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San Jose State losing streak against Utah State extends to nine games


San Jose State traveled to frigid Utah hoping to wash a bad loss off against a struggling conference foe. Despite a second-half comeback, the Spartans couldn’t overcome an early deficit and lost 38-31 on Saturday night in Logan.

The Spartans have lost three of their last five games and extend their losing streak against Utah State to nine games dating back to 2008. The Spartans move to 6-4, 4-3 in Mountain West Conference play.

The Spartans started off hot, taking less than two minutes to score on their opening drive. Chevan Cordeiro found Elijah Cooks for a 36-yard touchdown reception. But a blocked extra point kept it 6-0.

That momentum continued with a Trey Jenkins pick of Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas, taken into Aggies territory at the 40-yard line. But Cordeiro was sacked twice and the Spartans went three and out. It set the tone for most of a listless first half.

The Aggies controlled the possession game in the first half and piled on 21 unanswered points. First, the Aggies went on a 96-yard scoring drive that ended with a Calvin Tyler 14-yard rushing touchdown to make it 7-6.

A Cade Hall sack forced a Utah State three-and-out on their next drive, but they answered with a 12-play rebuttal with Tyler scoring a four-yard touchdown to extend their lead to 14-6. San Jose State’s vaunted defense that allowed 19 points on average per game heading into Saturday was wearing down. The hole only got deeper with Ike Larsen’s blocked punt run back for a touchdown to make it 21-6.

Meanwhile, the Spartans’ offense punted on four consecutive dries, unable to keep their defense off the field.

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But the Cordeiro had plenty of fire left to burn. Cordeiro found Justin Lockhart for a 30-yard pass, then Cooks for a 29-yard touchdown answer to cut their deficit to 21-13.

San Jose State opened up the second half with a fumble recovery converted into a field goal. The Aggies added on with a 19-yard touchdown to Justin McGriff.

But Cordeiro and Cooks were in lock step, connecting for a 20-yard reception on third-and-1, then a nine-yard touchdown reception to make it 28-23. It was Cooks’ third touchdown reception of the night.

With under a minute left in the third quarter, Chase Williams picked off Legas for the Spartans’ third forced turnover of the night.

A one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jackson Canaan with just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter — capped off with a successful two-point conversion — gave the Spartans their first lead, 31-28.

The Aggies answered with a nine-play drive for Tyler’s third touchdown of the night to make it 34-31 with just under three minutes to go.

The Spartans got the ball back with two-and-a-half minutes to play, but came a yard short of making a final drive, unable to convert on third-and-1, then on fourth-and-1 when Cooks couldn’t wrangle a quick slant.

 

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