Spartans rout Colorado State 40-20


Spartans rout Colorado State 40-20

SJSU accomplished its goal of both starting fast and finishing strong Saturday night with a 40-20 win over Colorado State. What happened between the beginning and end, however, may still an area of concern for the Spartans.The Spartans scored on their first two possessions of the game and then outscored Colorado State 27-7 in the second half but fizzled in the second quarter and early in the fourth quarter to allow the Rams to get back into the game despite the early 14-point Spartan lead.We started off fast then let them come back, head coach Mike MacIntyre said following the game. They schemed a couple things but we got it fixed and it did not hurt us again. That is the great thing about having a great staff and a lot of veterans.A flurry of late fourth-quarter scores, however, gave SJSU the win and its first 2-1 record since the 2008 season. With the score at 27-20 early in the fourth quarter after allowing a touchdown following a break for Rams after a ball punted by SJSU touched one of its own players on the punt team, the Spartans started pouring it on.The first fourth-quarter score came on a trick play pass from junior wide receiver Kyle Nunn to junior Chandler Jones. Nunn received the handoff from junior quarterback David Fales and started on an end around then pulled up and fired to a wide open Jones, who found the end zone thanks to a much-needed downfield lock from Noel Grigsby. The touchdown made the score 33-20 with 9:39 left in the game.That play reassured everyone that we had momentum, Jones said. We had to keep fighting tonight and we had to dominate. That play was reassuring to our offense.After a three-and-out by Colorado State, SJSU found the end zone for the final time in the game with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Fales to Jones at the 7:56 mark in the fourth.(Coach MacIntyre) always emphasizes that we need to have killer instinct, that we have to be consistent with our offenses attack, Fales said about the 51-yard touchdown to seal the victory. That is how we got that touchdown.On their first possession of the game after receiving the opening kickoff, the Spartans came out nearly as aggressive as they possibly could have. SJSU methodically moved the ball down the field using both the pass and run while putting all of its offensive tools on display including junior backup quarterback Blake Jurich out of the wildcat. The eight-play, 83 yard drive was capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Fales to Grigsby.After forcing a punt on Colorado States first drive of the game, SJSU came right back and continued to apply early pressure against the Rams. The first play of SJSUs second drive of the game resulted in a 51-yard pass from Fales to Grigsby, the longest pass play of the season by the Spartans. Fales completed another pass, this time to Nunn, and then the SJSU run game took over. A 10-yard run from sophomore Tyler Ervin gave SJSU a 14-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first quarter.That really got us going and gave our offense a lot of confidence, MacIntyre said about the two early first-quarter scores. Colorado State came back but we kept on going.It was a gallant effort by everyone. We battled back and have been able to go at it the first three game but there is No say die on this team.SJSU, however, then seemed to let its foot off the gas just slightly and allowed Colorado State to crawl back with two touchdowns of its own in the second quarter. After starting their drive at their own 21 yard line. Three straight completions by Grayson and then a 16 yard run by Grayson delivered the Rams another touchdown. A fourth quarter touchdown pass from Garret Grayson to Charles Lovett also showed that the Rams still had life in the game but ended up being too little too late. Grigsby, Jones and Jabari Carr all finished with more than 100 yards receiving Saturday night. Jones led all receivers with 133 yards on six catches and was tied with Carr at two touchdown receptions apiece.The man who delivered them the ball, Fales, had an incredible game himself. Fales finished with 370 yards passing on 27-of-34 passes and three touchdowns.I have not coached anyone who has had such a great start to their major college career, MacIntyre said. Our receivers catch everything that is throw to them.Junior middle linebacker Vince Buhagiar, who led all Spartans with 11 tackles said it always feels good to win but tonights win will only be shortly celebrated.It feels great but we understand that this is oneweek and tomorrow, we will make our corrections and come in and prep for San Diego State.MacIntyre had similar comments to Buhagiars regarding Saturdays win.We will enjoy the win tonight, then get back and beat San Diego State, he said. They are a fellow CSU and this game is a big deal for us. We are excited about this rivalry and we will go out and give it all we got.
Ron Gleeson will cover San Jose State football for Comcast SportsNet all season. Follow him on Twitter @rtgleeson.

Stanford star McCaffrey boosts NFL Draft stock with special teams skills

Stanford star McCaffrey boosts NFL Draft stock with special teams skills

INDIANAPOLIS -- More and more college coaches are putting their starters and even their stars on special teams as they seek to pile up every possible point in an era of pedal-to-the-metal shootouts and never-safe leads.

Fading fast are the days when superstars would catch their breath on the sideline when the kicker or punter trotted onto the field with the scrubs.

NFL teams love it.

Watching how players handle themselves as a blocker, gunner or returner provides a glimpse into a prospect's range, selflessness and versatility. It also delivers a sneak peek into how coachable he'll be, says Phil Savage, the SiriusXM NFL Radio host who spent two decades as an NFL coach, scout and executive and now oversees the Senior Bowl.

"I think because of the landscape of college football where scoring is at a premium, you've got to figure out a way to put points on the board not only on offense but through your special teams and defensively, as well," Savage says. "These coaches want to get these young players on the field as soon as possible, and a way to do that is utilize them on special teams."

These tapes provide a bonus to pro scouts.

"Now you have a vision of what that player might forecast to in the NFL as a young player and, specifically, as a rookie," Savage said.

Offensive and defensive coaches have a better idea of the types of players they're integrating into their schemes, and special teams coaches no longer get blank stares and blank canvases from the rookie class.

"Not only do you like the fact that they come in and have experience doing it, but you love the mentality if you're a coach and a decision maker that this guy isn't a diva, he's got no ego about it, he understands the team and puts team before self," says ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay.

