San Jose State Spartans Beat Utah State For First Time Since 2008

Oct 21, 2023, 8:28 PM | Updated: Oct 23, 2023, 1:05 pm

LOGAN, Utah – In what has become a weekly right of passage, Utah State fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. Despite rallying for a halftime tie, San Jose State pulled away down the stretch in a 42-21 win.

Utah State (3-5, 1-3) saw its postseason bowl chances take a hit with the loss to San Jose State (3-5, 2-2) on Saturday, October 21.

RELATED: Utah State Not Going Away Quietly, Jalen Royals Finds End Zone

In his first start since late September, McCae Hillstead looked rusty after missing two games due to a concussion. Hillstead threw two interceptions on his way to 160 yards and two touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes. Jalen Royals led Aggie wideouts with four catches for 60 yards and his tenth TD of the year. USU’s running game never got untracked with Davon Booth leading the way for 43 yards on 11 carries.

MJ Tafisi Jr. led Utah State with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Ike Larsen was the only other Aggie with double-digit tackles, finishing with ten stops.

Chevan Cordeiro completed 15-of-20 passes for 119 yards and three scores. Kairee Robinson gained 102 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown for the eighth consecutive game. Former Utah Tech running back Quali Conley gained 74 yards and scored twice. Robinson, Nick Nash, and Charles Rogers caught touchdown passes for the Spartans.

First Quarter

After USU won the toss and deferred, SJSU didn’t waste any time marching 75 yards in 3:15 before Quali Conley rumbled ten yards for a 7-0 Spartan lead. Micah Davis fumbled the kickoff and it was recovered by the Spartans at the 15-yard line.

RELATED: McCae Hillstead Will Start For Utah State In Return From Concussion

The Aggie defense responded by forcing their 14th turnover as a unit on a Chevan Cordeiro fumble that was recovered by junior defensive end Blaine Spires.

RELATED: Dye, Spires Combine To Create First Quarter Turnover For Utah State

After a penalty kept the drive alive, Hillstead committed the Aggies second turnover of the period with an ill-advised throw that was intercepted by Jordan Pollard.

The turnover battle continued when SJSU’s Kairee Robinson had a fumble recovered by Devin Dye. Mj Tafisi Jr. forced the fumble for USU. The two teams had combined for four turnovers in less than nine minutes of game time.

The Aggie drive ended with a Ryan Marks punt from deep in their side of the field.

Taking over at the USU 39-yard line, San Jose State needed seven plays before Cordeiro rolled out and hit Robinson for a TD. The Spartans led 14-0 with 1:o3 left in the period.

USU finished the opening period with three total first downs and 49 yards of offense to go with their two turnovers. Cordeiro was a perfect 6-of-6 for 48 yards and a touchdown for the Spartans. Cordeiro also gained 29 yards on the ground in the quarter.

Second Quarter

Hillstead drove the Aggies into Spartan territory for the first time, using his legs and his arm to pick up a handful of first downs. Rahsul Faison finished the drive with a five-yard scoring plunge to bring Utah State within seven at 14-7.

RELATED: Rahsul Faison Finds End Zone For Utah State Aggies, Cuts Spartan Lead In Half

Momentum stayed on USU’s side when a 48-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left to end a ten-play Spartan drive.

Davon Booth came on as the primary running back on the Aggies next drive, gaining 23 yards on the ground before Hillstead found Davis with a strike across the middle for a 25-yard touchdown. The extra point tied the score at 14 with 3:32 left in the half.

RELATED: Micah Davis Touchdown Brings Utah State Even With San Jose State

San Jose State gained 183 total yards compared to 176 yards for USU. Three different Aggies had a first-half sack.

Third Quarter

A holding call negated a 37-yard completion and caused the Aggies opening drive of the second half to end in a punt.

Another penalty, this time defensive pass interference, extended the Spartans next drive. Cordeiro took advantage with a long scramble to give SJSU first-and-goal. Conley then finished the 73-yard drive with an eight-yard scoring run, his second of the day, to give his team a 21-7 lead.

San Jose State wrested momentum and possession back when USU came up empty on fourth-&-two from their own 34. Six plays later, Cordeiro’s second TD pass led fullback Charles Rogers into the end zone, giving SJSU a 28-14 lead.

The Spartans’ first sack of the night forced USU into fourth-&-long to start the fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Hillstead’s second INT hit Jay’Vion Cole between the numbers, giving San Jose State a chance to put the game away with 10:34 left. The Spartans took a 35-14 lead with 9:03 left when Cordeiro hooked up with Nick Nash for a 29-yard scoring strike.

After Hillstead cut the lead to 14 with a TD pass to Jalen Royals, San Jose State rolled through the Aggie defense for a back-breaking touchdown to make it 42-21 with 2:07 left.

After a Utah State punt, the Spartans ran out the clock for a 42-21 win.

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State (3-5, 1-3) enjoys their first and only bye of the season this week. USU’s next game will be against San Diego State on Saturday, November 4. Kickoff time for this game has not been announced.

Utah State football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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San Jose State Spartans Beat Utah State For First Time Since 2008