The San Jose State football team became an unwitting participant in a national television broadcast last Saturday when an analyst began talking about how good the Texas defensive effort was that day.
After all, as was pointed out, the team Texas was stopping — USC — wasn’t anything like San Jose State.
The Spartans became full participants later that night in a 54-16 blowout loss to Utah.
Despite the negative perceptions about San Jose State on that day, Utah State coach Matt Wells won’t be taking the Spartans lightly.
The Aggies, on the heels of a lopsided road loss themselves, will go to San Jose to begin Mountain West Conference play Saturday.
“This is a team that plays hard and they’ve had a tough schedule, just like we have had at the beginning,” Wells said. “They have got some guys banged up, just like we have got some guys banged up.
“I know a bunch of guys on that staff, and they will be ready to play, and they will play hard.”
Utah State’s result last weekend at Wake Forest was hardly much better than San Jose’s. The Aggies fell into a 14-0 hole less than four minutes into the game, and the Demon Deacons coasted to a 46-10 romp over the visitors.
But the trip to the Bay Area provides Utah State an opportunity to refocus.
“We are very excited to go into conference play and leave the first three games behind us and reach our goal of winning a Mountain West championship,” Aggies junior wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver said.
“I’m excited, and I think our team is excited, to put our preseason in the past,” added Gaje Ferguson, who led Utah State defenders with 10 tackles against Wake Forest.
UTAH STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE
CEFCU Stadium, San Jose, Calif.
Kickoff • 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Livestream • Facebook
Radio • 1280 AM
Records • USU 1-2, SJS 1-3
Series history • 38th meeting, San Jose State leads series 20-16-1
About the Aggies • Kent Myers exited the Wake Forest loss with an injury to end a 9-for-23 day passing. … Backup Jordan Love threw for 171 yards against the Demon Deacons. … San Jose has been a league opponent for Utah State in four different conferences: Mountain West, WAC, Big West and PCAA. … Five current players saw action in the last meeting against the Spartans in 2014 with Myers passing for 108 yards and rushing for 92 as a freshman.
About the Spartans • Starting QB Montell Aaron left the Utah game with a first-quarter injury and never returned. … Third-string QB Josh Love eventually settled in as the regular signal-caller for the remainder of the loss to the Utes last week. … Sophomore wide receiver Bailey Gaither has hauled in four touchdown passes this season. … Brent Brennan is in his first year as coach after six seasons as an assistant. … The 2016 season saw San Jose finish 4-8 overall and tie for third place in the MWC West.
San Jose State started its season with a 42-22 loss at nationally ranked South Florida (No. 21 at the time). After beating Cal Poly 34-13 in Week 2, Texas shut out the visiting Spartans 56-0.
The Spartans managed to hang around for a quarter against the Utes in Salt Lake largely by limiting Utah to field goals. But the Utes started ending drives with touchdowns, and the game unraveled for San Jose State.
“Defensively, I like William Ossai. Another linebacker, Frank Ginda, is all over the place, and is a really good linebacker,” Wells said about the Spartans. “He reminds me a lot of Jake Doughty when he played here. He is very active and has got a lot of tackles in four games for them. He’s good, and William does not come off the field.”
Utah State will try to focus on its defense as well. A recurring vision for the Aggies against Wake Forest was of Demon Deacons players shaking one tackle then galloping through open spaces.
Wells expects that his defenders adjust to start conference play.
“When I say running to the football, I am not talking about all 11 players,” Well said. “I’m talking about what I’m used to Utah State doing — and we didn’t play that way. We never flipped the script. We didn’t change it, and we didn’t stop momentum.”