Spar­tans leave Utah bruised and bat­tered fol­low­ing blowout loss

The Mercury News - - College Football Replay - By Jon Clif­ford Cor­re­spon­dent

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.

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