Now bowl-eligible, the SJSU football team has only one item on its list: Pile on the wins to bolster its resume for potential bowl suitors come seasons end.The Spartans (7-2, 3-1 WAC) travel to Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday to take on New Mexico State (1-8, 0-4 WAC) and try to improve on their best season through nine games since 1987.New Mexico State completes a four-week series of fairly worry-free opponents for the Spartans before their final two testy weeks of the season against Brigham-Young University and Louisiana Tech. The Aggies, though, are no easy opponent, said SJSU head coach Mike MacIntyre.They got good players that can hurt us they just kind of stubbed their toe in a couple games, he said.MacIntyre alluded to the past two weeks of the season, in which the Aggies showed tough play and a high level of competitiveness at times. On Oct. 27, New Mexico State outscored conference-best Louisiana Tech 14-0 in the fourth quarter but lost 28-14. Last week, the Aggies traveled to Auburn, Ala. and held Auburn scoreless in the first quarter.The Aggies big-time playmaker is wide receiver Austin Franklin, who is 11th in the nation in catches per game with 7.11 and third in receiving yards per game with 124.3. MacIntyre has been preparing his team all week to make sure Franklin doesnt find open field in the secondary.The coaches have been making sure were watching film to show us (Franklins) ability, said safety Bene Benwikere. He definitely has a lot of ability, has great hands and runs great routes. We just need to make sure we stay focused and play the coverage were supposed to.MacIntyre compared Frankling to SJSUs-own wide receivers Noel Grigsby and Jabari Carr for his ability to get up and snag passes in the air.They throw it up to him when people are on him and he makes plays, MacIntyre said. The best way to distract him is to get to the quarterback. Were deifnitely going to to know where he is and have some stuff in place but they have time hes going to make catches.New Mexico States offense features two quarterbacks, Andrew Manley and Cayle Chapman-Brown, that run the option as well as standard passing formations. The Aggies run game is led by Germi Morrison, who has 530 rushing yards on 110 carries this season.We cant worry too much about No. 4 (Franklin) so much that they run the ball on us, MacIntyre said.Last week at Idaho, SJSU experience two glaring negatives in the game that the team wishes to wash away come Saturday. The first mistake, a fumble by David Freeman on the games opening kickoff, ended up showing MacIntyre a side of the team he was excited to see. He liked the fact that the Spartans were able to take back the momentum after Idaho immediately scored to take an early 7-0 lead.Would I ever want another game to start that way? No, he said. But to see us go through that and handle it and come out on the other side of it was a good thing.The other negative from Saturdays win was the running game, which has been inconsistent this entire year ranking 114th in the country at 109.6 yards per game.SJSU rushed for just 85 yards on 29 carries on Saturday against Idaho but MacIntyre said hes not worried if the passing game, which ranks ninth in the nation in yards per game, can continue to play the way it has.We want to try and keep a little bit of a balance but we said throw the balance out the window and start throwing every down and when we did that it was over, he said.Running back DeLeon Eskridge, the teams leading rusher, said the team will call whatever plays it needs to get a win.There was a wide-open passing game and it was working so well for us so we went with it, he said in regard to the victory over Idaho. Whatever is going good we use.
SJSU looks to add another win to bowl resume
November 9, 2012, 2:05 am