The San Jose State Spartans were 7 1/2 point underdogs to the Air Force Falcons in the season opener for SJSU on Saturday night at CEFCU Stadium. But the Spartans played like they were the favorite most of the night.
The San Jose State Spartans defeated Air Force, 17-6, to go to 1-0 overall and in Mountain West play. This was a big win for SJSU. The Spartans are currently the best FBS team in the state of California!
Air Force is a good team and will bounce back from this loss.
The first half ended in a scoreless tie, mainly because the SJSU defense had a phenomenal goal line stand when Air Force had it first and goal from the SJSU one yard line.
It was the first scoreless half in the FBS since Georgia and Kentucky were scoreless for the first 30 minutes in October 19, 2019.
SJSU got the first points of the game on a Nick Starkel touchdown pass to Derrick Deese Jr. with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Later in the third, Air Force fumbled at their own 14 yard line and the Spartans recovered. SJSU capitalized on the turnover and punched it in for another touchdown pass to Deese Jr., who did a great job getting a foot down with 48 seconds left in the quarter.
The Falcons answered quickly, scoring a touchdown with 13:16 left in the game to cut it to 14-6. Air Force kicked the PAT, but a SJSU offsides made them reconsider and go for the two-point conversion. The conversion was called good (successful) on the field, but went to review. After the lengthy review, the call on the field was reversed as quarterback Haaziq Daniels was down just before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line.
SJSU responded with that score by going on a 7:53 drive that resulted in a field goal to extend the Spartan lead to 17-6 and the defense didn’t let Air Force score again.
Nick Starkel had a good Spartan debut, going 22-29 for 226 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Bailey Gaither had eight receptions for 110 yards.
The Spartans struggled to get anything going in the run game, only rushing for 68 yards. Kairee Robinson led SJSU with 31 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
The Spartan defense, who has struggled with the run in years past, weren’t perfect in the run defense but did great job of getting stops when needed against the great Air Force rushing attack.￼ The defense held Air Force to 298 total yards of offense after the Falcons had over 400 total yards in their season opener.
This was San Jose State’s first win to open Mountain West play since they joined the conference in 2013. It was also the first conference opening win for SJSU since 2008.
The win was SJSU’s first win over Air Force since October 25, 1997. It was also the first season opening win at home against a FBS opponent for SJSU since the Spartans defeated New Mexico State, 14-0, in 1984!
San Jose State is scheduled to play on the road next Saturday on Halloween day in Albuquerque against the New Mexico Lobos. Kickoff is set for 6:00 PM (CT) / 4:00 PM (PT). It will be televised on FS1.
The Lobos did have their season opener against Colorado State cancelled today due to COVID-19 issues in the surrounding community.