SAN JOSE, Calif. — New Mexico State traveled to face a heavy favorite San Jose State team that looked to right the ship after some uneven performances before this one. San Jose State quarterback Nick Starkel didn’t play in this one after dealing with an arm injury. Sophomore quarterback Nick Nash took his spot in the starting lineup. This game was a lot closer than the experts expected.
With Starkel out of the lineup in this contest, the Spartans needed to lean heavily on running back Tyler Nevens. As Nevens has all season, he came through with a great performance. Nevens had 22 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. Nevens has been the crux of the offense this year, but he hasn’t been receiving as many touches as he should. He got the touches he needed in this one, and it showed in the box score.
Nick Nash did a great job of replacing Starkel in this one. Nash completed 15/18 for 193 yards and three touchdowns. This is an excellent start from someone who has had many first-team reps before this game. Starkel has done a decent job until this point, but his job might be in jeopardy after a stellar performance by the backup quarterback. We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but a change might happen regardless of Starkel’s status going forward.
San Jose’s defense didn’t do a great of defending the passing as Jonah Johnson torched them all night for 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. Johnson also had 24 rushing yards on the game. The Spartans didn’t do a very good job of getting Johnson off his spot, and that’s why he was able to have a great day passing.
Both teams had strong days on third-down as they both converted over 60% of their third-down attempts. San Jose State had a closer than anticipated game because of their inability to get off the field on defense in this contest. Overall, this was a bad showing for the defense versus one of the worst teams in the country.
San Jose State did a good job scoring in this one because they never trailed. A Nevens touchdown in the first quarter gave them a 7-0 lead before Johnson touchdown pass tied the game up in the second quarter. After trading two more touchdown passes, a field goal and touchdown pass gave the Spartans a 24-14 advantage going into halftime.
Two touchdowns in the third made the score 30-21 in favor of San Jose State. San Jose was playing good football, but they could stop New Mexico State from scoring in this contest.
The fourth quarter had San Jose State fans feeling like they might get upset by a lesser team as a five-yard touchdown pass from Johnson brought New Mexico State within two points of tying the game. With the score being 30-28, someone on the Spartans had to make enough plays to seal the victory. Nick Nash delivered a huge play with a one-yard touchdown to Kairee Robinson with less than six minutes left. New Mexico State was never able to recover and was left with a 37-31 defeat at the hands of the San Jose State Spartans.
San Jose played a well-rounded game offensively, but they need to make adjustments on defense if they want to continue winning games later in the season. Nick Nash looked great while replacing Nick Starkel, and this might be a permanent change after his stellar performance.
San Jose State will travel to Canvas Stadium to face Colorado State next Saturday.
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