You know that saying “it’s better to win ugly than lose pretty,” well, that was certainly the case for the San José State football team Thursday night.
The San José State Spartans (1-0) escaped with a 21-17 win over the Portland State Vikings (0-1) Thursday night at CEFCU Stadium in the season opener for both teams.
SJSU had a bit of a sluggish start to the game, after punting on their first drive of the game and then giving up a Portland State touchdown halfway through the first quarter to trail 7-0.
But once the Spartans settled in, they played a mostly good rest of the first half and took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Portland State went on a seven minute and two second drive where they settled for a field goal to make it a 14-10 SJSU lead.
The Vikings then went on a seven minute and 31 second drive, that went through the end of the third quarter and first 5:03 of the fourth quarter that led to a touchdown and a 17-14 Portland State lead.
SJSU went three-and-out the next possession following that Portland State touchdown and went to punt the ball away. But, the Spartans caught a huge break and recovered a fumble at the Vikings 29-yard line after the punt touched one of the Portland State players.
After six plays and only gaining nine yards, the Spartans went for a field goal to tie the game, but Taren Shive’s attempt missed by about 30 feet to the right.
Two plays later, Dante Chachere threw an interception at the Portland State 21-yard line.
The Spartans were able to get the ball to the 1-yard line with a 3rd-and-goal, but ended up turning the ball over on downs with 4:07 remaining.
The Spartans forced a punt with the Vikings pushed back deep in their own territory and SJSU was able to get a good run back to the Portland State 32-yard line.
On a 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, SJSU quarterback Chevan Cordeiro ran the ball in for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 21-17 lead with 1:11 remaining.
Portland State attempted a Hail Mary as the clock hit all zero’s but the ball was knocked down. Ball game over.
Cordeiro completed 15-of-30 passes for 239 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for two touchdowns in his Spartans debut. The ball just seemed to get away from him on his throws.
Kairee Robinson carried the ball 10 times for 35 yards, but I thought he looked good running the ball.
Elijah Cooks had a team-high six receptions and 123 receiving yards.
The SJSU offensive line had a tough game, allowing Portland State to have seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
The Spartans secondary also had a less than stellar game Thursday night.
Portland State outgained SJSU 395-288, had more first downs (24-17), had more plays (72-59) and won the time of possession battle (37:48-22:12), but had three turnovers to SJSU’s zero turnovers. Granted, SJSU didn’t score on any of the turnovers but those are still drive killers, one of which happened inside the red zone.
At the end of the day, San José State did what they needed to do and got the win. BUT, they have a lot, A LOT, to correct and work on because this game was painful to watch, particularly in the second half. It’s always better to get the win and learn, rather than taking a loss and learning.
The Spartans will travel to Auburn, Alabama to take on the Auburn Tigers next Saturday, September 10th. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT)/4:30 p.m. (PT) and will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
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