The San Jose State Spartans looked to bounce back from a disappointing finish at Air Force by taking on a Pac-12 opponent at Oregon State.
The Spartans had taken a 21-14 lead at the Pac-12 host’s stadium, but the game quickly got away from SJSU.
Oregon State was able to turn momentum in their favor on the third possession of the second half. On a drive that started on the Beavers’ own 12 yard line, running back Storm Woods broke a 38-yard run. The first of five straight runs perfectly set up a play action play for Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins to pass to Jordan Villamin who was well beyond the SJSU secondary for the 31-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing possession, the Spartans went three-and-out. However, on the punt, the snap went through punter Michael Carrizosa’s hands and over his head. Oregon State recovered at the SJSU 15-yard line and scored after two Collins rushes.
Three snaps later, SJSU quarterback Joe Gray's pass was intercepted by Oregon State linebacker Caleb Saulo and returned 41 yards for a touchdown.
In a span of just over four minutes, the Spartans’ 7-point lead turned into a 14-point deficit.
San Jose State head coach Ron Caragher made the call to pull Gray in favor of third string quarterback Malik Watson. Gray had completed 4 of 10 passes for 20 yards. Watson had been eliminated from the quarterback competition in August, but there were few options after Kenny Potter’s injury in the second quarter.
With Watson at the helm, SJSU managed only 58 yards and was never able to cut the deficit as Oregon State held possession for over nine minutes in the fourth quarter.
Kenny Potter had earned Caragher’s call as the starter and looked as if he might have played the whole game if not for the ankle injury. He led a 10-play, 75 yard touchdown drive on the game’s opening possession. The drive was highlighted by Potter’s 21-yard pass to Billy Freeman and was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Tyler Ervin.
San Jose State’s defense got a boost with the return of Christian Tago, but the Spartans still had their hands full with true freshman Seth Collins who was committed to SJSU before becoming a Beaver. On the ensuing possession, Collins’ name was called on all but one play on a 10-play, 65 yard touchdown drive to even the score.
Collins finished with 135 passing yards and a touchdown on 13 of 25 passes and added 114 rushing yards and two more touchdowns on 16 carries.
At the start of the second quarter, Potter went down with an ankle injury that knocked him out of the game. He had completed 8 of 9 passes for 72 yards before the play.
Potter’s injury led to a punt, but the return was muffed by Oregon State’s Rahmel Dockery and recovered by SJSU’s Shane Smith just six yards away from the end zone. Ervin found the end zone on the next play, giving the Spartans a 14-7 lead.
After the teams traded punts, Collins’ explosiveness showed again with a 20-yard pass to Victor Bolden and then ran for 30 yards on the next play. Storm Woods finished off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run.
SJSU had managed just one first down on Gray’s first two drive, but a Cleveland Wallace interception set up the offense just 26 yards away from the end zone.
Fullback Chris Dadson kept the drive alive by converting on on fourth and short and Gray capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown to Tyler Winston.
Oregon State had one last chance before halftime to kick a field goal, but the 48 yarder was no good.
San Jose State had opportunities to be 3-0, but instead start the season at 1-2. The Spartans host Mountain West (West) rival Fresno State on Saturday.