San Jose, Calif.----- There are signs of progress on the scoreboard for the San Jose State University football team. For the last 30 minutes of its Homecoming game against Fresno State, the Spartans outscored the Bulldogs, 10-6.
A Spartan defense that was on the field for 49 first-half plays turned it around in the second half limiting Fresno State to two field goals, 63 yards of total offense and three first downs.
And, it appears San Jose State is seeing the development of freshman Tyler Nevens as a hard-charging running back able to get tough yards on the ground. He finished with 99 yards on 21 carries and helped set up the Spartans' one touchdown with determined runs.
As positive as those things are, first-quarter mistakes plagued the Spartans again in a 27-10 loss to Fresno State in a Mountain West conference game.
San Jose State threw a pair of interceptions in the opening quarter -- the first by wide receiver JaQuan Blackwell on a trick play into the wind and the second by quarterback Josh Love. Fresno State did not turn Blackwell's intercepted pass into points immediately, but used field position exchanges and a Ronnie Rivers 15-yard run for the game's first touchdown.
After Juju Hughes intercepted Love on the Spartans' third possession of the game, the Bulldogs (3-2, 2-0 Mountain West) marched 53 yards on six plays. Rivers made it 14-0 with his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run.
The Spartans were unable to sustain any offense in the first half with just three first downs. San Jose State finished with a season-low 205 yards of total offense. Love was 15-of-25 with an interception for 97 yards.
Fresno State took a 21-0 lead into halftime when Josh Hokit scored from 1-yard with 0:35 to go.
San Jose State scored the only touchdown in the second half on its second possession of the third quarter. Nevens was in the middle of a nine-play drive with four runs, two for first downs. A Love to Josh Oliver pass in the right flat from 6 yards put the Spartans on the scoreboard and in striking distance, 21-7, with 6:24 to go in the third quarter.
Neither team would reach the end zone the rest of the way, but Spartan Bryce Crawford made three times in the last four weeks kicking a field goal of at least 50 yards when he converted from 51 yards against a prevailing breeze to trim the deficit to 24-10.
Fresno State's Jimmy Camacho, who booted a 38-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, closed out the scoring with a 50-yarder of his own.
San Jose State (1-6, 0-3 Mountain West) hopes to build off of its second half as it gets ready for its October 14 game at Hawaii.