Spartan Thunder Strikes, but nearly Fizzles..

The San Jose State University football team scored 21 unanswered points after surrendering the first 14 points of the game to defeat Utah State University, 21-14, on Saturday. The surging Spartans have now improved to 4-1 on the year with its fourth victory in a row. It was the 2006 WAC opener for the Spartans, and for a boisturous and raucous Homecoming crowd of 15,738 at Spartan Stadium!

SAN JOSE -- San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University football team scored 21 unanswered points after surrendering the first 14 points of the game to defeat Utah State University, 21-14, on Saturday.

The surging Spartans have now improved to 4-1 on the year with its fourth victory in a row. This was the 2006 Western Athletic Conference opener for the Spartans, and was played in front of an announced boisturous and raucous Homecoming crowd of 15,738 at historic Spartan Stadium.

A three-yard touchdown run by Patrick Perry with 3:56 left in the game broke the 14-14 deadlock and accounted for the final margin, with the Spartan defense thwarting the final Utah State drive.

San Jose State improves to 1-0 in the WAC and is 4-1 for the first time since the 1987 season, when the Spartans finished 10-2 with a Big West Conference championship and a berth in the California Bowl.

SJSU has now won four straight games for the first time since 1991, and six straight at home dating back to the 2005 season. Utah drops to 1-6 overall and 1-2 in league play.

``I hope this game shows us not to think too highly of ourselves, to be confident, but don't think that we're invincible,'' quarterback Adam Tafralis said. ``Know that every week it's going to get harder because the more wins you stack up the more people want to knock you off.''

The teams were each forced to punt on their opening possessions of the game, with the second Utah State drive also stalling. The Aggie punt was fumbled, however, by SJSU's James Jones, and recovered by Terrance Washington at the Spartan 10.

``We expected a hard game, and we got one,'' cornerback Christopher Owens said.

After getting stopped on a third-and-goal play from the 1, with Demetrius Jones and Jarron Gilbert in on the tackle, Utah State went for it on fourth and inches.

Quarterback Riley Nelson faked the handoff up the middle and threw short to the left side of the end zone for an open Lynwood Johnson and the afternoon's first score. Bryan Shields' point after gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with 3:47 left in the period.

Utah State extended its advantage to 14-0 at the 8:55 mark of the second quarter, when Nelson found wideout Kevin Robinson for a 14-yard touchdown down the center of the field, with Shields tacking on the extra point.

The Aggies again converted a fourth-down opportunity on the 14-play, 80-yard drive that took up 6:38 and featured 10 running plays, as Nelson went nine yards on a keeper on fourth and four from the SJSU 28.

During halftime, Tomey gave a defensive minded speech to the team.

``He didn't seem angry, he knew we had it in us,'' Owens said. ``Coach Tomey told us great defenses don't give up points in second half when our backs are against the wall.''

Robinson had scored all three Utah State touchdowns in a 24-17 victory over the Spartans in Logan, Utah, in last year's meeting.

The Aggie QB, Nelson, completed 21 of 24 pass attempts for 145 yards, and lead the Aggies to the SJSU 23 with one minute and change of the game clock.

On fourth-and-3, the venerable abd gutsy Spartan defesnsive unit led by McCutcheon and Owens stopped the Aggies tight end, Rob Myers, for a 3-yard loss.

Adam Tafralis then took four straight kneel down's for the remaining 77 seconds of the game.

``If you are going to be a good team and have a good season, you are going to have to win when you are not at your absolute best,'' Tomey said. ``You've got to go out there and win anyway, and we did that.''

``Our guys are are very, very clear about the fact that if we go up to Nevada and play like we did today, in terms of the turnovers and so on, we'll get blown out of the stadium,'' Coach Dick Tomey said. ``We're clear about that.''

Up next for SJSU, is last years WAC co-champion, the Nevada-Reno Wolfpack. The Spartans know that they must play better next week, if they are to win that game.

``We probably should have lost the Utah State game today with all the mistakes we made,'' defensive tackle Freddy McCutcheon said. ``But we fought back.''

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