2012 Military - SJSU 29, BGSU 20

Posted Dec 27, 2012

2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 Military

2012 Military Bowl

SJSU 29, Bowling Green 20

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central

- CFN Military Bowl Breakdown & Analysis

National Rankings
85th Total Offense 30th
7th Total Defense 28th
91st Scoring Offense 26th
9th Scoring Defense 25th
66th Rushing Offense 102nd
14th Run Defense 19th
80th Passing Offense 11th
7th Passing Defense 52nd
43rd Turnover Margin 25th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
B   S
3 Quarterbacks 4.5
3.5 RBs 3
2.5 Receivers 4
3.5 O Line 2
4.5 D Line 4.5
4 Linebackers 4
4.5 Secondary 3
3 Spec Teams 4
4 Coaching 2
WASHINGTON (AP) - So what if San Jose State lost its coach before the Military Bowl. David Fales was still the quarterback, and that was plenty.

The dart-throwing junior started strong and finished stronger in the wind and cold at RFK Stadium. Fales, who led the nation in completion percentage during the regular season, completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns Thursday in the No. 24 Spartans' 29-20 win over Bowling Green.

Fales led the drive that set up Austin Lopez's 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining, and De'Leon Eskridge's 1-yard run with 2:34 left provided the insurance. San Jose State (11-2), in the national rankings for the first time since 1975, capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940, a remarkable turnaround for a program that was 1-12 just two years ago in Mike MacIntyre's first season as coach.

But MacIntyre left earlier this month for a bigger payday at Colorado, leaving defensive coordinator Kent Baer in charge for the bowl. Baer was interested in the job full-time, but the school instead hired San Diego's Ron Caragher, who attended the game as an observer.

Bowling Green (8-5) had a similar turnaround, improving from 2-10 in 2010 under coach Dave Clawson. A defense that allowed only 15.8 points per game in the regular season - ninth best among FBS schools - did a decent job against a San Jose State team that was averaging 35.3 points.

But give Fales enough chances, and he'll find a way to put points on the board. He went over the 4,000-yard passing mark for the season, hitting Kyle Nunn for a 33-yard score to give the Spartans a first-quarter lead and finding the stutter-stepping Chandler Jones for an 18-yard reception that put San Jose State back in front, 19-13, in the third quarter.

Bowling Green retook the lead in the fourth quarter with a 68-yard drive, finished off by John Pettigrew's 1-yard run with 10:26 remaining.

But Fales went 7 for 10 on a 68-yard drive that got well within range for Lopez, who had a perfect season - making all 17 of his field goal attempts. The Spartans then forced a turnover that led to Eskridge's clinching touchdown.

Lopez was less fortunate as an emergency punter after Harrison Waid was injured on San Jose State's first punt of the game. Lopez's first punt was blocked, setting up a Bowling Green field goal.

It was the first of two blocked punts in the game. San Jose State's Bene Benwikere got his hand on one in the second half. The ball went out of the end zone for a safety that cut Bowling Green's lead to 13-12.

The Military Bowl was supposed to pit Army against an ACC team, but Army isn't bowl-eligible and the ACC didn't have enough bowl-eligible schools to fulfill its bowl tie-ins. As a result, there was little excitement for the game in the nation's capital. The upper deck of RFK Stadium was virtually empty during the second half of the MAC-WAC matchup, and the attendance was announced as 17,835.

San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4) Dec. 27, 3:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Bowling Green doesn't have a massive fan base and San Jose State fans don't necessarily turn out on a regular basis for home games, much less for dates in Washington D.C., but even though there will be plenty of good seats available, this should be a good bowl in a strength vs. strength game.

This is just the ninth bowl for San Jose State and the second since 1990 – beating New Mexico in the 2006 New Mexico – and while head coach Mike MacIntyre might be gone to Colorado, the team should be able to keep things rolling with defensive coordinator Kent Baer stepping in. However, his one stint as an interim head coach came in the 2004 Insight Bowl against Oregon State after Ty Willingham was fired, and the Irish lost 38-21. Even so, the Spartans will still bring one of the most intense pass rushes of the bowl season while keeping the offense cranked up.

In the final season in the WAC before moving over to the Mountain West, the SJSU came up with their best season since going 10-2 in 1987 with just the second winning season since 2000. The season started out with a tough 20-17 loss to Stanford, which now looks even stronger than it did at the time, and the only other blemish came at home against Utah State. The team rolled against just about everyone else including a nice win over San Jose State and good victories over Louisiana Tech and BYU to close out the regular season. The offense is explosive, the defense is terrorizing, and the talent level is solid thanks to a brilliant rebuilding job done by MacIntyre. Closing out with a fourth bowl win in five tries since 1986 would make this the program's first 11-win season.

