Spartans leave Utah bruised and battered following blowout loss
SALT LAKE CITY >> At some point last Saturday night, the goal was to simply get out of Utah in one piece.
San Jose State lost its starting quarterback and an already thin defensive front was a walking wounded by the end of the Spartans’ 54-16 blowout loss to the Utes.
Starting quarterback Montell Aaron left the game late in the first quarter with an apparent right knee injury, but former starter-turned-third-string quarterback Josh Love directed the offense to most of its 259 total yards and ended a 22-drive scoring drought with a 47-yard pass to Bailey Gaither in the second quarter.
The pass was one of few highlights on a night that saw multiple Spartan players helped to the sideline.
Already without injured starting nose tackle Sailosi Latu, his replacement Cameron Alexander left the game with a leg injury. Top tackler Frank Ginda and defensive end Bryson Bridges also missed time after being helped off the field in the second half.
The Spartans (1-3) pass defense was no match for Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley, who threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns – three to Darren Carrington. The Utes (30) finished with 501 total yards.San Jose State’s beleaguered run defense showed signs of life despite being depleted.
The Spartans forced two fumbles in the first half and held Utah to 160 rushing yards on the night. San Jose State entered the night allowing more than 300 yards per game on the ground.
The biggest concern, though, is the right knee of Aaron, who was injured on a scramble with 34 seconds left in the first quarter. Moments later he collapsed on the sideline as he tried jogging, and he spent the rest of the half on crutches.
Backup Sam Allen played three series after Aaron’s departure and the results were disastrous. Two interceptions on five pass attempts led to two Utah touchdowns and a call for Love. The San Jose State offense finally showed a pulse under Love, who lost his starting job to Aaron two weeks ago. The Spartans closed the first half with a field goal and TD for a 30-13 deficit.
Bryce Crawford made three field goals, including a career-best 50-yarder in the second quarter. His third of the night – a 38-yarder in the fourth quarter – extended his streak to 15 consecutive makes. Gaither had a career-high eight receptions for 125 yards. The Spartans committed five turnovers.