CFN Military Analysis - SJSU 29, BGSU 20
The CFN instant analysis and reaction to the Military Bowl
San Jose State rallied back for its 11th win of the season with ten points in the final 4:43 marching for an Austin Lopez field goal from 27 yards out to take the lead and putting it away by capitalizing off a turnover with a one-yard De'Leon Eskridge touchdown run. Bowling Green sold out and stopped the run all game long, but it couldn't slow down David Fales who started out the scoring with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Nunn less than five minutes in to the game, and connecting with Chandler Jones from 18 yards out late in the third. The Falcons stayed in the game with two Tyler Tate field goals and short touchdown runs from Anthon Samuel and John Pettigrew, but the offense couldn't answer in the fourth.
San Jose State: The Spartans were held to -15 rushing yards. … SJSU held on to the ball for 10:09 of the foruth quarter. … QB David Fales completed 33-of-43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns. … WR Noel Grigsby caught nine passes for 134 yards. … LB Keith Smith led the game with ten tackles with two broken up passes and a recovered fumble. … DE Travis Johnson made five tackles with a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and a key late forced fumble.
Bowling Green: QB Matt Schilz completed 16-of-35 passes for 159 yards. … WR Chris Gallon caught seven passes for 73 yards. … LB Dwayne Woods made eight tackles with a tackle for loss. … DB Aaron Foster broke up three passes.
The ascent of David Fales is eerily similar to that of former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan. Both transferred from a larger program, used the California junior-college system as a proving ground and took flight in the WAC. Fales finished a remarkable debut season at San Jose State with another winning effort in D.C.
After focusing on Bowling Green DT Chris Jones for much of the Military Bowl, I'm annoyed at myself for not watching him more intently during the regular season. Man, is he explosive and shifty for a 6-1, 293-pounder, a disruptive interior lineman capable of rising north on draft boards heading into April.
Interim coach Kent Baer and the rest of the Spartans staff deserve a ton of credit for keeping the team focused for this game. The architect of San Jose State's resurgence, Mike MacIntyre, is already in Boulder, and Baer and a few other assistants aren't far behind. Yet, you wouldn't know that the Spartans were being led by a bunch of temps the way they performed in the win.
Who knows if the necrotic Falcons could have taken advantage, but the late fourth quarter fumble by San Jose State FB Ina Liaina, originally ruled as down by contact, should have been reversed by the officials. Clearly looked as if the ball was out before his knee hit the grass, which would have given Bowling Green a crack at driving the field for the win.
It was fitting that linemen Travis Johnson and Travis Raciti came up with key plays late in the game for San Jose State. They've been defensive catalysts all year for the Spartans.
New head coach Ron Caragher is walking into an ideal situation at San Jose State, which will be tailor-made for instant success. He inherits a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and will enjoy the myriad benefits of playing in a more respected conference, the Mountain West.
By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek
-- ESPN has created many of these lower-tier bowls because they enhance the bottom line and reliably put a lot of eyeballs in front of television sets. You would think that since ESPN televises 33 of 35 bowls and has spread these bowls over a 23-day period (Dec. 15 through Jan. 7), it can put at least one camera on each goal line and sideline – no, not two cameras per goal line and sideline, but at least one on each. Had ESPN been able to show replay officials at least one more camera angle (if not two) on San Jose State's late fumble near the goal line, the replay officials might have been able to determine that a Bowling Green defender touched the ball when out of bounds in the end zone, making the play in question a touchback. Bowling Green would have had a chance to win the game. Instead, San Jose State gained a nine-point lead just moments later. A lack of camera angles will unavoidably emerge as a problem in a non-televised Sun Belt game or a lower-tier Conference USA game. That's reality. A lack of camera angles should not be an issue in a bowl game… not when you're ESPN. Sadly, though, the lack of camera angles affected the outcome of the Military Bowl. That's a shame for Bowling Green… and for anyone who likes to see a postseason event decided cleanly, on the merits of the competing teams.
-- Yes, the errant non-fumble call on what WAS a fumble did give San Jose State an extra push to the winner's circle. Yet, the Spartans responded well to Bowling Green's surge in the early stages of the fourth quarter. Bowling Green surprised the Spartans with its effort level in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. San Jose State's ability to drive down the field and produce a field goal represented one final moment of magic for a team that maxed out this season.
