Well, it's the next day and there's still no way to sugar-coat Saturday's 32-29 collapse by San Jose State to formerly 1-7 Idaho - it bites. But this really could be the "Winter of Our Discontent" for SJSU football.
It's obvious to anyone who saw the game that the focus was on not turning the ball over, something that has been prominent all season. They succeeded in that endeavor. It was so bad that even with the zero turnovers Saturday, the Spartans are still tied with East Carolina for most turnovers lost this season - 27.
So far this season SJSU has learned how to beat a Football Bowl Subdivision School (New Mexico State); learned how to beat an FBS school on the road (Colorado State), learned how to come from behind to win (NMSU, CSU, and Hawaii), how to play a turnover-free game (Idaho), and, lastly, that no game is over until it's over. So, the next thing is to put those pieces all together in a single game.
Saturday was a painful lesson, and other than winning the turnover battle and proving they have a plan that eliminates the gift-giving, there's really not much else positive to glean out of it. Well, there were no significant injuries, and that is always a plus.
And what makes the loss even more painful for Sparta is that there has actually been some success this season. A streak of wins in three out of four games gave fans hope, but I've already talked about that.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre has proven he can keep his players focused and motivated. Saturday was an anomaly, an absolute horrid outcome and performance, but it's really not indicative of the overall progress of the program.
The team was killing itself with turnovers and something drastic had to be done. Even in the Idaho game it was apparent quaterback Matt Faulkner was sketchy throwing downfield, (especially while on the run) with the exception of the touchdown throw to tight end Ryan Otten near the end.
And look at the running game! Against Louisiana Tech SJSU only had 17 yards rushing. On Saturday the Spartans rushed for 73 yards, an improvement of over 400 percent! Okay, maybe that's not something to tout, they definitely need to find the running game this season.
So, the team has shown it can improve in areas in which it needs to improve. They have experienced disaster, and overcome adversity. There's little reason to think they won't come out firing next week against Utah State. I'm sure this week's game-planning will look to incorporate all the things they've learned throughout the season, and the deep competitive desire to win will be super-charged by Saturday's result. It will remain to be seen if the victim of all that educational process is Utah State.
Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at email@example.com.
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