College football: San Jose State wins Military Bowl, 29-20
Washington • The best season in the major college football history of San Jose State concluded with a game that showcased how this team reached levels not before seen.
Quarterback David Fales broke records, defensive end Travis Johnson delivered a key sack, and Bene Benwikere made a game-changing play. Those were staples throughout the year, and they helped produce the No. 24 Spartans' 29-20 victory over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl on Thursday before 17,835 at RFK Stadium.
San Jose State's 11 victories are its most since 1940, and the total is unmatched in the school's 63 years of playing at college football's highest level. It comes just two years removed from a 1-12 campaign.
"We've been through so much adversity the last couple of years," Johnson said. "Being able to get this last win, I call it the cherry on top. It was that finisher to make it the most memorable, incredible season we're going to have."
With interim coach Kent Baer leading the charge after Mike MacIntyre departed for Colorado, the Spartans (11-2) refused to miss a beat. They focused on an opportunity to make history and did so as MacIntyre watched with pride at home on television.
"To win 11 games and be considered the greatest team ever in San Jose State history is basically the message we talked about," Baer said. "That was our goal, and I couldn't be more proud of them."
Fales was the MVP after throwing for a Military Bowl-record 395 yards. He completed 33 of 43 passes to complete a season in which he set every major single-season school passing record.
"I'm just so excited for the coaching staff and the seniors and the people who put in all that hard work," Fales said.
The Spartans have often talked about the resiliency that allowed them to rise up from the bottom of the college football world. It also was a factor in overcoming obstacles against Bowling Green (8-5).
Harrison Waid, the only player on the roster who had attempted a collegiate punt entering this game, left with complications from pneumonia after punting on San Jose State's opening possession. Freshman place-kicker Austin Lopez filled in, and his first punt was blocked to set up a Falcons field goal.
After that, Lopez was solid.