SAN JOSE — After the San Jose State football team played against their opponent in a season-opening victory over Portland State and against their opponent in a narrow loss at Auburn fans must have wondered which Spartans team they would see in their gloriously hot non-conference game against Western Michigan on Saturday night at CEFCU Stadium.
Turns out it was good. Very well.
It was only fitting that rapper MC Hammer was among the 17,058 fans in attendance, as the Spartans defense basically told the Broncos “you can’t touch that” when it came to the end zone. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro passed for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns, running back Kairee Robinson ran for a pair of scores and Taren Schive scored a pair of field goals as the Spartans cruised to a 34 win -6.
“It was a great win for us against a very good, solid football team, and I’m excited about what this team is doing right now,” Spartans head coach Brent Brennan said.
SJSU (2-1, 0-0) looks to continue its stellar play in its Mountain West Conference opener at Wyoming on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Cowboys (3-2, 1-0) are looking to rebound from a 38-24 loss to No. 18 BYU.
Western Michigan’s only score came on a 90-yard kickoff return from Sean Tyler in the third quarter. By then, the Spartans were already on cruise control with a 24-0 lead.
“It builds confidence as the season progresses and we put in more work,” said Cade Hall, a Spartans defensive lineman. “I think a lot of that too is realizing our own potential and trying to use that to build confidence. I know we have a fantastic group of guys and a fantastic set of coaches, and I think more we play, the more we believe in it.
SJSU had 397 total rushing yards on 52 plays and was 4 of 5 on red zone scoring opportunities.
The Broncos (1-3) were held to 201 yards on 63 plays. Freshman Mareyohn Hrabowski and sophomore Stone Hollenbach passed 8 of 14 for 71 yards. Tyler rushed for a team-record 66 yards on 18 carries. Western Michigan was 6 of 15 on third conversions and 0 of 3 on fourth conversions.
“I thought our defensive front was fantastic,” Brennan said. “These fourth saves that we had, we treat them as turnovers. These are forced reversals. We get the ball back on this game. Some of them are tough, aren’t they? fourth and meter or two, short distance stuff. I thought our defensive line and our linebackers were outstanding. Our defense all day today was excellent.
Junior safety Chase Williams and first-year linebacker Jordan Pollard each had eight tackles to beat the hard-hitting Spartans. Pollard recorded an interception and linemen Hall, Lando Gray and Noah Lavulo recorded sacks.
Schive gave SJSU a 3-0 on its second offensive series, after the Spartans squandered Cordeiro’s 82-yard completion to sophomore receiver Justin Lockhart.
The Spartans didn’t have to go far for their second scoreline. They took over at WMU’s 38 after a 15-yard punt return, and seven plays later Robinson scored from 5 yards out.
SJSU pushed their lead to 17-0 when Cordeiro connected with Elijah Lock on a 13-yard pass to the left back corner of the end zone to cap an eight-play, 77-yard drive. Lock made a leaping catch on cornerback Keni-H Lovely. The drive was aided by a 19-yard reception from Charles Ross, despite the interference, and a 15-yard run from Robinson.
The Spartans receivers have shown a knack for battling through contact to make the big receptions. Ross fought off safety Delano Ware on a pass down the middle for a 39-yard reception in the third quarter, which was good for a 24-0 lead.
Robinson added 23 yards in the fourth quarter and Schive added his second field goal to complete the scoring.
The Spartans were a happy bunch after their victory, which came while wearing their new black “City Night” jerseys, a collaborative effort with the City of San Jose. The Spartans sported metallic decals on their black helmets, and their numbers, shoulder logo, and “San Jose” and “SPARTANS” featured on the front and back of their jerseys, respectively, reflected under the bright lights.
The jerseys have been a hit with the players.
“All black, you can’t go wrong with that,” Cordeiro said. “When you look good, you play good.”
Hall, a Morgan Hill native who previously played at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, was proud to wear the new uniforms.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’ve lived here all my life and have a lot of love for the town and its people. It’s really amazing how the football program and the city of San Jose are trying to come together. You attend major programs across the country and everyone, regardless of city, goes to the games. I want San Jose State to be that for San Jose, for everyone in the city to go to the games and make it part of the city’s identity. I think we took a step in the right direction by doing that tonight.
SJSU 34, West Michigan 6
Next: SJSU in Wyoming
When: Saturday, 4.30 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network