San Jose State Misses On Opportunities In 24-7 Loss At Minnesota

Vince Buhagiar led the Spartans with 11 tackles and forced a touchdown-saving fumble. (Photo by Kym Fortino)
Sept. 20, 2014

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Minneapolis, Minn.----- In a game delayed 63 minutes by lightning and thunder strikes, the University of Minnesota's one-two punch of running back David Cobb and redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Streveler was the difference in a 24-7 non-conference football win over San José State University.

Cobb and Streveler, starting for injured quarterback Mitch Leidner, combined for 368 yards on 52 carries and three touchdowns. The Golden Gophers (3-1) gained 380 of its 387 yards on the ground and elected to pass the ball just seven times.

Though San Jose State (1-2) was not penalized and yielded its fewest points in a game against a Big Ten Conference opponent, the Spartans had and created chances to capture their first win over a Big Ten team in 12 years. However, two pass interceptions deep in Spartan territory, a second-half fumble inside the Minnesota 10-yard line and two missed field goal tries also prevented San Jose State from going over the .500 mark for the second time in 2014.

The Golden Gophers took advantage of two interceptions deep in San Jose State territory in front of the Spartans' sideline to score twice and take a 17-7 lead into halftime. A 38-yard Ryan Santoso field goal opened the scoring following a Damarius Travis pick in the right flat on the Spartans' first possession of the game. Minnesota back-up quarterback Chris Streveler closed out the first-half with a 1-yard quarter back sneak for a 17-7 lead after defensive back Eric Murray intercepted a Blake Jurich pass at the San Jose State 22-yard line with only 20 seconds before halftime.

Jurich was 14-of-29 with two interceptions for 161 yards and a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Winston. The Winston grab off a bubble screen trimmed San Jose State's deficit to 10-7 with 0:40 left in the first quarter. Wide receiver Tim Crawley had the big set-up play in the drive with a career-long 46 yard pass play and along with right guard Nate Velichko threw the key blocks that allowed Winston to weave his way through the Golden Gophers' secondary into the end zone.

The game was stopped for inclement weather at 5:31 p.m. (CT) after Forrest Hightower intercepted a Streveler pass at the San José State goal line and returned it to the 10-yard line with 11:38 remaining.

When play resumed, the skies cleared and the outcome still was in doubt. With the aid of a fourth-down penalty on Minnesota that kept the San Jose State drive alive, the Spartans gained a second first down before stalling at their 35-yard line forcing a Michael Carrizosa punt.

The Golden Gophers put the game away with a 10-play, 61-yard drive that consumed 5:48. Minnesota's only pass completion of the game, a 7-yard square-out to wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky on third down allowed the Golden Gophers to keep their drive alive and close out the scoring on a 16-yard run by Cobb.

Despite converting on 8-of-15 third down plays and not being penalized in the contest, San Jose State produced a season-low 254 yards of total offense. The Spartans took chances to score on a pair of 58 and 52 yard field goal tries by Austin Lopez who came into the game 2-for-2 from 50 or more yards in his career. Lopez's 58-yard kick in the second quarter sailed past the left upright and his 52-yard attempt in the third quarter was blocked.

San Jose State heads home to open Mountain West Conference play hosting the University of Nevada, Saturday, September 27, in a 7:30 p.m. (PDT) in Spartan Stadium. CBS Sports Network will televise the game nationally.