San Jose, Calif. - The San José State football team ran the ball effectively and played strong defense for the second week in a row, but dropped its Mountain West Conference home opener, 21-10, on Saturday night.
The Spartans (1-3, 0-1 MW) rushed for a season-high 170 yards and had a 446-to-256 advantage in total offense. The Wolf Pack's 256 yards were a season-low and nearly 180 yards less than their 433.3 yard average coming into the game.
In his first career start, junior quarterback Joe Gray went 32-for-46 for 276 yards and connected with nine different receivers. Tyler Winston led all receivers with eight grabs for 49 yards and Billy Freeman had 76 yards matching his career high of six catches.
However, Gray also threw two interceptions. The most crucial came with 9:06 to play in the fourth quarter and the Spartans trailing, 14-10. Defensive back Nigel Haikins jumped a route and took the ball back for a 27-yard touchdown giving Nevada (3-1, 1-0 MW) a 21-10 lead.
The Wolf Pack defeated the Spartans for the sixth consecutive time and started out with a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a 10-play 80-yard drive, which culminated in a Cody Fajardo 14-yard run to the right side. It was the first of two touchdown runs for the Nevada signal caller would have on the night.
San José State got on the scoreboard as the clock expired in the first half on a 32-yard Austin Lopez field goal and opened the second half with its only touchdown of the game.
Gray led the Spartans on a six play, 75-yard drive. Tim Crawley had 24-yard touchdown scamper up the middle to give the Spartans a 10-7 lead.
San José State held the Wolf Pack on its next two possessions, but gave up and 80-yard seven play drive which led to Fajardo's second touchdown run, a two-yarder around the right side at the 12:43 mark of the fourth quarter for a 14-10 lead they would never relinquish.
The Nevada offense failed to convert on any of its third-down situations, going 0-9 on the night, scoring on just two of its nine offensive possessions. Fajardo was held to a carrer low 64 passing yards on 10-of-18 attempts, but ran 64 yards, including his two touchdowns.
The Spartans host UNLV for Homecoming next Saturday, October 4 in Mountain West action. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 5:02 p.m.