-- Extra kudos are due to the Spartans for winning despite the absence of their coach during the regular season, new Colorado boss Mike MacIntyre.
-- Bowling Green covered itself in glory, even in defeat. The Falcons stood up to San Jose State's pace and passing prowess. Their rugged style of play offered a delightful contrast in styles, which is why this game came alive in the second half. Anyone who thought that San Jose State's offense would breeze past Bowling Green's defense in this game received a genuine surprise.
-- Flopping punters, those who try to seduce referees into throwing roughing-the-kicker flags, should be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Unfortunately, that penalty is currently not on the books in college football. However, as 2012 gives way to 2013, San Jose State punter Harrison Waid might realize the error of his ways. Waid not only flopped on a first-quarter punt; he berated the on-field official for not throwing a flag. He embarrassed himself and, remarkably, injured himself as well. Let's keep things in perspective: If this is the worst sin Waid commits on earth, he'll wind up living a great life. The point remains, however: Focusing on theater instead of performance – on faking out an official instead of doing your job – is terrible sportsmanship and a terrible way to conduct yourself as an athlete. If college football uses this game to crack down on flopping punters in the 2013 season, the Military Bowl will have contributed much to the improvement of the sport.
By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN
- As good as the MAC did last year during bowl season, it has not carried over to 2012. So far the little league in the Big Ten's footprint is just 1-3 in bowl games with some embarrassing scores earlier with Toledo and Ball State. It just goes to show you how big matchups are as opposed to one conference beating up on another during the bowl season.
- It sure is hard to find games in which a team that goes backwards in total rushing yards comes out on top. That's exactly what San Jose State did today with 23 rushing attempts for -17 yards. Even stranger is the fact turnovers didn't even this unbalanced attack. No, the Spartans simply couldn't run the ball, but somehow got it done solely through the air. Welcome to the zany world of today's college football.
- Speaking of SJSU, the Spartans quietly had a very, very successful season. An overall 11-2 record is nothing to sneeze at, and even the losses are extremely respectable with a three point loss at Stanford in week one, and another loss against a quality Utah State team. There is a reason that Mike MacIntyre has been tapped by Colorado.
- On that note, didn't you get the feeling that BGSU would be able to walk away with a win in this one? With all of the distractions surrounding the coaching change and interim status of Kent Baer, who could blame the team for a less than Spartan effort? It's simply becoming way too difficult to determine what kind of psychological state teams will come into bowl games with as we continue to deal with coaching changes and long layoffs. I cry Uncle!
- Yes the Falcons lost this game, but the program is headed in the right direction. After a disastrous 2010 campaign, Bowling Green made strides in 2011--and now this season-- reaching a bowl game after finishing second in the MAC East. Dave Clawson might be your next MAC head coach to move on to greener pastures if QB Matt Schilz and gang can make another jump forward next year.
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: there's no such thing as too many bowl games. Sure, a WAC vs MAC matchup didn't look sexy on paper, but today's contest was as entertaining as any other postseason game thus far.
As long as San Jose State isn't running reverses.
Yes, David Fales has what it takes to play on Sundays. Today's 395-yard effort against Bowling Green's defense, which ranked seventh nationally against the pass coming into the game, will definitely draw some interest from NFL scouts. It will be interesting to see if he returns for his senior year under new head coach Ron Caragher.
It's only fitting that Travis Johnson came up with a big sack to put the game out of reach. Sure, he only had one sack today, but after finishing seventh in the nation in sacks, he'll get a look as a defensive end or outside linebacker in the pros.
Give the Spartan special teams credit for turning the tide in this contest. Sure, the blocked punt only resulted in a two points, which doesn't seem like a big deal. However, the block also fired up the SJSU offense, which scored on three of its final four drives.
Watch out for Bowling Green next season. Yes, the Falcons only finished 8-5 this year, but they had a chance to pull out a win against both Florida and San Jose State before late turnovers did them in. With Matt Schilz, Anthon Samuel, Jude Adjei-Barimah, and Gabe Martin returning, there's no reason why BG can't compete for the MAC Championship.