A Brief Look: The SJSU Spartans

There was a time when San Jose State was the conference favorite, and Boise State was the overwhelming underdog, supposedly without the speed or power to play with the Spartans.. but now the roles are reversed and Boise State is the bully, kicking sand and taking names. Question is.. which Spartan team will show up? The team that lost to Utah State, or the team that took the Broncos to overtime last year on national TV... ?

The year was 1978 and the Boise State Broncos were coming off their first Big Sky Championship under Coach Jim Criner.  In 1978, there were only seven Big Sky Conference Football teams, so Boise State played five non-conference games every year.

Boise State scheduled three PCAA teams along with Cal Poly & Northern Michigan in 1978.  Most amazing was that all three Division 1A PCAA teams would play IN Boise.

It was a strange season for Boise State.  The Bronco football team lost their top two returning receivers to injury early on, so they became a predominately rushing offense team.  Tailback Cedric Minter would break all the BSU single season rushing records.

Boise State would finish the season in the middle of pack in the Big Sky Conference with a 3 – 3 record, but they would end the season with a 3 – 0 record against the Division 1A PCAA teams.

The 1978 season would start with a home game against Cal State Fullerton.  The Broncos crushed the Titans 42 to 12.  The following week, the Broncos would beat Cal State Long Beach 19 to 13.  A frustrated Long Beach Head Coach Dave Currey told the Boise press that  Boise State could beat Long Beach and Fullerton, but no way could  they compete with San Jose State.  The Spartans were big and fast and projected to win the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1978.

Boise State played the San Jose State Spartans for the first time on October 14, 1978.  The Broncos were struggling with a two game losing streak after losing Big Sky Conference games to Montana and Montana State.  The Spartans came into the game heavily favored to beat the Broncos.  They had already beaten the Idaho Vandals 31 to 14 to open their season.  But the Broncos would surprise the Spartans and Coach Currey by beating the Spartans 30 to 15.

The Broncos and Spartans would not meet again on the gridiron until Boise State was invited to join the Western Athletic Conference.  The first game between BSU and SJSU as conference mates was in Boise in 2001and resulted in a 56 to 6 win for the Broncos.  The Broncos would win the game in 2002 at San Jose State University 45 to 8.

In 2003, the underdog Spartans would return to Boise for a midseason game.  The Spartan players decided to jump up and down and spit on the Bronco logo on the blue turf in the pregame warm-ups which fired up the Bronco players who went on to crush the Spartans 77 to 14.  The following year, ESPN would move the Spartan/Bronco game to 10:00 AM in San Jose.  The Broncos would survive an overtime game to edge out a very motivated San Jose State team 56 to 49. 

Boise State leads the all time series 5 to 0.


Bronco Country Top Stories