San Jose State Holds Off Pesky UNLV To Improve To 4-0

San Jose State Holds Off Pesky UNLV To Improve To 4-0

Mountain West Football

San Jose State Holds Off Pesky UNLV To Improve To 4-0

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San Jose State Holds Off Pesky UNLV To Improve To 4-0


Spartans are 4-0 for the first time in 65 years.


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Spartans show strength in victory.

San Jose State is having one of its best seasons in a very long time and head coach Brett Brennan is finally seeing those growing pains pay off. The Spartans are 4-0 after defeating UNLV 34-17 and it was a hard-fought win for San Jose State.

First off, some history. The Spartans have not been 4-0 since 1955 where things were very different in the country 65 years ago.

This game was closer than the final score indicated as UNLV was able to match scores with the Spartans but San Jose State was up 10-3 and then 17-3. The Rebels showed resilience in making it a one-score game late in the third quarter.

San Jose State was able to use its depth to overpower the Rebels who could not make a substantial drive in the fourth quarter or stop the Spartans. UNLV ended up punting on its final three drives.

Spartans QB Play

The Spartans welcomed back Nick Starkel who left the San Diego State game after a gruesome hit, and he had a solid game by completing 17-28 passes, 274 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.

It was not a 400-yard game and Starkel was not exactly thrilled with his performance.

“I would not grade myself very well,” Starkel said of how he played. “Not satisfied with how I played. I played below par. I’m going to be my toughest critic. I’m never going to let somebody else go harder at critiquing me than I will myself.”

Starkel had a few miscues and one that could have been a game-changer came with a near pick-six at the end of the first half by Rebels Aaron Lewis who made a great break on the play but couldn’t come down with it.

San Jose State was leading 17-10 and that pick-six could have tied the game. The Spartans regrouped and scored a touchdown on that drive to go up 24-10 instead of a potential 17-17 game at the half.

That rebound just shows the resilience of this Spartans team is by going down and scoring a touchdown to basically wrap up the win.

Sack Attack

The defense is a huge reason they topped the Rebels with seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss in the victory.

The defense made strong strides as the game went on by not allowing UNLV to score any points in the fourth quarter. Also, holding UNLV’s Charles Williams to just 55 yards was a key factor in the victory.

Running Game

Back to the San Jose State offense, the ground game stepped up big for the Spartans as the passing game was good but not great. Backup QB Nick Nash led the team with 94 yards on eight attempts and Tyler Nevens broke out at 35-yard run en route to 45 yards.

Having Nash be the leading rusher is not great for future wins or success this year but a good mixture of him and other backs are needed to keep this undefeated streak going.

UNLV Is Not That Bad

The Rebels 0-4 record might be a bit exaggerated due to some bad luck or very fixable errors. In this game, defensive pass interference was an issue and penalties overall that hurt the Rebels chances. The Lewis near pick-six could have made a huge difference but it fell short with the dropped ball.

The Rebels still have issues at quarterback as Max Gilliam was benched over TCU transfer Justin Rogers who ended up going 12 of 18 for 162 yards and a touchdown. Perhaps, Rogers is the QB of the future to help Marcus Arroyo get his first win sooner than later.

There are positives in this game in the passing game and keeping pace on the ground game in the middle parts of this game between the second and third quarters. Depth is an issue and something that needs to be worked on to help get this UNLV competing late in games. Rebels will have to wait another week for its first win of the year.


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