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.
PROVO, Utah — Saint Mary's knows all about the raucous atmosphere at BYU. The Gaels hadn't won in Provo since 2013 and had only come out on top in three of their previous 12 trips.
Make it four out of 13.
Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and No. 22 Saint Mary's cruised to a 70-57 victory over BYU on Saturday night, snapping a three-game road losing streak to its West Coast Conference rival.
"It's definitely one of the tougher places to play for us," Hermanson said. "Coming in here we know it's a huge crowd and we know they can get riled up on any 3-point shot or any run they make. We wanted to try to limit their runs and their big plays.
"The second half was pretty unbelievable how quiet the crowd was. It felt great for us."
With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Gaels (24-3, 14-2) clinched a second-place finish in the conference standings behind top-ranked and undefeated Gonzaga.
Saint Mary's controlled the game most of the night, riding its staunch defense on one end and running efficient offense on the other. The Gaels were able to get to the rim consistently, but also knocked down 10 3-pointers.
BYU (19-10, 10-6) shot 39.7 percent from the field and connected on four 3s.
Evan Fitzner had 15 points for Saint Mary's, including 11 in the second half.
"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, "and were able to get some separation and then it made it tough on them. We kind of just wore them out after that.
"We're a little different team with Fitzner out there. He spaces the floor," Bennett added. "We just play a little different with Fitzner out there versus Jock (Landale). It's nice to have a Plan A and Plan B."
Saint Mary's took a 41-30 lead into halftime thanks to Hermanson's hot shooting and plenty of that trademark defense. The Gaels began the day ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, then held the Cougars to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Saint Mary's shot 57.1 percent at the other end, including a 3-for-4 effort from Hermanson from behind the arc.
"I feel like we're better than we showed tonight," BYU guard TJ Haws said. "That team made a lot of runs on us. Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined.
"I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."
BYU kept Landale under control in the half — and in foul trouble throughout — but Saint Mary's scored 22 of its 41 first-half points in the paint.
Eric Mika had 18 points for BYU, and Yoeli Childs added 13.
"The key to the game was that they were comfortable the entire time in our gym," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That's on us. We need to be ahead. We need to get them to speed up a little bit because they're a little bit uncomfortable.
"But the game went pretty much exactly how they wanted it to go and we couldn't flip it. We couldn't get on top."
Saint Mary's: The Gaels will be the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. No. 1 Gonzaga secured the regular-season title Saturday with a win over Pacific. An early December defeat to UT-Arlington is the Gaels' only bad loss this season, with the other two coming against Gonzaga.
BYU: The Cougars likely needed a win against the No. 22 team in the country to make an argument for the NCAA Tournament off their regular-season credentials. BYU has lost all three games against ranked opponents by double digits, including to Saint Mary's twice, and doesn't have a signature win. The Cougars get one last chance against Gonzaga next Saturday.
No. 22 Saint Mary's might find itself moving up a bit after No. 17 Florida State and No. 21 South Carolina lost on Saturday.
Saint Mary's: Travel to face Pepperdine on Thursday.
BYU: Play at Portland on Thursday.
STANFORD -- Dorian Pickens scored 23 points, Reid Travis had 19 with nine rebounds and Stanford held on to beat California 73-68 on Friday night.
Marcus Allen added 11 points for the Cardinal, who overcame an early 12-point deficit to beat their cross-bay rivals for the 21st time in the last 24 meetings between the two teams at Maples Pavilion.
Stanford (13-13, 5-9 Pac-12) won for only the second time in seven games and split the season series with California.
Pickens had nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as part of a 20-5 run in the second half when the Cardinal pulled away.
After California closed within 62-56 on Grant Mullins' 3-pointer with 4:54 remaining, Allen made two free throws and Pickens scored on a jumper from the free-throw line as he was falling backward onto the court.
Jabari Bird scored 23 points and set a career-high with seven 3s for the Golden Bears (18-8, 9-5). Ivan Rabb added 16 points and 13 rebounds after being slowed by foul trouble in the first half.