After watching two potent offenses march up and down the field with ease in the first half, San Jose State coach Ron Caragher knew he needed to do something bold to get an extra possession in the second.
An onside kick to open the half accomplished just that and helped the Spartans get bowl eligible with their first win over a ranked opponent in 13 years.
San Jose State converted that surprise play into a touchdown and David Fales did the rest by throwing for a school-record 547 yards and six scores in a 62-52 victory Friday over No. 16 Fresno State.
“The way things were going, it becomes a matter of possessions with two offenses that were constantly scoring,” Caragher said. “It was executed to perfection. A huge thing to gain this extra possession.”
That combined with a fourth-quarter interception thrown by Carr proved to be too much for the Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 Mountain West) to overcome as they saw their hopes for a BCS bowl berth end with the loss.
Fales was every bit as good as the more heralded Carr, matching his six first-half touchdown passes and completing 37 of 45 passes in a performance that made the Spartans (6-6, 4-4) eligible to go to a bowl game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1986-87. The Mountain West has six bowl slots but could have eight eligible teams if Colorado State and Wyoming win today.
Carr threw for 519 yards and six touchdowns, but also had the fourth-quarter interception for the Bulldogs. Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 264 yards and three scores.
The loss ended Fresno State’s chances to beat out Northern Illinois (12-0) for a spot in a prestigious BCS game. The Huskies are the only undefeated team from a non-automatic qualifying conference.
“It’s hard,” Carr said. “Guys are torn up as well they should be.”
The Bulldogs will still play in the MWC title game next week.
(15) LSU 31, Arkansas 27: Backup quarterback Anthony Jennings lofted a 49-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural with 1:15 left, and the Tigers (9-3, 5-3 Southeastern) pulled out a tense victory over Arkansas (3-9, 0-8) at Baton Rouge, La. Jennings, a freshman, entered the game after senior starter Zach Mettenberger hurt his left leg in the fourth quarter, and the game came down to whether he could drive the Tigers 99 yards in the final 3 minutes.
(17) UCF 23, South Florida 20: Breshad Perriman scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles late in the fourth quarter to give the Knights a win over the Bulls at Orlando, Fla., keeping Central Florida on course for a conference title and BCS bid.