SAN JOSE -- Mike MacIntyre called Saturday's game with BYU "one of the biggest games in the modern history of San Jose State football."
It's safe to say the third-year coach is excited. His Spartans are 8-2, their best mark through 10 games since 1987. They received four votes in The Associated Press poll this week, their first in-season votes in that poll since '87. A win over BYU (6-4) provides the chance to create some buzz on a national scale.
"It's a big game because it's a meaningful game toward the end of November," MacIntyre said. "They are a national big name coming to town. They haven't played here since 1968.
"They're bowl-eligible, we're bowl-eligible. It's two very, very good football teams playing each other on a Saturday night on national television. For a college kid, and a college head football coach, it doesn't really get much better than that."
The 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Spartan Stadium will air on ESPN2. A crowd of more than 20,000 is expected and should include a strong BYU contingent.
The players know this is a chance to make a statement.
"I feel like this game is an opportunity for us to show the nation how far we've come," senior tight end Ryan Otten said. "We want to come out and put together a good game and show that we've come a long way and can compete with the best teams in the country."
David and Peter Tuitupou could tell their Spartans teammates how much attention BYU receives. The brothers
David, a senior defensive end, spent two years at BYU. He redshirted in 2008 and didn't see action in 2009. He played junior college ball for Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, in 2010 before transferring to SJSU.
"I don't know if any of the players understand how much publicity this team gets nationally because of the fan base they have," David said of BYU. "It's going to be a lot of fun to be a part of it."
The Spartans have a solid bowl résumé. They've beaten two bowl-bound teams in San Diego State and Navy. Their only losses are to nationally-ranked Stanford and Western Athletic Conference-leading Utah State.
Still, the perception is that SJSU needs a signature win to generate more attention. This game provides that chance.
"This will kind of boost us up there if we beat a team like BYU," junior quarterback David Fales said. "We can get nationally recognized by people and show what we're doing out here."
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