Spartan Players Reap WAC Awards

Chandler Jones, a sophomore wide receiver and special teams player, was picked WAC Offensive Player of the Week for scoring three touchdowns three different ways: receiving, running, and fumble recovery. Travis Johnson, a junior defensive end and special teams player, crashed through the Hawaii line twice blocking a PAT attempt and a field goal.

San Jose State head football coach Mike MacIntyre was lavish in his praise of both players. Of Chandler Jones, he said, "Chandler came here last year as a walk-on, but this past summer I gave him a scholarship." He said the 5-foot-8-1/2 sophomore was, "a fearless competitor." After Friday's game, Coach Mac said relative to Chandler's three touchdowns in three different ways, "that was the first time that I have ever personally seen that in my life."

With regard to Travis Johnson, not only was the blocked PAT attempt a huge factor in the victory margin, but so was the second block of a 42-yard field goal attempt. The field goal block kept the Spartans hopes alive for a comeback opportunity that Johnson helped turn into a reality.

MacIntyre once again praised his players, whom he said "played extremely hard. "I was really impressed with their poise throughout the game." he said. Macintyre added, "If you watch our sidelines, they (the players) are REALLY into the game." He remarked how that was an extremely exciting night for San Jose State University, the students, the alumni, the fans and the team. The victory left the door open to go and achieve some possible goals such as a WAC championship, a bowl game, and a winning record. He said how gratifying it was to watch the students, alumni, the players and even some of the staff rush the field and dance to celebrate the victory. He is happy that this team is giving them all a chance to do that.

"Hawaii really did not stop us all day." MacIntyre said. "We made mistakes. We definitely have to cut down on our turnover situation. We have to concentrate on that." He added that Brandon Rutley's three fumbles (two were lost) have not been a consistent problem, but he joked that he was having Brandon carry a football around with him all week.

MacIntyre had good things to say about Hawaii quarterback, Bryant Moniz. He said last year they tried putting a lot of coverage in the defensive secondary, but with all that time to throw, Moniz picked the Spartans apart. "This year we blitzed more than we have been," he said. "We knew we had to take chances." He added that he thought that much of the game the Spartans, "kept Moniz from becoming comfortable back there."

On Bene Benwikere's personal foul penalty, he said that Hawaii had just run a double screen pattern, and a Hawaii player had just flattened him out with a huge block. When Benwikere got up and saw that the ball was going the other way, he thought that this would be his chance to settle the score. He hit the Hawaii player with a hard, but legal, block but was flagged for blocking a player who was not involved with the action (about 30 yards away). MacIntyre said that most of the time this penalty would not be called, but that it is a rule that sometimes is enforced. He said that Benwikere felt terrible about it and apologized to the team after the game.

MacIntyre had some good news on the injury front. He said that defensive tackle Joe Nigos is running at practice after dislocating his knee cap earlier this fall. He said he expects him to play against La. Tech. Marcus Howard is back from his hand injury and is also expected to play. He said that Duke Ihenacho's leg injury is not a pulled hamstring and is expected to be fully recovered for La. Tech.

Just a couple of side notes:

- This is not the first time the Spartans have committed 6 turnovers and still won the game. Claude Gilbert's teams also accomplish this feat. The '86 team did it twice and the '87 did it once. That was the last time it occurred until Friday night.
- Hawaii seems to bring about Spartan turnovers. In 1999, the Spartans turned the ball over to Hawaii 7 times, but were unable to pull out the victory.
- There will be no coaches show this Wednesday at Original Joe's.

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

Better yet, join the rest of the Inside Sparta community in discussions of this article, and more, on the Inside Sparta Discussion Forums!

Inside TheSpartans Top Stories