Utah State runs all over SJSU in 49-27 romp

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Utah State runs all over SJSU in 49-27 romp

BOX SCORE

Seventeen second-quarter points looked to keep SJSU within reach of Saturdays game against Utah State, but the Aggies played a convincingly dominant game on both sides of the ball through all four quarters and outscored the Spartans 21-7 in the second half to claim a 49-27 victory.With Western Athletic Conference standings implications on the line for both teams, Utah State came into Spartan Stadium and showed all in attendance why they are the better team. The Aggies (5-2, 1-0 WAC) sacked SJSU (4-2, 0-1 WAC) quarterback David Fales 13 times for a loss of 102 yards and out-gained the Spartans 212-4 on the ground.We have to find a way to fix it, said head coach Mike MacIntyre about the alarming number of sacks in the game. We knew they had a good front but it should not have been like that. I thought they would have a few sacks but not that many.Fales, who finished the game with 467 yards on 38-of-50 passing and three touchdowns, said the high number of sacks was a communication issue.Obviously the sacks were a big part of this game, he said, but if you get sacked 13 times you got to communicate better and make adjustments. Well look at the film and come back better next week.They threw a couple different looks at us, but it was all similar stuff. They just kept getting good jumps at us.With the score at 28-20 in favor of Utah State at halftime, the Aggies began the second half with a vigor that showed they didnt want to let SJSU climb back into the game whatsoever. An 86-yard touchdown run from running back Kerwynn Williams on the Aggies third play of the second half a 3rd-and-1 situation set the tone for the rest of the game for Utah State.Neither Williams nor the Aggies looked back from the instance Williams was handed the ball for the long touchdown run. The conference-leading rusher finished the game with 176 yards on the ground on 15 rush attempts and added three touchdowns.Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton also had a substantial input on the outcome of the game. Keeton passed for 273 yards and rushed for another 47. The main ingredient for Utah States and Keetons success no sacks allowed.I knew it coming in that 16 (Keeton) and 25 (Williams) would make plays so we worked and worked to stop them but we didnt do enough, MacIntyre said.Despite coming back from a 28-3 deficit with 9:26 remaining in the first half to bring the score to 28-20 at halftime, the Spartans second-half performance looked like the team that allowed Utah State to jump out the early lead.Keeton tacked on a 28-yard touchdown run on Utah States second possession of the second half, adding to the ferocious ground game Williams exhibited with his 86-yard strike. Williams also added a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to close the games scoring at 49-27. By games end, Williams had 176 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.Theyre good together, said defensive end Travis Johnson. They are tricky with the handoffs and have good communication and execution. We just didnt do it today.SJSUs only glimmer of hope came from scores on three straight possession to close the first half as strongly as the team played through the first two quarters. A three-yard touchdown pass from Fales to wide receiver Kyle Nunn brought the score to 28-10. A defensive three-and-out stop lead to a SJSU drive that resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Austin Lopez followed on the teams following possession to make it a 28-13 score.With 1:18 left in the first half, SJSU took over and methodically moved the ball down the field, attacking the right sideline with passes that allowed receivers to get out of bounds and stop the clock.Fales finished the drive on 8-of-8 passing to four different receivers with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Noel Grigsby wit 0:24 left in the first half. By halftime, Fales was 21-for-24 passing for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns.Utah State came out in the first quarter firing with all cylinders on both sides on the ball, and thats putting it lightly. SJSU was able to move the ball into the Utah State red zone, gaining 67 yards on its opening drive but was held to a field goal by Austin Lopez. The Spartans accumulated just six more net yards the rest of the quarter, due mainly to three first-quarter sacks by the Aggies on Fales.Utah State scored on each of their first two possessions both on passes from Keeton. The first went to wide receiver Chuck Jacobs for a 17-yard strike, the second to wide receiver Matt Austin on a five-yard pass.The start of the second quarter was just as grim if not, worse for the Spartans. On Utah States first play from scrimmage of both its drive and the second quarter resulted in a 50-yard touchdown run by Williams, who went nearly untouched on his way to the end zone.The Aggies kept pouring it on as they scored on their fourth consecutive play to begin the game, the first time the team has done so this season. A 21-yard pass from Keeton to wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen brought the score to 28-3 with 9:26 left in the second quarter.It wasnt happening today, said defensive end Travis Johnson. Were going to keep working and come back next week.Wide receiver Noel Grigsby, who caught 11 passes for 181 yards and vaulted into number one on SJSUs all-time receiving yards list, called the loss a slap in the face.We need to get better we have a group of guys that all think that way, he said. We dont want to ride the roller coaster, wed come back the same even if we won. Well be OK.

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

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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.