A month ago, standing at 1-5, San Jose State’s chances of reaching bowl eligibility were in grave doubt.
Now, suddenly, the Spartans have a chance of reaching the Mountain West championship game.
Their 42-18 rout of Fresno State on Saturday night means the Spartans (5-5 overall) need only to win one of their two remaining games to become bowl-eligible. They play San Diego State (3-7 overall) on Saturday at Spartan Stadium and finish on the road at UNLV (8-2) on Nov. 25.
Coach Brent Brennan will hear of none of this.
“All we will care about is San Diego State,” he said after Saturday night’s rout of a team that had been ranked in the Top 25. “If we start thinking about other stuff and looking down the road, we’re not good at that. That doesn’t work for us.”
Looking down the road anyway, the Spartans are now 4-2 in the Mountain West, tied with Fresno State and Boise State. Ahead of them at 5-1 are Air Force and UNLV.
The top two teams in the Mountain West play for the conference championship on Dec. 2 at the home of the first-place team.
Multiple scenarios could put the Spartans in the conference championship — just as many, if not more, could leave them out — but the direct route is for SJSU to win out and hope Air Force does the same.
No easy task, not even for Air Force (8-2, 5-1) The Falcons, coming off losses to Army and Hawaii, host UNLV on Saturday and finish at Boise State (5-5, 4-2).
Fresno State (8-2, 4-2) has the softest schedule remaining. The Bulldogs are home against New Mexico (3-7, 1-5) and finish at San Diego State, also 3-7, 1-5.
To be continued — if the Spartans take care of business Saturday.
RUSHING INTO THE RECORD BOOKS
Kairee Robinson has another huge game Saturday, rushing for 200 yards and two touchdowns to tie the SJSU single-season rushing touchdown record of 15 held by Deonce Whitaker (2000) and Johnny Johnson (1988).
He also became the first player since Tyler Ervin in 2015 to have a 200-yard rushing performance.
And he did both of those things against the Spartans’ arch-rival.
“I definitely don’t try to look at the numbers or anything like that,” Robinson said. “But for me, this is always a big game so it definitely feels good.”
Robinson needs 81 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
‘Absolute loyalty’ rings as true to members of the 1990 San Jose State football team now as it did then
San Jose State Spartans rout Fresno State 42-18 for fourth straight win, move closer to bowl eligibility
San Jose State Spartans chasing bowl eligibility, end to losing streak vs. Fresno State in rivalry game Saturday
Mountain West power ratings: Fresno State on top after Air Force loss; Hawaii climbs (yes, Hawaii)
Women’s college basketball preview: The outlook for all six Bay Area teams
AN ANSWER AT WIDE RECEIVER?Brennan has been scrambling to find production from the wide receiver spot since losing Justin Lockhart before the season began.
He might have found it Saturday night with Malikhi Miller and Isaac Jernagin, a pair of juniors both catching touchdowns.
Lockhart, an all-conference player in 2022, was lost to an undisclosed injury that required season-ending surgery. Nick Nash stepped into Lockhart’s role as the No. 1 receiver, but nobody has stepped up behind Nash.
Nash led the Spartans with four catches for 66 yards Saturday, but Miller was next with two catches for 43 yards including his 25-yard touchdown.
“I think at this time of the year, to be the team you want to be, you have to get contributions from everybody,” Brennan said. “It’s not just a ‘hey let’s just go out there and trust the players everybody knows.’ You need everyone to contribute.”