"And he comes in with the mindset of 'What can I do to help the team and how can I contribute?' Those are the guys that seem to make it and last longer in the league because they're just willing to do different things and whatever it takes."

The prime example in this year's draft class is Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey , a "dynamic player than can do it all," according to Broncos GM John Elway.

McCaffrey gained more than 5,000 yards from scrimmage in his college career and added almost 2,000 more as a returner.

"There's just a lot of big plays open in the return game," McCaffrey says. "You see special teams have such an impact on the game today. Any time I can have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can do something dangerous, and that's really why I love the return game."

Other highly touted draft prospects who polished their resumes on special teams include Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers, LSU safety Jamal Adams, Washington wide receiver John Ross, and USC cornerback Adroee' Jackson, all of whom are projected as high selections.

McShay says "we're seeing more and more programs put an emphasis on special teams and having their key players contribute in one or more areas on special teams."

He pointed to Ohio State, where Urban Myers coaches special teams himself.

"It's a major emphasis there, and so you'll see some more guys typically lined up and contributing that are starters and stars," McShay says. "It's an honor to be on special teams."

Not a burden.

"It is not uncommon now to see people that are going to be picked in the first round having 100-plus special teams plays," suggests NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt.

He pointed to the University of Florida, where Gators defensive backs cover kickoffs as well as they do receivers.

"Everyone's always trying to get their best guys on the field," Brandt says.

That's a change from years past when coaches feared exposing their star players to the extra hits.

The added value benefits the players, whose multiple talents allow NFL general managers to address many needs.

"We're seeing more emphasis on it in college, and I think NFL teams love to see it because if just means you're getting a bit more for your buck," McShay says.

Top talents who bolstered their value by playing special teams:

CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY , RB, STANFORD: He shined at the combine working out with the running backs and was as impressive running routes. Asked if there was anything he couldn't do, the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey said then: "I can't sing."

JABRILL PEPPERS , S, MICHIGAN: He worked out with safeties and linebackers at the combine, where teams talked of him playing RB and WR in addition to returning kicks. "The bottom line is I'm a ballplayer and I'm a hell of a ballplayer," Peppers said.

JOHN ROSS , WR, WASHINGTON: He caught 81 passes with 17 TDs last season but actually posted more return yards (2,069) than scrimmage yards (1,924) in his college career.

ADOREE' JACKSON , CB, USC: One of the best special teams coverage players in the NCAA, Jackson also scored eight TDs on punt and kick returns in college. His punt return averages rose from 6.0 yards to 10.5 and 15.8.

JAMAL ADAMS , S, LSU: Another star in coverage, Adams' defensive mentality extends to special teams. "I love being on the field and just playing football," said Adams, whose father, George, was a first-round pick by the Giants in 1985.

ALVIN KAMARA , RB, TENNESSEE: In a deep running back group, Kamara separates himself with his special teams acumen. "A lot of teams have been bringing up special teams," Kamara said.

DESMOND KING , CB, IOWA: He had eight interceptions as a junior and three as a senior. "I had a really good special teams season," King said. "Not being targeted as much, I still went out there and competed the best I could and was still making plays."

CHRIS WORMLEY , DE, MICHIGAN: Wormley touts playing for Jim Harbaugh as one of his attributes. "Coach Harbaugh came in and ran our program like an NFL program, like he had with the 49ers," said Wormley, who blocked three kicks his senior season.

ZAY JONES , WR, EAST CAROLINA: Like McCaffrey, he has good NFL bloodlines (son of Robert Jones, brother of Cayleb Jones). He caught 158 passes as a senior, but spent his first two seasons in college also making his mark as a returner.

Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft


Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Josh Jackson declared for the NBA draft on Monday after one of the best freshman seasons in Kansas history, one marked by plenty of highlights on the floor and a few distractions off it.

The 6-foot-8 swingman, who is considered a certain lottery pick, was the Big 12 newcomer of the year after averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. He helped the Jayhawks to a 31-5 record and its 13th straight regular season Big 12 title before losing to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson signed with former NBA player B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group.

"After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball," Jackson said in a statement Monday.

"I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas," he said, "and I look forward to starting my career in the NBA."

Jackson was the nation's No. 1 recruit when he signed with the Jayhawks out of Prolific Prep Academy in California. He immediately earned a spot in the starting lineup, teaming with national player of the year Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham to form one of the nation's top backcourts.

With natural athleticism and ability to slash to the basket - not to mention defensive chops that are rare among freshmen - Jackson quickly established himself as one of the nation's top draft prospects.

His importance was never more evident than in the Big 12 Tournament, when he was suspended by coach Bill Self following a series of off-the-court issues. The top-seeded Jayhawks stumbled in a quarterfinal loss to TCU, ending their run at the conference tournament before it really began.

He returned for the NCAA Tournament and played well in wins over UC Davis, Michigan State and Purdue, but was hamstrung by foul trouble and managed just 10 points in a season-ending loss to the Ducks.

Jackson's suspension came following an incident outside a Lawrence bar in December, when a member of the Kansas women's basketball team got into an altercation with Jackson's teammate, Lagerald Vick.

Jackson followed the woman to the parking lot and the woman said he kicked her car and caused hundreds of dollars in damage. He pleaded not guilty last week in Douglas County District Court to one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property and a trial is scheduled for May 24.

His attorney, Hatem Chahine, said he was planning to file for diversion.

Jackson also was ticketed in February after he struck a parked car and fled the scene, and that drew Self's ire when he didn't tell his coach about the incident until several weeks later.

His decision to declare for the draft came a week after teammate Svi Mykhailiuk announced he would skip his senior season. But unlike Jackson, the 6-8 sharpshooter has not hired an agent and could withdraw his name by May 24 and return to the Jayhawks.