SJSU passing game to lead favored Spartans on Saturday

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SJSU passing game to lead favored Spartans on Saturday

Last Saturday in San Antonio, the San Jose State University football team captureda decisive 52-24 victory over UTSA while assuming the role of the favored teamand battling a large crowd at the Alamo Dome. This Saturday, the team will faceanother longhorn opponent in Texas State for the first timein school history and like a week ago, the Spartans are the favorite towin.I dont know if the kids knowif theyre favored or not, thats all done by bookies, head coach Mike MacIntyre said. All wecare about is what we do on the football field. We are excited about playing Texas State.Whether the team or coachesrealize the team is favored or not, the notion of being the better team on thefield is something the Spartans will have to recognize not only this weekendagainst the Bobcats but over the next three weeks with games against Idaho and New Mexico Stateto follow.I hope thats something theyrenot thinking about, MacIntyre said about the idea of the team resting on itslaurels while playing a somewhat inferior opponent. If they are, thats notwhere we want to be.Games like the one against UTSA,the 45-13 trampling of UC Davis or even the 40-20 win over Colorado Stateon Sept. 15 are giving the Spartans the opportunity to keep their feet on theiropponents throats while maintaining the large lead.Weve been very fortunate thisyear to have a couple games in hand and our kids have Put on more steam tomake sure we kept it in hand, he said. Thats something we try to talk about,try to work on, try to enforce because in the past we didnt always do that.This Saturday at Spartan Stadiumwill most likely shake out as another opportunity for SJSU to jump out to anearly lead and pin their opponents to the ground while continuing to amasspoints on the scoreboard. The Bobcats are an FCS team playing their first roadgame within the Western Athletic Conference theres no surprise SJSU is thefavorite to win.MacIntyre, though, gives creditto the Texas State offense that ranks fifth in theconference in yards per game, adding that the SJSU will need to be in good formto stop the Bobcats.Their option offense is veryformidable and can make a lot of things happen, he said. Our defense is goingto have to be very sharp and on top of its game to be able to slow them down.Offensively, Texas Stateis led by quarterback Shaun Rutherford, who ranks fifth in the conference andtwelfth nationally in pass efficiency with a rating of 161.7. SJSU, however,counters and one-ups the Bobcats with its own prolific quarter back in DavidFales, who leads the conference and is tenth in the nation in the samestatistical category with a 166.4 passer rating.MacIntyre had nothing but praisefor Fales, who was sacked 13 times in SJSUs 49-27 loss to Utah State,for not allowing the hits to get to his head even though he was not sacked oncelast week against UTSA.When asked if Fales mindsetbehind center changed after being sacked so many times two weeks ago, MacIntyreresponded: Not one bit.Its interesting because youdthink he might (change his mindset) but it didnt change him whatsoever,MacIntyre said. He never batted an eye in the game, not one time. Never showedany disgust or even think about it, he just went back into the game. I thinkthats a credit to his toughness and how humble a leader he is. Hes not an ego guyat all and he just wants to do whatever he can to win. The kids the reallyrespect him and I think that really helped the offensive line because he trustand believes in them.MacIntyre is concerned that Texas Statespass rush may be able to get to Fales on Saturday despite ranking last in theconference in sacks.Offensively, we have to containtheir pass rush, he said. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback.Along with its star quarterbackto counter Texas States,the Spartans have the best pass defense in the WAC to help stop Rutherford. SJSUs 40th-ranked pass defense in the nationis allowing just 211.1 passing yards per game.MacIntyre is confident that theSJSU passing game can once again take over the game if the running gamestruggles. SJSU averages 100 yards rushing per game, compared to Texas States162. The Spartans gained just 91 yards on 32 rush attempts and were outgained onthe ground by UTSA.Of course wed like to run theball better and hopefully we can but theyre good on defense so if they stopthe run well throw the football, he said.Expect the running backs to takea back seat to both teams passing attacks Saturday. The ball is sure to beaired out quite a bit and look for Fales to outperform his counterpart.

Former Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam dies at 42 years old

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AP

Former Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam dies at 42 years old

BOULDER, Colo. — Authorities say 1994 Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam has been found dead in a Colorado park.

The Boulder County coroner's office said Tuesday that it was still investigating the cause of the death of the 42-year-old Salaam.

The body of the one-time running back was found Monday at Eben G. Fine Park in Boulder.

Salaam led Colorado to one of its best seasons in 1994, when the Buffaloes went 11-1.

He had a terrific rookie season with the Chicago Bears in 1995, rushing for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns.

But he only scored three times in the next two years and he played his last game in 1999 with the Cleveland Browns.
 

Jackson, Watson headline five 2016 Heisman finalists

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USATSI/AP

Jackson, Watson headline five 2016 Heisman finalists

NEW YORK -- Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second consecutive season, joining Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Oklahoma teammates Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.

The finalists were announced Monday on ESPN and the award will be presented Saturday in New York.

Watson finished third in last year's voting, won by Alabama running back Derrick Henry. Just like last year, he heads to New York not as the favorite but as the contender coming on strong at the end. Mayfield finished fourth last season, but did not get an invite to Heisman presentation in New York.

Peppers is the first defensive player to be a Heisman finalists since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Teo was a distant runner-up to Johnny Manziel in 2012.

Westbrook and Mayfield are the first teammates to be finalists since Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart from Southern California finished first and third, respectively in 2005.

Finalists are determined by the margins between vote-getters. The ballots of more than 900 voters, which included former Heisman winners, were due Monday.

Watson entered as the preseason favorite in what looked like a strong field of contenders, but Jackson quickly swept past them all to be front-runner. He was brilliant for the first two months of the season and Louisville was looking like a College Football Playoff contender.

It seemed as if Jackson would be a runaway Heisman winner, but the 15th-ranked Cardinals lost their final two games of the season. He was sacked 11 times in a lopsided loss at Houston and he committed four turnovers in a last-second loss against Kentucky.

Watson, meanwhile, has surged since Clemson's only loss to Pitt in mid-November. He also had the benefit of playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game last Saturday and took full advantage of the spotlight. Watson threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores in a 42-35 victory against Virginia Tech to seal a spot in the College Football Playoff.

The raw numbers still favor Jackson, who is second in the nation in total yards per game (410.7) and has accounted for 51 touchdowns (21 rushing TDs and 30 TD passes) with 13 turnovers (nine INTs and four lost fumbles) in 12 games. Watson averages 341.8 yards per game and has 43 touchdowns (six rushing and 37 passing) with 15 turnovers (all interceptions) in 13 games.

When the two met on Oct. 1 at Clemson in what was one of the season's most entertaining games, Watson threw for 306 yards and five touchdowns, ran for 91 and was picked off three times. Jackson had 295 yards passing, 162 rushing and accounted for three touchdowns with one interception. Clemson won 42-36.

Mayfield and Westbrook have been a dynamic combination, and late in the season No. 7 Oklahoma started a dual campaign to promote both for the Heisman. Mayfield is on pace to break the NCAA record for passer efficiency rating in a season (197.75). Westbrook has 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns and has more receptions covering at least 20 yards (26) than any receiver in the country.

Peppers played defense, offense and special teams for Michigan, lining up all over the field.