2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Hawaii at SJSU
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Oct. 14 at San Jose State 28 … Hawaii 27
CFN Analysis: It this the greatest win for San Jose State football in the last 20 years? It’s a big moment for a program that’s been looking for something to hold on to, and more than anything else, this was the moment that the Spartans showed heart. After getting up early and giving away a big lead, they could’ve buckled after Hawaii rallied, but the big play for the blocked kick for a two point conversion and the passing of Matt Faulkner got the job done. Of course, the six turnovers were awful, with Faulkner throwing three picks along with the 366 yards and the one score, and the running game didn’t work well enough, but it was a third win in four games putting a bowl game on the table.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Hawaii lost to an inferior UNLV team after fumbling it away four times, and the six giveaways against San Jose State were disastrous. The defense came up with six takeaways, but for the first time all year, Bryant Moniz had problems throwing three picks after giving away just one all season long. The running of Joey Iosefa continues to be a plus, and Moniz found a groove to get the team back in the game, but this was a tough loss in a winnable road game. Fortunately, New Mexico State and Idaho are up next to turn things back around before dealing with Utah State.
(AP) SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A rare night to cherish for San Jose State began with a bus ride through fan-clogged streets and ended with those same faithful dancing on the field at Spartan Stadium.
Chandler Jones caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Matt Faulkner with 36 seconds remaining, and San Jose State rallied to beat Hawaii 28-27 on Friday night in a wild game with six turnovers by each team.
Fans stormed the field in celebration, and players and coaches dance along with them. A year after winning only once, the Spartans (3-4, 2-1) have reason to dance: They've won three of their last four games and are no longer pushovers in the Western Athletic Conference.
"It was just a magical night for San Jose State," second-year coach Mike MacIntyre said.
The team bus also avoided a crowded highway and took a different path to the game through the streets of San Jose. The crowds of people walking down the roads delayed the bus and had players giddy even before they arrived, ready for a packed stadium that is usually filled with empty seats.
While it wasn't always the prettiest performance, the Spartans were never dull.
Jones also scored a touchdown rushing and returned a fumble for a score on kickoff coverage to help redeem a horrendous second half for the Spartans that included six turnovers. The redshirt sophomore had only one touchdown in his career coming into the game, which came last year at Wisconsin.
"It was kind of like the cycle," Jones said.
Joey Iosefa's 32-yard touchdown run with 11:46 remaining put Hawaii (3-3, 1-1) ahead 27-20. Travis Johnson blocked the extra point and Duke Ihenacho overcame a cramp and returned it for a 2-point conversion before Jones' TD catch capped a wacky night in Silicon Valley.
Matt Faulkner threw for a career-high 366 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in front of a rare national television audience and 24,643, the largest crowd of the season at cozy Spartan Stadium. The student section even piled onto the field when time expired, and several Spartans fans joined in the celebration for a program that hasn't had many big wins in recent memory.
"It's surreal for our team," Faulkner said. "It's what we've desired. It's where we want to get. We got a taste of it. We want more."
The Spartans dropped their first three games of the season in tough matchups at Stanford and UCLA and then at home against Nevada. After wins against New Mexico State and Colorado State gave the program consecutive victories for the first time three years, San Jose State lost to BYU before tripling its win total from last season by beating the Warriors.
While it wasn't the prettiest of wins, the Spartans won't complain.
Besides, each team had a horrific half. The turnover ratio narrowed quickly in the third quarter, when San Jose State had four of the period's five giveaways. Two interceptions thrown by Faulkner led to Hawaii touchdowns.
Jeremiah Ostrowski caught a 19-yard pass and Iosefa ran 2 yards for a score to give the Warriors a 21-20 lead in the third quarter, stunning the home crowd that included Krazy George Henderson, credited for starting "The Wave" cheer 30 years ago this week.
Iosefa scampered for a 32-yard score that was set to give the Warriors a one-touchdown lead. But Johnson blocked the extra-point kick and Ihenacho scooped up the ball and ran for the first 2-point return in San Jose State history, cutting Hawaii's lead to 27-22 early in the fourth.
Faulkner led San Jose State on a six-play, 87-yard drive capped by Jones' TD catch for the go-ahead score. One last lob to the end zone by Hawaii's Bryant Moniz sailed incomplete just short of the goal line as time expired.
