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MacIntyre: ‘They smothered us’

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It wasn’t a total disaster for San Jose State last night, but it was close.

The Spartans sprinkled a handful of bright moments into their 41-7 blowout football loss to Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.

After a first quarter of futility in which it netted just 17 yards from scrimmage, San Jose State (1-10) showed signs of life before halftime.

Still, offensive mistakes and the inability to slow down not only the Warriors’ high-powered offense but also their bull-rushing defensive front took its toll and the Spartans trailed 27-7 at halftime.

"They really smothered us," said San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre, referring to UH’s eight sacks on senior quarterback Jordan La Secla, including five in the first half and two on SJSU’s first possession of the second half. "No way should we be giving up eight sacks."

One of SJSU’s mistakes — La Secla’s ill-advised short pass deep in his own territory early in the second quarter — was a gift to the Warriors that the Spartans just couldn’t afford. Hawaii’s Aaron Brown stepped in front of the intended receiver to pick it off and return it 22 yards for a touchdown to put San Jose State in a 17-0 hole.

"That was a huge play for them," MacIntyre said.

La Secla atoned for his error by leading the Spartans on a 65-yard touchdown drive that he capped with a nifty pass to freshman receiver Noel Grigsby. It was a third-and-1 situation, and La Secla saw daylight as he rolled left. It appeared he would run for the first down, but instead he waited until Grigsby stealthily slipped behind a UH defender in the corner of the end zone and hit him for a 21-yard TD.

"That was a simple wheel route that we run in practice all the time," said Grigsby about SJSU’s only TD. "The coach dialed it up, the line gave protection and we executed it."

Grigsby’s 64 receiving yards represented more than a third of San Jose State’s total of 164.

One more golden chance for the Spartans in the second quarter didn’t pan out. Sophomore safety James Orth stripped the ball away from UH’s Kealoha Pilares after a reception and Keith Smith recovered and returned it 34 yards to Hawaii’s 35.

SJSU sophomore cornerback Ronnie Yell also added to his team’s short highlight reel in the second quarter with an interception and 45-yard return. But the Spartans did not capitalize on that, nor did they get any mileage out of Orth’s third-quarter interception and 38-yard return.

"I wish we could have run them in," MacIntyre said about the failed chances. "We had some opportunities to put points on the board. It should have been about 17-17 at halftime, but it wasn’t."

Orth, a converted wide receiver, now has three interceptions.

"We’ll try to get past it and focus on the next game and do the best we can," Orth said. "Hawaii’s a good team with weapons all over the place."

 

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