The fact that the quarterback is a three-year starter and eight starters return from last year's anemic offense is merely semantics.
While one would think San Jose, coming off a 3-8 season, would be thrilled about almost knocking off a Pac-10 program on the road ... not so much.
"The first thing I said to the team is we have to change the attitude people have about this team. Too many times a year ago, we'd play a game like this and everyone would be excited," San Jose State coach Dick Tomey said. "We can be proud of our effort, proud of the fact we got better as we played, proud of the fact we won the turnover battle and had the least number of penalties, and other things, but we were trying to win. Give Washington the credit, but we need to understand, we can't feel good inside about that even though the intention is good.
"Last year, we got beat by seven by Hawaii and Nevada. We just fought hard. And we're going to fight hard. Sometimes, our players felt good. They should be proud of their effort, but we're looking for more. We're looking for a better result."
After finishing last season with back-to-back wins, the Spartans expected to carry that momentum over. And they still can, with four straight home games beginning with a much-anticipated visit from Stanford on Sept. 9. San Jose is expecting a sellout of 30,000, and a win could prove the turning point for a long-struggling program. Stanford was blown out by Oregon in its opener and doesn't appear anymore talented, at least on paper, than San Jose State.
GAME BALL GOES TO: QB Adam Tafralis -- In one of the elite performances in program history, Tafralis completed 28 of 35 pass attempts (80 percent) for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also did not throw an interception. In the process, the senior became the first San Jose State quarterback to start three straight season openers since Steve Clarkson from 1980-82.
KEEP AN EYE ON: WR James Jones -- After scoring two touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Spartans, one each in 2004 and 2005, Jones caught three in the loss to Washington. He finished with nine catches for 130 yards and appears poised for a big season. Previously, he had been more a possession receiver, having averaged just 10.8 yards on 56 career receptions.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not good enough. It is that simple. We win and lose as a team. It is tough, but the only thing we can do is use it to make us better." --San Jose senior quarterback Adam Tafralis on a 35-29 loss to Washington
LOOKING GOOD: While San Jose State coach Dick Tomey doesn't want his team settling any longer for coming close, this was an impressive performance. While Washington isn't what it once was, almost pulling off a road win against Pac-10 program is impressive for any WAC team.
The offense looked much better than a season ago, when it averaged 22.5 points a game -- 81st among Division I-A programs. PK Jared Strubeck almost proved the difference, connecting on field-goal attempts from 40, 32 and 45 yards. He anchored a tremendous effort by the special teams that included junior P Waylon Prather averaging 44.4 yards on five punts.
Junior LB Matt Castelo and senior FS Christopher Vedder, the lone returning starters on defense, did their part with eight solo and two assisted tackles apiece.
STILL NEEDS WORK: San Jose rushed for two first downs while Washington ran for 15. That's a problem. The Spartans also couldn't contain Huskies quarterback Isaiah Stanbeck, who rushed for 102 yards and a score and threw for 168 and another touchdown. Just one sack for 3 yards isn't enough.
RB Yonus Davis was supposed to anchor a three-headed running attack but instead, San Jose mustered 50 yards on 29 carries, with Davis finishing with 33 on nine attempts. He wasn't a factor in the passing game, either, with just one catch for four yards. The Spartans need to get him the ball more and create some room for his to accelerate.
The defense allowed 468 yards and 35 points to the worst offense in the Pac-10 last season.
ROSTER REPORT: Despite senior Adam Tafralis impersonating Carson Palmer with easily the top performance by a San Jose quarterback in recent memory -- 28 of 35 for 323 yards, three scores and no interceptions -- San Jose State coach Dick Tomey says that if junior college transfer Sean Flynn is healthy, he'll play against Stanford on Sept. 9. Tomey has said since before fall camp that he wouldn't name a full-time starter until just before the WAC opener against Utah State on Oct. 14, and it appears he's standing behind those words.
Flynn missed the Washington with multiple injuries but could be ready this week.
Site affiliate CFN contributed to this report.