Prior to the start of the season, I predicted that after four games our beloved Spartans would have a win/lose record of 2-2, and that one of those wins would be a 38-35 upset victory.
However, I thought the 38-35 upset would be over Stanford.
To my pleasant surprise, the upset came over the defending Big-10 Champion Illinois Fighting Illini, not the Stanford Cardinal.
I'll take it.
Flip-Flop my predictions on the Stanford and Illinois games, and I'd be looking pretty good. I was wrong about both games, but I'm pleased that the team has exceeded my overall expectations thus far.
The first game against Arkansas State went pretty much to script, with the Spartans posting a convincing 33-14 win. The Spartans struggled early on, but an opportunistic SJSU defense came on strong in the 4th quarter.
Safety Gerald Jones introduced himself to the San Jose State fans, and hasn't been out of the limelight since.
Against Top 20 Washington, the Spartans came out with a great game plan, and found themselves leading 10-0 at the half.
"Pinch me, I must be dreaming"! "This is too good to be true"! ……It was.
The Huskies dominated the 2nd half, and cruised to a 34-10 final. Spartan pride was fully intact however.
A bigger Stanford offensive line, and a speedy Cardinal defense proved too much for San Jose State in week three. The Spartans wore down in the second half.
After coming back from and 18 point deficit to make the score 28-26 Stanford early in the 3rd quarter, the wheels came off via key turnovers, and the final 28 minutes were a blur of Stanford highlights.
Final score Stanford 63 - SJSU 26.
We all know what happened in Champaign, Illinois.
The bottom line was that the Spartan offense played a nearly flawless game, and made The Illini pay dearly for their own mistakes. Despite giving up over 600 yards in total offense to Illinois, the Spartans managed to take the $375K payout, and the victory home to San Jose.
This was, thus far, the biggest victory in Dr. Hill's short tenure at San Jose State.
It was said he had the players believing in his staff's overall plan prior to the start of the season. He must now have them believing that anything is possible.
And, just maybe it is.
So, how we doin?
The Spartans are a work in progress and appear to be improving every week. To paraphrase Coach Hill, the pecan pie is slowly cooking up nicely in the oven. (No microwave oven in site). The Spartans are still in search of two main ingredients that are currently between them and a chance at competing for a WAC title.
One is a solid running game, the other is a pass rush. If these two pieces of the puzzle can be found soon, the picture by season's end could be very lovely, indeed.
Top Spartan players thus far include the previously mentioned Gerald Jones, WR/KR Charles Pauly, PK Nick Gilliam, LB Luke LaHerran, DE Chip Kimmich, WR's Kendrick Starling and Jamall Broussard, TB Lamar Ferguson, OT Tim Provost, QB Scott Rislov, and two way player CB/TB Trestin George.
Congratulations to each of these players for their fine efforts thus far. Keep up the good work, and remember that the season has a long ways to go.
What do the next four weeks have in store for the Spartan?
Here's my best guess.
September 28th vs UTEP (1-3): The Miners bring a strong running game, and will try and play keep away from the speedy Spartan receiving corp.
However, UTEP's offense has had a penchant for turning to ball over, and also for not scoring.
Despite not having Neal Parry in the line-up for motivation, San Jose State with their team speed should pull away from UTEP.
Prediction: SJSU 34 - UTEP 21
October 5th @ SMU (0-4): SMU will play the previous week in Hawaii, and could be a bit tuckered out after returning home from the islands.
The Mustangs had respectable games in their losses to TCU (17-6) and Texas Tech (24-14), but were hammered at home by Navy 38-7, and on the road at Oklahoma State 52-16.
The SMU defense has given up a lot of yards in the air, so I'll take the Spartans in this one.
But, I think it will be close.
Prediction SJSU 24 - SMU 20.
October 12th @ Ohio State (4-0): Hey, we're undefeated against the Big-10 this season, so why not a victory at the Big Horseshoe in Columbus, Ohio?
Plus, Ohio State struggled against Cincinnati!
….Um, no. The Spartan's victory over Illinois, and the strong showing at Washington will guarantee that the Buckeyes will not be looking past the San Jose State, nor taking them lightly.
I think Fitz will play a lot of players in this one, and hope his team comes out healthy in the end. I still think the Spartans will play well early, but the Ohio State depth will be too much in the long run.
Prediction: Ohio State 42 -SJSU 14
October 19th @ Nevada (2-1): This one is going to be a dandy. The Wolf Pack may have lost their best player in RB Chance Kretschmer, but that hasn't stopped them from winning their last two games over both BYU (31-28) and Rice (31-21).
Nevada's senior QB Zack Threadgill has been on fire, and could end up being 1st Team All-WAC. He is currently completing 72.8 % of his passes, and has thrown for 8 TD's against 4 INT's.
I predict this game will be the most entertaining WAC game of the year.
Prediction: SJSU 46 - Nevada 45.
During most college football seasons, one can expect that a particular team will win at least one game they don't expect to, and lose one game they expect to win.
If the Spartans can avoid the later, they could find themselves with a 5-3 overall record, and be 3-0 in WAC competition when Boise State visits San Jose on October 26th.
Who'd have thought that back in August?
Probably Dr. Fitz Hill and his players, that's who.
So, how we doin'?
Right now I'd say pretty damn good.
See ya' back here in four weeks!
Regards from SJSdude.
"If you don't have dreams, you've got nightmares."