San Jose State Gets Big Win!

After an opening day blowout followed by two close defeats, San Jose State must have been extremely motivated to get a win. That victory came today as the Spartans used a balance offensive attack to post a 34-24 win over New Mexico State. It is the first victory over a Football Bowl Subdivsion foe in the Mike MacIntyre era.

New Mexico State presented no easy task. The Aggies earned a huge win on the road versus BCS conference team Minnesota. Prior to the New Mexico contest, the Spartans are averaging 122.3 yards per game and wanted to improve upon that. The Spartans rode Brandon Rutley and Ryan Otten down victory lane. The Aggies put up a spirited fight, but simply did not have the answers for these two players.

The bright spot for the Spartans so far this season has been their defense. Anchored by Travis Johnson, Mo Marah, Travis Raciti, Joe Nigos, and several other great performers, the Spartan defensive front have held their opponents to less than 400 total yards per game.

Unfortunately for the Spartans the team lost a rock in the middle of their defense when Joe Nigos suffered a left knee injury on the first play of the game. He is one of the Spartans top defensive performers and will be sorely missed if he can not return this year. Although somewhat undersized at 278 pounds for a defensive tackle, Joe knows a little bit about leverage, as he was a Central Coast Section heavyweight wrestling champion, as well as a star Greco-Roman wrestler. His father, also Joe Nigos, was a long-time wrestling and football coach at Oak Grove High School, until his recent retirement.

The Aggies took the opening kickoff and marched 79 yards in 10 plays. The drive ended up in a 19 yard field goal. It did not, however take the Spartans long to answer.

On the very first play from scrimmage, Brandon Rutley took a handoff and ran up the middle untouched for 66 yards and a touchdown. The teams then exchanged possessions.

With just a little over seven minutes left in the first half the Spartans had a drive kept alive by a defensive holding call, only to have it nullified by a fumble by a Spartan fumble at midfield two plays later. For much of the first half, the Spartans were simply not able to sustain an offensive drive.

With 4:12 left in the first half, New Mexico State receiver Kenny Turner gave the Aggies the lead when he made an athletic catch in the end zone for a touchdown to cap a 45 yard drive and take a 10-7 lead.

With time running out in the first half, The Spartans positioned themselves for a 42 yard field by Jens Alvernik. The kicking game has been problematical for the Spartans this year. It is apparent that the coaching staff has decided to take some of pressure of all the duties off of Waid Harrison. Jens Alvernik, who was 12/12 at Community College of San Francisco took on the place kicking duties in this game and came through when it counted.

It is often said, that lightening does not strike twice in the same place, but for the Spartans it happened. With a little over 8 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter, Kenny Turner took a handoff and scampered through the Spartan defense, virtually untouched for a 78 yard touchdown run to put the Aggies up 24-17.

The Spartans were nobody to take that sitting down. Faulkner and the coaches decided to hitch their wagon to Ryan Otten on the next drive, and Otten did not disappoint.

Faulkner hit Otten, who was wide open in the flat about 15 yards down field, and Otten scrambled for a huge gain. A couple of plays later, Faulkner once again found Otten in the right flat for a touchdown.

With less than a minute to go in the 3rd quarter, the New Mexico quarterback, Matt Christian threw an interception to an area of the field where there was not an Aggie receiver in sight. This occurred near midfield, and the Spartans wasted no time making the Aggies pay for that mistake. The Spartans drove down field and rode Brandon Rutley for the successful touchdown drive within just two minutes.

On the Aggies possession, the Spartans asserted themselves on defense, and completed a defensive stand with their first quarterback sack of the season for the team, being credited to Pompey Festejo.

On the Spartans next possession, they scored on a 66 yard drive in just five plays, capped off by a Jens Alvernik chip-shot field goal. On the drive Brandon Rutley ran for a huge gain, which put him over 200 yards for the game.

Brandon Rutley had 32 carries for 209 rushing, which is the 10th most game yardage in Spartan history. The 32 carries is the most from a Spartan since J.T. Callier in 2007.

Scott Phelps is Senior Editor for Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Scott with any questions or suggestions at

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