ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- San Jose State has met each challenge it has faced this year.
The Spartans took a ranked Stanford team to the wire, earned two lopsided wins and won a come-from-behind thriller.
The next challenge on the docket gives SJSU a chance to make a little history. The Spartans face Navy on Saturday looking for their first-ever win in the Eastern time zone.
"We're changing things at San Jose State right now, so that just adds to the many things we've done and the many things that are to come," junior linebacker Vince Buhagiar said.
This is SJSU's first trip east since a 2003 loss to Florida, and there have been only six such trips in 90-plus seasons. Four of those games were against teams ranked in the top 10.
The Spartans are favored by 21/2 points entering this one. A win would give them four victories heading into October for the first time in school history.
"It makes me proud to see how far the program's come in the four or five years since I've been here," senior tight end Ryan Otten said. "We've made big strides. It's not the first time we're going to try to do something that hasn't been done in a while."
SJSU has accomplished a handful of milestones, dating back to the final game of 2011 when the Spartans beat Fresno State on the road for the first time in 24 years. The 38-34 win at San Diego State last week was SJSU's first win on the road against the Aztecs since 1952.
This trip will
SJSU flew in on Thursday, a day earlier than normal for road trips. The team planned to take a quick tour of Washington, D.C., on Friday morning before heading to a local high school for a walk-through.
Coach Mike MacIntyre expected the trip to Washington to be an essential part of the trip.
"I think 90 percent of (the players) have never seen Washington, D.C.," he said earlier this week. "Never seen our nation's capital, never seen the Washington Monument, never seen the Lincoln Memorial, never seen our war memorials there. I think that's history that all Americans should see.
"It won't distract us. I think it'll make us more focused on being proud to be an American, to be able to play the game of football, to be able to go to school, to live in a free country. That's especially special to them."
The game experience figures to be special inside Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. There will be a pregame flyover by two F-18 jets, and the march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen, where the cadets enter the stadium and take their seats, is considered particularly riveting.
"That's something for any American to see, all the 4,000 Midshipmen march on," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "It's a great event to see in person."
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