"This was an exciting game for the fans but not real exciting for the coaches," Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said.
Hawaii started strong with an 80-yard drive capped by Royce Pollard's 16-yard touchdown catch from Moniz for its first score and a 7-0 lead. And then everything -- on both sides -- imploded.
Several times, actually.
After 152 attempts without throwing an interception, Moniz had two passes in a row picked off.
Peyton Thomas intercepted a pass by Moniz and sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown only to have the score wiped out by a personal foul penalty by Bene Benwikere during the return. James Orth picked off another pass to setup Alvernik's second field goal, giving the Spartans a 13-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the ball was jarred loose from Scott Harding and corralled by Jones in stride for his second touchdown to put San Jose State ahead 20-7.
Hawaii drove quickly down field looking for a score before the break until another turnover ended the drive. Pollard was stripped fighting for more yards at the San Jose State 11, the fifth turnover of the half for the Warriors.
Not that San Jose State minded.
"I think this is a huge win for this program," MacIntyre said. "We're going into November and now October with a real chance to win the conference. Our guys can taste it."
Hawaii (3-2) at San Jose State (2-4) Oct. 14, 9:00, ESPN/ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … This might not exactly be the marquee matchup of the weekend, but Hawaii is always worth the price of admission and San Jose State’s offense is doing just enough to be interesting. It’ll be a good WAC battle that should have plenty of fireworks and has the potential to be as entertaining. SJSU isn’t exactly a regular on national TV, and the offense hasn’t been consistent, but it showed in wins over New Mexico State and Colorado State that things are changing in Mike MacIntyre’s second year. Good enough to keep Nevada to 17 points, and push UCLA a bit on the road, this is a strong enough team to potentially go on a run of wins if it can come up with the big win.
Hawaii has had two weeks off to rest up and travel after blowing away Louisiana Tech in Ruston, and with layups against New Mexico State and Idaho up next, before hosting Utah State, this could be the team’s toughest test until November. The passing game is starting to click again, and the defense led all WAC teams in yards allowed and run defense.
Why Hawaii Might Win: San Jose State doesn’t generate any semblance of a pass rush. The Spartans have just three sacks and 21 tackles for loss on the year, and while the pass defense hasn’t been completely miserable, it hasn’t faced a passing game like this since starting out the season against Andrew Luck and Stanford. The Hawaii offensive line hasn’t been anything special, but QB Bryant Moniz has been able to hold up well and should be able to bomb away if SJSU can’t get to him on a consistent basis. On the other side, Hawaii is bringing the pass rush with a whopping 19 sacks so far including four against Louisiana Tech. However …
Why San Jose State Might Win: The Spartan offensive line has been a strength in pass protection. The downfield passing attack might not be there, and the quarterback play has been inconsistent, but QB Matt Faulkner is getting time and it’s starting to pay off. On the other side, no, SJSU’s pass rush hasn’t shown up yet, but Hawaii gives up sacks by the bucket. If SJSU can get creative and take a few chances that Moniz won’t get the ball out of his hands in a hurry, it should be able to hurry the Warrior offense just enough to force a few mistakes. The Spartan pass defense hasn’t been great, but it’s picked off seven passes in the last four games.
What To Watch Out For: The Warriors needed the time off with a slew of bombs and bruises to get over on the offensive line. Guard Matagisila Lefiti has a knee problem, and Brad Leonard suffered a concussion, and while they’re expected to play, they’re not exactly going to be 100%. Even with the injuries against Louisiana Tech, the ground game still got an explosive day out of freshman running back Joey Iosefa, who ran 16 times for 99 yards. He’s not a regular in the ground attack, but he proved two weeks ago that he’s ready to be used more and more.
San Jose State running back Brandon Rutley is going to try to give it a go after missing last week’s game with an ankle problem. There’s little depth in the backfield with a committee of backs trying to give it a go against BYU. That puts even more pressure on Faulkner, who threw for 255 yards, but didn’t throw a touchdown pass and gave up two key picks.
What Will Happen: The Spartans will come up with a nice defensive effort early on, but Hawaii’s offense will be too explosive in the second half. Moniz will start out slow, but he’ll find his stride in time to lead the offense on a big enough run to keep the Spartans at arm’s length.
CFN Prediction: Hawaii 34 … San Jose State 20
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Hawaii -6 O/U: 55
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