San Jose State Trounces UNLV 40-7

San Jose State Trounces UNLV 40-7



Spartans continue to roll; Rebel’s Brumfield hurt



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Sometimes the games don’t live up to the hype.  In what was billed as a showdown between the top two teams in the West division of the wide open Mountain West Conference, San Jose State answered the bell.  UNLV, however, looked as though they set their alarms for a Saturday kickoff instead of one on Friday night.  The result was a thorough 40-7 whipping that puts the Spartans in the driver’s seat for a berth in the conference championship game.

On a perfect night for football at CEFCU Stadium, San Jose State unveiled yet another offensive weapon, as backup tight end, Dominick Mazotti, filled in for regular starter, Sam Olson, and proceeded to haul in 7 catches for an even 100 yards and the first touchdown of his career.  Mazotti had a total of two grabs for 15 yards on the season entering Friday night.  UNLV seemed determined to not let the dangerous wide receiving core of the Spartans beat them, mixing in double coverage and safety help to take Elijah Cooks and others away.  That may work against an inexperienced quarterback, but not against the red-hot Chevan Cordeiro.  Cordeiro, the reigning Mountain West Conference offensive player of the week, simply went through his progressions to take what was open–often Mazotti in the middle of the field.  He also scrambled for multiple first downs, sliding down at opportune times to avoid the fate of his counterpart.

One of the reasons for the excitement around the contest was the matchup of the top two quarterbacks in the conference, Cordeiro and UNLV’s Doug Brumfield.  Unfortunately, the Rebels signal caller took a couple of hard shots to the ground and was seen headed back to the locker room late in the first quarter, never to return.  Even prior to his exit, the Spartans D was up to the task in a dominating first quarter, denying the Rebels on all three of their 3rd down attempts, and frustrating Brumfield to a 1-6 start for a measly 8 yards.  Though the scoreboard only read 7-0 at that point, San Jose State was on the move again, and would soon punch in their second TD of the night—a Cordeiro keeper on a zone read, an effective play all night long.  What transpired next effectively sealed the result: Cameron Friel was pressed into action due to Brumfield’s exit, and the early returns were disastrous.  On his second play, the shotgun snap sailed over his head, and the Spartans recovered.  One play later, Cordeiro was in the end zone on another QB keeper, and while the PAT was missed, at 20-0 and facing a backup quarterback, the Spartans were all but in the clear.

The Rebels followed with their best drive of the first half, aided by a trick play, to get into the red zone.  Any future comeback hopes were likely extinguished when head coach, Marcus Arroyo, bypassed a chip shot field goal and was denied on 4th and goal.  The Spartans followed with one more solid drive to finish the half, capped off by Taren Schive’s career long 43-yard field goal and a 23-0 lead at the break.  Cordeiro ended the half with 180 total yards, and Kairee Robinson added 61 yards rushing, on only 9 carries, for an average of seven yards per rush.  Offensive coordinator, Kevin McGiven, called a great first half, keeping the Rebels D off-balanced and frankly looking lost.  Head coach, Brent Brennan, did not have much to harp on during halftime other than keeping his troops charged up for the final 30 minutes.   

The second half was much of the same, until Brennan lifted off the gas and went conservative against his good friend Arroyo.  The first two San Jose State drives of the half ended with points (a short Schive FG and then the Mazotti TD reception) to make it 33-0 and a full-on rout.  The Rebels followed with their lone scoring drive of the night, aided by two Spartan personal fouls–a Friel to Senika McKie 14 yard toss late in the third.  The scoring was capped by a beautiful Cordeiro rope to Cooks on a slant route for 20 yards.  

For the third straight game, the Spartans virtually doubled up their opponents in total yards and first downs–difficult to do unless you’re Alabama.  They’ve also done it in different ways and with contributions from many on the roster.  Tonight it was Mazotti’s turn, while the wide receivers drew much more attention from the defensive game plan.  But it all starts of course, with Cordeiro, the early clubhouse leader for player of the year in the conference.  He accounted for 339 total yards and 4 TD’s in a first place showdown.  There are not many more impactful transfers across the country at this point in the season.  The massively improved offensive line play since the bye week cannot be overlooked and is a testament to the coaching staff.  Also not to be forgotten is the defense.  Yes, they benefited from Brumfield’s early exit, but they put together a great start before that, and much like the offense, the key plays are coming from a variety of emerging stars each week.  

San Jose State will now get an extra day of rest before another big division matchup, at struggling Fresno State next Saturday night.  The Bulldogs are in Boise this weekend for a Saturday night battle against the Broncos.  For the Rebels, much will hinge on the health of Brumfield, as they enter a tough two game stretch–home against Air Force and a trip to Notre Dame.  There are still a lot of football games to be played, but the Spartans find themselves in the position of frontrunner and are showing no signs of slowing down.  


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Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire