Wow. I started taking notes in the first quarter for a typical Stanford GB&U, but I had to pretty much throw those notes away, because after the first quarter this was a much different game.
With that done, let's get on to the GB&U; as always, feel free to add on in the comments.
- David Freaking Fales. The Fales era begins in (IMHO) outstanding fashion, with a stat line of 24-35-216-1-1. That's a QB rating of 124.12, and that's against Stanford. Do also keep in mind that Fales' stat line was victimized by several key dropped balls (at least three come to mind). On several occasions, Fales ate the ball for a sack rather than forcing a ball into an iffy situation, and he was able to show some mobility without having happy feet in the pocket. Simply put, that's the best rookie performance by a Spartan QB I've seen since Steve Clarkson.
- SJSU's second-half run defense. Stanford rushed 19 times, and got 39 yards on the ground in the second half.
- The Road Crowd. Perhaps it was just the field mike placement, but even Ted Robinson and his pro-Furd compatriots were wondering why it was that SJSU's crowd in the corner was easier to hear and seeming louder than the Stanford contingent. Of course, that happened just after SJSU tied the game, so the enthusiasm level at that time probably had something to do with it. However, it was nice to hear the "SAN...JOSE" chant on the PAC-12 network feed coming out of commercial. Eventually the LSJUMB had to take matters into their own hands (with lots of indistinct horn blowing and uncoordinated drums).
- Drops, drops and more drops. When you're in passing situations (ya know, like late in the fourth quarter, deep in your own zone, driving for a tying field goal, etc.), it's generally helpful not to drop the damn ball, especially when your QB hits you in the hands. I believe Jabari had a couple as well as Noel. Upperclassmen need to make their catches in pressure situations.
- Ryan Otten, the Forgotten Man. When you have a weapon like Otten, only getting the ball to him three times in the game (twice successfully) is a straight-up sin. Unless the Furd was keying on him (which I didn't see, but I may be mistaken on that), you need to figure out a way to get one of your best players the ball.
- Stanford's third-down conversions. If y'all are going 2 of 13 on third down versus SJSU, you are going to get pummeled in the PAC. Just sayin'.
- PAC-12 Network color announcers. Teddy Ballgame is a pro's pro; he wouldn't be doing the 49'ers if he wasn't. But his color guy and his field announcer (couldn't catch the names) may as well have been wearing the Tree costume while they were on the field or in the booth.
The Ugly: There really wasn't much ugly to this game. It was an evenly fought out game, and SJSU gave as good as they got. One team had to walk out of the stadium with a win, unfortunately it was the other guys.
Overall: Coach Mac said it best in his post-game interview:
Q: What sort of second half adjustments did you make?
A: Catching the football. When we caught the football, we moved it. When we dropped it, we didn't.
In a nutshell, that's the story of this game. The SJSU Defense (on multiple occasions) put the offense in a position to win the game, and some ill-timed drops and brain farts led to Stanford escaping with this win.
Some would call this a "statement" game, holding even with the #21 team in the land. I would go on to state that next week, against UC-Davis, is the statement game. It'll be easy for our kids to get up for this game and play out of their heads, like they did tonight after the end of the first quarter. Where the true depth of the team is demonstrated is what happens after a disappointment like this, going into a game against a FCS squad at home to (possibly) an underwhelming crowd. It is imperative that SJSU not make the mistake that Idaho made on Thursday night in taking their opponent lightly, or believing that just being in FBS is the ticket to a win against an FCS squad. UCD beat us the last time they were in our house - we need to pound on them mercilessly, if for no other reason than to avenge in small part the bitter aftertaste of that 1-win 2010 season.
Our guys done us proud last night - nothing really to complain about on a macro level. But now's the time to get to work.