Thursday, September 5, 2013

Caragher era with SJSU begins with 24-0 shutout

Caragher era with SJSU begins with 24-0 shutout
By Andy Lopusnak, Bay Area Sports Drive Magazine
August 30, 2013

San Jose State had its most successful season last year and extended its win streak to eight straight shutting out Sacramento State 24-0 Thursday night in its 2013 opener. Last year, SJSU went 11-2, won the Military Bowl and posted its best ranking in the finals rankings (#21 in the AP & USA Today Coaches Polls). SJSU has now won 14 of its last 16 games.

New changes for the Spartans come in 2013 as the school made its debut in the Mountain West Conference after playing 17 years in the Western Athletic Conference (joining former WAC member Utah State). Additionally, Ron Caragher begins his first year as head coach after posting a 44-22 record at the University of San Diego (2012 head coach Mike MacIntyre now holds the same position with the University of Colorado).

Caragher, the 17th head coach in SJSU history, is just the fifth to win his debut. In the past ten years, San Jose State has opened its season at home just four times and has won every one of those games. SJSU opened on the road the previous four seasons with losses against ranked opponents including three of those against schools ranked in the top six.

Last year, the SJSU passing offense was one of the best in the FBS finishing first in completion percentage (71.8%) and sixth overall in passing yards per game (332.7).

QB David Fales completed just 50% of his passes for 225 yards with two touchdown passes against the Hornets. It was his ninth straight game with at least two TD passes. His favorite target was Chandler Jones, who had eight receptions for 130 yards, including a 31-yard TD strike early in the second quarter. Both of Fales’ touchdowns came in the second quarter with the other going to Noel Grigsby with 26 seconds left in the first half. Grigsby finished with four catches for 51 yards. It marked the 35th straight game with at least a catch for the school’s all-time leading receiver, which tied a school record with Jalal Beachman.

San Jose State’s other touchdown came midway through the third quarter when Jason Simpson burst through the line for a 55-yard ground score. His 135 rushing yards were a career high. SJSU’s defense recorded four sacks, two by Eugene Taylor, and intercepted the Hornets twice.

The matchup against Sacramento State was the first despite the two schools being just a two-hour drive apart (127 miles). Though in other sports the two schools were members of the same conference in the past.

San Jose State’s next game is Saturday, September 7 at Stanford. One of SJSU’s two losses last year was against then 21st ranked Stanford when the Spartans fell 20-17 (the game was tied at 17 during the fourth quarter). SJSU’s next home game isn’t until Friday, September 27 against Utah State, which was the Spartans’ other loss last season.

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