It wasn't a dazzling victory. Nor was it pretty by any stretch of the imagination. But regardless, Gilbertson will take it in a heartbeat.
"It was a good win," said the Washington coach following his 100th game as a collegiate head coach. "Our defense did a lot of good things, keeping them out of the endzone, in light of how explosive we thought they were from what we saw them do in all their games. They have tremendous speed at receiver, so to keep them out of the end zone and keep them to 22 passing yards was good."
With quarterback Carl Bonnell getting the start, his second in as many games, there were plenty of fans and media who were wondering why the head coach took him out shortly before halftime and brought in Casey Paus. Those questions were quieted when Gilbertson explained that Bonnell was slightly injured from the first quarter on.
"Carl Bonnell hurt his groin on the first drive and it just got worse and worse as the game progressed, to the point where it was time to make a change," said Gilbertson. "Casey Paus went in and played well, ran the club well. He really didn't get anything going passing-game wise, but I think he ran some nice plays."
What does that mean for the quarterback situation heading into next week's home game with Oregon State? It could mean a number of things.
First, Gilbertson has to know if and when Bonnell will be available to play. Secondly, he has to determine whether Paus would be the next guy in line or would that distinction go to the somewhat forgotten about Isaiah Stanback.
"I need to see how Carl Bonnell is doing for next week and we need to make some kind of decision as to how to fix our passing game, because right now that is where we are getting very little" said Gilbertson, adding that Isaiah Stanback will "get his shot."
Stanback hasn't played since the season-opener against Fresno State, a game in which he suffered an ankle sprain that set him back in the rotation.
One player Gilbertson hopes to have back at 100 percent for the Beavers is Charles Frederick, who played only limited snaps against the Spartans. With the passing game suffering as bad as it has in as long as most anyone can remember, the return of Washington's senior standout receiver could only mean good things for the remainder of the season.
None of the other receivers on the team can be trusted at this point, each showing an inability to consistently run crisp routes and hold on to the football.
"I think Charles Frederick will be back at full speed next week and I think that will give us the lift that we need in our passing game," said Gilbertson. "We just are struggling to get any rhythm or consistency in our catches and passing game. That is frustrating, particularly because you know how much I love to throw the ball."
On a positive note, at least against the Spartans, was the emergence of Kenny James, who had been quite in each of the team's previous two games. James, in his third year out of Dos Palos High in Fresno, California, ran to a career-high 189 yards on the afternoon, adding his first two-touchdown performance of his career.
"I thought Kenny James had some nice runs and we wanted him to take the game over in the second half," said the Husky coach. "He did a nice job of staying in drives, and that was the difference for us."
From a defensive standpoint, there was much to be excited about. To keep any team to six points, let alone a team that rattled off 70 the week prior, was quite an accomplishment for a young Washington defense that has played miserably and looked lost at times this season.
Holding the Spartans to 22 yards passing and 111 through the air had Gilbertson speaking glowingly of his team afterwards.
"San Jose State started out with great field position, with two interceptions and the poor kickoff, but our guys went in there and stopped them every time," he said. "They played well and got out of drives on fourth downs. To hold San Jose State to six points is a nice day of defense."
With Derrick Johnson sidelined due to a hamstring pull, sophomore Matt Fountaine got his second-career start at cornerback. Fountaine, along with Sam Cunningham and Cody Ellis, did a fine job for the most part limiting San Jose State's passing game.
"We tried to get in the way of their receivers and reroute them," said Gilbertson of the team's successful defensive tactics.
It worked, as the 22 yards allowed shows.
And in the end, the final score read 21-6, and the Huskies picked up their first win of the year. That, for the time being, gives the UW something to be happy about for the first time all season.
"Well, we can take a deep breath for a day, and then you get to come back onto it and start getting prepared for Oregon State, which had a bye week to prepare for us," said Gilbertson. "It was nice to come in here and have some fun after the game. It is way better than the way we have felt the previous four weeks."