David Fales (left) of the SJSU Spartans - USA TODAY Sports
Future MWC member the San Jose St. Spartans overcome sluggish first half to defeat the Bowling Green Falcons Thursday afternoon in the Military Bowl in Washington D.C.
In Washington D.C., quarterback David Fales led future Mountain West Conference team the San Jose St. Spartans to 10 unanswered fourth quarter points as the No. 24 Spartans rallied to defeat the Bowling Green Falcons 29-20 Thursday in the Military Bowl at RFK Stadium.
Fales completed 33-of-43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns for the game and led the drive that set up Austin Lopez's 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining in the game as SJSU completed a turnaround season that saw the school finish with its first 11-win season since 1940.
The game was largely a defensive struggle in the first half as the two teams’ defensive units managed to hold their respective offenses at bay. The Spartans limited Bowling Green (8-5) to a pair of Tyler Tate field goals in the first half. Fales gave SJSU the lead with a 33 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Nunn with 10:05 left in the first quarter to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons closed to 7-6 on Tate’s second field goal to begin the second quarter. The Spartans closed scoring in the sluggish second quarter with a 36-yard Lopez field goal with 1:40 left in the second quarter to take a 10-6 halftime lead.
Bowling Green took a 13-10 lead at 12:05 of the third quarter when Anthon Samuel score on a seven-yard touchdown run.
The game took a turn for the Spartans when they blocked a punt on a fourth and seven at the Bowling Green 24-yard line with 4:14 left in the third quarter. The blocked ball bounded through the end zone to give SJSU a 13-12 lead, which they augmented two minutes later on an 18-yard pass from Fales to Chandler Jones to give the Spartans a 19-13 lead.
Bowling Green took their final lead with 10:26 left in the game on a one-yard touchdown run by John Pettigrew, giving the Falcons a 20-19 advantage.
Bowling Green finished with 264 yards of total offense, 159 coming from quarterback Matt Schilz, who completed 16 of 35 passed. Pettigrew led the Falcons with 59 yards rushing on seven carries and one touchdown.
SJSU managed 380 yards of total offense and finished with negative-15 yards rushing. Eskridge led San Jose St. with 33 yards rushing on 13 carries. Noel Grigsby finished with 134 yards receiving for SJSU on nine receptions.