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Mountain West Welcome: A San Jose State Primer

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Quarterback David Fales and the Spartans join the MWC in an official capacity in days. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.
Quarterback David Fales and the Spartans join the MWC in an official capacity in days. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Attention fans of the Mountain West:

On July 1, your conference officially expands to 12 football teams with the addition of San Jose State and Utah State

As a true fan, it is your responsibility to know the nature of your enemy. After all, you don’t want to be the guy sitting at the bar or at the game wondering where the Aggies or the Spartans came from. 

We’re here to help.

Here’s a cheat sheet to get you up to speed on the San Jose State Spartans.

Inaugural season: 1892

All-time record: 465-462-37

Home stadium: Spartan Stadium, capacity 30,456.

Rival: Fresno State (FSU leads 39-34-3)

Head Coach: Ron Caragher (1st season with SJSU)

Random fact: Fielding Yost coached one game at SJSU in 1900. The following year, he took the job at Michigan and went on to win six National Championships. 

Recent history: The Spartans were largely irrelevant in the 2000s with only a 9-4 season in 2006 to brag about before last year. Then David Fales showed up and changed everything. The JUCO transfer quarterback led SJSU to an 11-2 record and a 29-20 victory over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.

Player you need to be afraid of: Fales by a landslide. The senior QB threw for 4,193 yards, 33 touchdowns and completed 72.5 percent of his passes in his debut season. All of these numbers ranked Fales in the top 10 nationally. Fales is smart, accurate and he will carve up your defense like a Thanksgiving turkey if you don’t get pressure on him.

SJSU is sneaky good at:  Defense. WAC teams have never been known for their stout defenses, but the Spartans were pretty good. SJSU’s defensive unit ranked 24th in the nation by surrendering only 21 points per game last season. 

Sound like a TV analyst in front of your friends by saying: “Fales is great, but the Spartans' offense tends to be a little one-sided. They were 113th in the country in rushing yards per game last year and the ground attack didn’t look much better in spring practice. If our defense can generate a pass rush out of a nickel package, we can keep Fales and that offense in check.”

How good can they be? SJSU almost beat Stanford in Palo Alto last year, so they’re pretty darn good. The Spartans get West Division contenders San Diego State and Fresno State at home. If they can hold serve at Spartan Stadium, they’ll be playing for the MWC Championship on Dec. 7.

Now study up. There will be a pop quiz at the end of August.