The news was good and bad for SJSU this weekend.

Good: The Spartans are now one victory from becoming bowl eligible.

Two more (Idaho and New Mexico State, for instance) and they would have, at minimum, a 7-4 record in games that count toward bowl qualification.

Bad: Navy won.

The Middies defeated East Carolina and are also one victory from becoming bowl eligible themselves, with plenty of winnable games down the stretch.

If Navy's eligible, it would head to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (per contractual agreement) and fill what could have been an at-large opening for the Spartans.

So unless they find a way to win the Western Athletic Conference, the Spartans will have to look elsewhere. The farther away the bowl, the tougher the sell they become.

  • Result: Beat Texas State 31-20

  • Grade: B+

  • Comment: The performance was hardly flawless, despite the double-digit victory: SJSU committed three turnovers and scored touchdowns on just 2 of 5 red zone chances.

    Of course, it says a lot about the state of the program (and, let's be honest, the state of the WAC) when the Spartans can misfire to that degree and still win by 11.

  • Texas State scored 20 points in the first half and zero in the second. That's what shrewd halftime adjustments can do for a defense. (In this case: pinching off cutback lanes.)

    Between coach Mike MacIntyre, whose background is defense, and coordinator Kent Baer, who knows his way around the Xs and Os, the Spartans have two top-notch defensive minds running that unit.


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    It helps that SJSU has more quality depth than many of the teams in the WAC, but halftime adjustments are a significant reason the Spartans have outscored opponents 133-68 after halftime.

    Yes, that averages out to 8.5 points per game for SJSU's opponents in the third and fourth quarter.

    And it's not just the second-rate WAC teams that have struggled against the Spartans. Stanford managed only a field goal in the second half.

  • Seems like there's a different example of SJSU's improved depth each game.

    This week, it was David Freeman, the third-string tailback, contributing 160 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

  • Meanwhile, the starting tailback, De'Leon Eskridge, went over 100 yards for the first time since the UC Davis game.

    The re-emergence of the running game (if it lasts) couldn't come at a better time.

    The Spartans hit the road for the next two games, and there is no better means of imposing your will/taking the crowd out of the game than with an effective running game.

    Quarterback David Fales could be sharp as a diamond at Idaho and New Mexico State. The Spartans would still be better off duplicating Saturday's success on the ground (195 yards).

  • And Fales could very well be sharp as a diamond. He's seventh in the country in efficiency (165.3 rating), thanks for 17 touchdowns, five interceptions and a completion percentage of 73.2.

    Oh-by-the-way: Idaho is 117th nationally in passing efficiency defense, and NMSU isn't much better (103rd).

  • Next up: at Idaho.

  • Comment: The Vandals are in disarray. They recently fired their coach, Robb Akey. They have one victory (over NMSU) and, for comparative purposes, just lost at Texas State 38-7.

    The Spartans are favored by 16 and should break their three-game losing streak in the series.

    The keys, as always on the road: 1) Run the ball effectively to set up the play-action game (hello, Ryan Otten) and 2) Don't give the Vandals easy scores/short fields with turnovers and big plays on special teams.

    If Idaho is forced to drive the ball 65 yards (or more) on each possession, the Spartans should roll.