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Spartans Fall To Cardinal 34-13

Red-zone woes sink San Jose.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the betting line wasn't so crazy after-all... San Jose played another somewhat conservative game against a very dominant Stanford team and lost. It felt like San Jose was playing competitively against the ranked #5 team in the first half, only being down by 11 points. But Stanford ground down both the offense and the defense and kept the Spartans scoreless in the 4th quarter. All in all, a somewhat typical Stanford victory.

What is somewhat confusing to me is why San Jose played so conservatively. Fales only threw for 216 yards, completing 29 of 44. The Spartans were getting little to nothing on the ground, and yet they kept hammering away at that stellar front 7 of Stanford's. Lot's of slants routes and quick passes, and none of those 30 yard spirals down field.

There were 3 major missed opportunities to score touchdowns (two in the 1st half, 1 in the second) that resulted in only two field goals for the Spartans and one 4th and out. On those three drives there was a nice tempo going, marching down the length of the field until they hit the Stanford 20 yard line but then were stonewalled. I think the Spartans are feeling the lack of Ryan Otten rather badly, as there is no tight end that is really able to open up the middle of the field and make catches over the heads of the secondary.

The defense missed some tackles. Some of it is due to Stanford's offensive line creating disruption, but the secondary missed a few too and Stanford's wide receivers made them pay for it. Stanford was able to convert 12 of 15 third downs mostly by just running up the gut. The Spartans also were not able to get to Kevin Hogan.

Penalties were also killer for the San Jose Spartans, they had 6 penalties for a total of 57 yards. They've gotta clean that up a bit.

Just in terms of first thoughts, I don't know if I can really feel too badly about this game. It was just sort of... vaguely disappointing. The Spartans were pushed around, but that was expected. They scored some points and they sure as heck put some fear into the Stanford crowd a few times.

Things I forgot at 1AM:
Oh Yeah, linebacker Christian Tago is back! He made his presence felt as much as it could against Stanford. In his first game of the season he recorded 4 solo tackles and 5 assists.

Oh Yeah, tight end Billy Freeman needs to develop a bit more as a receiver. He made 2 catches for 30 yards, but dropped a clutch pass on that 4th and out mentioned above (well, he had about 50 Stanford players draped over him, but still...).

Oh Yeah, 216 yards is David Fales' lowest passing yardage game EVER.