SAN JOSE -- It was a downer of a weekend for San Jose State, so coach Ron Caragher turned to ice cream on Monday to try to boost the team's morale.

Yes, ice cream.

Caragher organized a field goal kicking contest between the offense and defense, with ice cream bars on the line for the winners. The offensive and defensive linemen did the kicking.

"Scary," Caragher said. "Some of those kicks, you better run for cover if you're on the wrong end of that."

The contest ended in a tie. Both had five attempts and Reuben Hasani was the only offensive player to make his 20-yard field goal. The defense missed its first four kicks before Fernando Villanueva delivered the equalizer.

For the tiebreaker, offensive line coach Hank Fraley went up against defensive line coach James Jones. Fraley's kick had the height and distance but was wide left. Jones' kick barely got off the ground.

So, everybody got ice cream. But perhaps the bigger reward was the energy the contest created.

The Spartans seemed to lack life in the second half of their 38-16 loss to Nevada on Saturday, during which they were outscored 17-0. Their bowl hopes are clinging to life, with everything on the line in the last two games.

SJSU (5-5) needs to win one to have a chance at a bowl, and Friday's game against Navy (6-4) seems like the best shot. If the Spartans lose that game and fall to No. 15 Fresno State (9-0) on Nov. 29, there would be a long offseason of what ifs.

It's a time when the players -- particularly the seniors who want to close their careers with another bowl appearance -- could begin pressing. Hence, Caragher is hoping to lighten the mood.

"You've got to create energy and upbeat attitude," he said. "Renewed energy and enthusiasm goes a long ways towards a good practice."

  • SJSU didn't seem ready for Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo's running ability, which is partially understandable considering his recent health. He missed two games earlier this year with a knee injury and is still wearing a heavy brace on the knee. Then he sprained his foot the week before and was considered questionable for the game.

    Neither ailment seemed to affect Fajardo as he rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. Spartans defensive coordinator Kenwick Thompson said Fajardo looked much healthier than he did in past games.

    "When he's healthy, he's very dangerous," Thompson said. "The way he played the other night, it's very evident he was healthier than he had been in the earlier part of the year."

    Both Caragher and Thompson agreed that the team's tackling -- an issue early in the season that had improved somewhat -- regressed against Nevada. Thompson said the Spartans struggled to maintain proper technique in pressure situations.

    "Guys are having the 'want to' to get there but that's not enough," Thompson said. "Having the proper technique will help you make a better tackle."

  • The game against Navy is Military Appreciation Night with two free tickets available to all active and former military members with proper ID.

    Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.

    Friday's game

    Navy (6-4) at San Jose State (5-5), 6:30 p.m. ESPN2