bowling Green failed to convert on a fourth down play, and the Spartans ran out the clock to seal a victory in the Military Bowl.
It is an amazing accomplishment for a Spartan team that went 1-12 just two season ago. Now, they are an up-and-coming college football program with a fantastic quarterback to lead the way. Despite the loss of MacIntyre, the Spartans have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with and will not let the departure of one coach affect their success.