RENO -- After failing for the second straight week to become bowl eligible, it's gut check time for San Jose State.

The Spartans, coming off a heartbreaking defeat against San Diego State, were trampled Saturday night in a 38-16 loss to Nevada.

"I feel like we probably underestimated them, to be honest," SJSU linebacker Keith Smith said of Nevada, which entered the game with a five-game losing streak and a 3-7 record.

Now all the wiggle room is gone. The Spartans (5-5, 4-3 Mountain West Conference) must win one of their remaining two games to qualify for bowl consideration. They need to win both -- against Navy (6-4) and Fresno State (9-0) -- to ensure that they will play in a bowl game for the second year in a row.

"We all know we have two games left and we've just got to go out and compete," wide receiver Chandler Jones said. "The team we play next, Navy, is a good team. They play physical and hard. This week we'll come back and regroup and get ready for this tough week."

SJSU has a short week to prepare for the Midshipmen. The Spartans arrived home around 4 a.m. Sunday and will forgo their normal day off Monday to get ready for the Friday game.

With the season on the brink, first-year coach Ron Caragher had a clear message for his team.

"I told the guys that we need to rally," Caragher said. "Where's the leadership of this team? How do we want to finish? We need to rally as a group and finish strong and take care of business."

The players seemed lost at how this game -- and season -- so quickly went astray.

"It's very confusing for us because we've got a group of seniors who really want it," said quarterback David Fales, who passed for 326 yards and a touchdown Saturday night. "We're putting in the work, and we want it bad. These are tough. As leaders and veterans and seniors, we've got to come together and show the younger guys on our team what we need to do."

  • Adding to the Spartans' losses, three-star safety Darren Gardenhire (Cabrillo High-Long Beach) de-committed from the program on Sunday.

    "I have just de-committed from San Jose State," Gardenhire wrote on Twitter. "They have a good program, not trying to say anything bad about them."

    Gardenhire has made official visits to Utah and Boise State, and it had recently begun looking like a long shot that he would keep his oral commitment to SJSU.

    The Spartans did pick up a recruit though, with Scout.com reporting three-star wide receiver Justin Holmes (Oakmont-Roseville) committed to SJSU on Sunday.

  • Please go to Scoreboard, Page 8, for a box score from Saturday's game