|Spartans 9-2! Defense Holds Off BYU, 20-14|
San Jose, Calif.-----Three David Fales touchdown passes in the first half and an opportunistic defense propelled San Jose State to a 20-14 win over BYU in a non-conference football game.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Spartans (9-2) and their third against a 2012 bowl-eligible team.
Fales completed 25-of-34 passes with an interception for 305 yards. He set San Jose State single-season school records for touchdown passes (28), passing yardage (3,431) and total offense (3,302). San Jose State scored the first three times it had the ball.
At the outset, the Spartans' quarterback was unstoppable connecting with wide receivers Noel Grigsby, twice, and Chandler Jones, once, on touchdown plays. Grigsby opened the scoring with a simple post pattern for a 51-yard touchdown on an explosive four-play drive.
After a Jamaal Williams 16-yard run and Cougar extra-point for a 7-6 BYU lead, San Jose State went on a pair of extended drives of nine and 11 plays, respectively.
Jones took a little delay over the middle at the Spartans' 5-yard line and maneuvered his way into the end zone to give San Jose State a 13-7 lead. Then Grigsby put up his second score of the night with an 18-yard reception capping a 71-yard drive for a 20-7 Spartan advantage.
The defense took over to preserve the lead and the win. And, the defense did its part with three takeaways and four quarterback sacks.
BYU (6-5) became only the second team to outgain San Jose State this season, 422 to 364. Quarterback Riley Nelson, back in Spartan Stadium after quarterbacking Utah State in 2006, kept the Cougar hopes alive passing for 335 yards and a fourth down, 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Foote with 2:36 remaining in the game.
With a 20-14 lead, San Jose State anticipated a BYU onside kick, but a well-executed kick and the Cougars superior size on their kick cover team led to a successful recovery at the BYU 46-yard line.
Nelson kept the Cougars' final drive alive dodging a San Jose State pass rush for a fourth-down, 17-yard pass play to wide receiver Cody Hoffman that left BYU at the Spartans' 29-yard line. A Nelson pass completion to Ross Apo moved the Cougars eight yards closer.
Then, linebacker Keith Smith came up with his second sack of the game and forced Nelson to fumble for the third time. Linebacker Vince Buhagiar recovered the loose ball and three plays later, San Jose State had its ninth win of the season.
The Spartans close out the 2012 regular season, Saturday, November 24, hosting Louisiana Tech, in a ESPN2 game with a 7:30 p.m. start time. Both teams still have a chance at sharing a Western Athletic Conference championship if Utah State loses to Idaho earlier in the day.