The best season in San Jose State football history? There’s a good case for it, yet it’s one nobody could make if the person with the awkward role of interim, on-the-way-out coach hadn’t finished the job.
The Spartans are done for the year with an 11-2 record. Ten wins go to Mike MacIntyre, who rebuilt a program that was 1-12 just two years ago before leaving this month for a better payday at Colorado. Win No. 11 goes to defensive coordinator Kent Baer, who was put in charge and got to speak in a victorious locker room after Thursday’s 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
“I didn’t cry, but I wanted to,” Baer said. “I stood tall, took a couple of deep breaths. It’s been a little emotional the last few days.”
Baer wanted to stay at San Jose State, but he was passed over for the full-time job in favor of San Diego’s Ron Caragher and plans to follow MacIntyre to the Buffaloes. With all those distractions going on, the ?No. 24 Spartans could be forgiven for being a little rattled ahead of their first bowl game since 2006.
Instead, San Jose State, in the national rankings for the first time since 1975, capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940.
Quarterback David Fales, who led the nation in completion percentage in the regular season, started strong and finished stronger in the wind and cold at RFK Stadium, completing 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns.
Fales led the drive that set up Austin Lopez’s 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining, and De’Leon Eskridge’s 1-yard run with 2:34 left provided the insurance.