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Film Study: San Jose State evens conference record with win over New Mexico

Behind 405 passing yards from Josh Love and strong defense, the Spartans took care of business at home

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Tulsa at San Jose State Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In this week’s edition of the Mountain West Connection’s Film Study, we take a look at how the San Jose State Spartans defended their home field last Friday night with a 32-21 win over the New Mexico Lobos.

San Jose State’s win can be chalked up to three things: quarterback Josh Love gashing the New Mexico defense in the passing game, San Jose State’s defense stepping up to the challenge and New Mexico’s six turnovers.

Josh Love

Love, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior, completed 66 percent of his passes (24 of 36) for 405 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He gashed the Lobo defense for chunk plays, completing nine passes of 15 yards or more in the first half and 11 for the game. Here are a few of those plays:

On the play below, San Jose State comes out in 11 personnel (one back, one tight end) and brings freshman wideout Isaiah Hamilton (82) in motion to the boundary. That action draws up the New Mexico safety, which in turn creates open grass for junior wideout Tre Walker to sprint through. Not many Mountain West defensive backs can keep up with Walker in a foot race. Love throws a perfect pass:

On the play below, the Spartans are in 12 personnel with two tight ends. Junior tight end Derrick Deese (87) does a great job of two things:

  1. He understands the down and distance, which is third-and-11. So he runs his in route to the first down sticks.
  2. Deese, a 6-4, 235-pounder, fights through the redirection effort of New Mexico linebacker Alex Hart (33). Love has to double clutch, but was still able to find the window before it closed, because Lobo linebacker Alexander Vainikolo (30) nearly got his hand on it:

On the play below, Love throws a first-down completion to Walker, who simply wins a one-on-one ball over 5-10 corner Donte Martin just before the safety, Jerrick Reed, gets there to help.

See how Love pump faked the out route to the slot at the bottom of the screen? That route and pump fake combination manipulated the field safety, Reed, making him stop his backpedal and take a step towards the slot receiver, which in turn created a little more room for Walker to operate one-on-one against Martin:

On the play below, Love finds 6-foot junior wideout Jaquan Blackwell for a successful back-shoulder throw for another first down, this time out of 10 personnel. Simply put: there’s not much a corner can do to defend a play that’s executed this well. The ball placement and timing couldn’t be better:

On this play below, it seems that New Mexico’s defense had a breakdown. San Jose State comes out in 12 personnel and has running back Dejon Packer run a wheel route from the backfield.

To me, either the boundary corner needed to pass off Walker, the boundary receiver who took an inside release up the field, or safety Letayveon Beaton (15) needed to stick with Packer the entire time.

Beaton totally whiffing on his jam at the line of scrimmage probably didn’t help matters, but he showed great effort chasing down Packer:

On the play below, San Jose State comes out in 11 personnel, with 6-3, 236-pound senior tight end Brett Foley running a switch route with the No. 2 receiver to the field side.

The No. 2 receiver runs a slant, which creates a natural rub on Foley’s defender. Foley runs a seam route up the middle of the field and Love puts the ball on him while his defender trails from having to get around the slant:

The play below was the first of Love’s two touchdown passes. The offense comes out in 12 personnel and runs mesh with the two tight ends, who cross each other at the goal line.

Watch the wheel route from the running back, Packer, which draws the attention of both the safety, Kameron Miller, and the field corner. Someone messed up, and it left a big hole for the 6-5, 245-pound tight end Bill Humphreys to sit in:

On Love’s second touchdown pass, an 80-yarder to Bailey Gaither out of 12 personnel, Gaither takes advantage of the inside leverage he owns and runs away from the outside-leveraged corner on a post route. Gaither’s speed won this battle:

San Jose State defense

Love’s second touchdown pass that we just looked at came on the first play following a takeaway from the San Jose State defense, specifically an interception from senior corner Brandon Ezell, who had two of the four Spartan picks on Friday night.

It looks like the San Jose State rolls into a Cover 3 look just before the snap. The 6-foot Ezell wins the one-on-one ball:

The play below is San Jose State’s third interception, this one from lanky 6-2 corner Nehemiah Shelton. Maybe New Mexico quarterback Sheriron Jones was trying a back-shoulder throw, but Shelton got his head turned around early, located the ball and picked it off:

New Mexico mistakes

You’re not going to win many games when you’re minus-five in the turnover department, and Lobos head coach Bob Davie would be the first to tell you that.