Bowling Green has come up with a nice under-the-radar season with the MAC's best defense and an offense that was just decent enough to get by. While the pass rush isn't as strong as San Jose State's, it got the job done throughout the second half of the season as the Falcons shoved their way through an easy slate, with the lone loss since mid-September coming to Kent State.

Losers of its last two bowls including a 43-42 thriller against Idaho in the 2009 Humanitarian, this is the program's ninth bowl appearance all-time going 4-4.

Last year, Toledo beat Air Force 42-41 in an entertaining Military Bowl, formerly called the Eagle Bank Bowl, and this is just the fifth game since Wake Forest kicked things off in 2008 with a 29-19 win over Navy.

Players to Watch: The star pass rushers will be on display, led by San Jose State senior Travis Johnson, a 6-3, 244-pound speedster who led the team with 12 sacks and 19 tackles for loss with 60. A dominant high school pass rusher, it took a little while to figure out what he was doing, and then he started to blow up getting off the ball in a hurry highlighted by a breakout four sack game against Idaho last season and with four against UC Davis to start the season.

Johnson is coming from the outside, while Bowling Green's pass rush comes from the interior with FWAA defensive tackle Chris Jones crashing into the backfield. The 6-1, 295-pounder has a high-octane motor making himself one of the best interior pass rushers in the MAC over the last few years. A consistent all-star performer, he has 28 sacks over the last three years with 12.5 this year with 19 tackles for loss and 41 stops. Quick off the ball and always working, he's great at getting into the backfield and being disruptive.

6-3, 220-pound junior David Fales won a quarterback derby this offseason, and then showed why he was the No. 1 guy finishing third in the nation in passing efficiency throwing for 3,798 yards and 31 touchdowns with just nine picks. The former JUCO transfer originally signed with Nevada, but then left for Monterey Peninsula College completing 62% of his throws for 4,635 yards and 37 scores. He's a bomber who'll press the nation's seventh-best pass defense.

Bowling Green will win if … Matt Schilz gets the passing game going. The junior quarterback came up with a terrific 2011 throwing 28 touchdown passes and passing the 3,000-yard mark with a 400-yard day against Kent State and a 437-yard outing against Wyoming, so he knows how to move an offense, but interceptions have been an issue with 39 in his three years including 12 this season and six in his last two games.

He hasn't been needed as much this year with the emphasis on the defense and ground attack, but he still threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to Kent State and needs to crank up the passing game once again – but without the mistakes – against a Spartan secondary that can be beaten. SJSU gave up 818 yards in the last two games and was torn up by a balanced attack in the loss to Utah State. Bowling Green has to get all the parts working early on, and the pass rush has to get through a leaky Spartan line and get to Fales on a regular basis.

San Jose State will win if … De'Leon Eskridge and the running game complements Fales and the passing attack. The overall numbers are phenomenal for the Falcon run defense, allowing 100 yards just four times all season. However, those were the four losses, getting beaten up by Florida and Virginia Tech and ripped up by Kent State. San Jose State is a passing team with a spotty ground game, but the rushing attack isn't ignored hitting the 200-yard mark in two of the last three games. However, two of the three worst rushing days of the season came in the two losses.

More than anything else, San Jose State has to keep the intensity dialed up from the start. Bowling Green is great at getting into the backfield, but the Spartans truly thrive on making big plays behind the line with a whopping 40 sacks and 85 tackles for loss. The Falcon offensive line has done a nice job in pass protection, but it's going to be under siege.

What Will Happen: Is the Bowling Green defense good enough to keep the highly-efficient San Jose State passing game under wraps? This will be a fired up Falcon defensive front that will control the game from the start, but Schilz and the offense won't come up with the big plays needed. There's no downfield threat, so Keith Smith and the Spartan linebackers will load up against the run to keep Anthon Samuel under wraps. The loss of MacIntyre won't matter too much as San Jose State slips by with a good, sound win.

CFN Prediction: San Jose State 30 … Bowling Green 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) San Jose State -7.5 O/U: 5.5

Military Bowl History
2011 Toledo 42, Air Force 41
2010 Maryland 41, East Carolina 20
2009 UCLA 30, Temple 21
2008 Wake Forest 29, Navy 19