CFB: San Jose State blanked at home
By Laurence Miedema
San Jose Mercury News
By Laurence Miedema
SAN JOSE, Calif. — It figured to be San Jose State's night when a penalty wiped out a Louisiana Tech touchdown on the opening kickoff.
That turned out to be as good as it got for the Spartans, who were shut out at home for the first time in 40 years in a mostly forgettable 21-0 loss Saturday.
The Spartans produced a season-low 148 yards of offense (62 on one play), couldn't slow down the Bulldogs' running game and were inconsistent on special teams.
After the game, Coach Dick Tomey's message to the team was simple:
"He just told us that at certain times, we looked terrible competing as a team," defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert said. "We have to learn from it and stay together as a team. This is a very pivotal time.
"We can have a good season or be dead average."
Tomey said, "The loss hurts our guys a lot. I'm glad about that, because if it hurts, it's not going to repeat itself too often."
The Spartans (6-4, 4-2 Western Athletic Conference) arrived at Spartan Stadium ready to celebrate. They entered the game in sole possession of second place in the WAC race and poised to all but clinch their second bowl berth in 18 years.
It didn't take long for everything to fall apart, and it could have been worse. Louisiana Tech (5-4, 3-2), which is now also in the thick of the crowded WAC bowl hunt, missed two field-goal attempts and had two special-teams touchdowns called back because of penalties.
After getting what Gilbert called "a blessing" when Bulldogs returner Philip Rivas' 95-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff was wiped out, the Spartans couldn't capitalize.
The offense, which appeared to right itself the previous week at Idaho, again fell flat, and many in the season-low announced crowd of 16,170 let the unit know it with intermittent showers of boos.
Myles Eden made his second straight start but was back on the bench by early in the second quarter. After serving as an injury replacement for Kyle Reed and slicing up Idaho with a 23-for-31, 295-yard performance, Eden completed just 3 of 8 attempts for 11 yards against the Bulldogs and was intercepted twice before being replaced by Reed.
The interceptions came on successive series and set up the Bulldogs' first two scores. The first, deep in SJSU territory, was followed by a 21-yard touchdown run and barely a minute later Eden's sideline pass was intercepted and returned 50 yards to make it 14-0.
Louisiana Tech, which had been 0-4 and outscored 105-24 on the road this season, was efficient on offense and rushed for 217 yards. But SJSU's defense kept things close as long as it could.
The Spartans appeared on the verge of a breakthrough in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter when Reed, after misfiring on six of his first seven attempts, hooked up on a 62-yard catch-and-run to David Richmond to the Louisiana Tech 7.
But instead of getting back into the game, the Spartans' hopes were dashed when they turned the ball over on downs on a drive that netted negative 9 yards and saw a potential touchdown pass slip through Richmond's hands in the back of the end zone.
"That made a huge difference," Tomey said. "We had a window of opportunity, and we just couldn't get it done."
Louisiana Tech sealed the victory on the subsequent drive by converting a fourth-down play into a 43-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter.
"We just have to pick up the pieces and go back to work," Tomey said.