After starting the new season with a dominating victory over the University of San Diego, the Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season to FBS opponent the San Jose Spartans in a 59-3 one-sided affair on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. at CEFCU stadium in San Jose, California.
The Mustangs (1-1) struggled from kickoff, giving up a fumble that allowed the Spartans to get on the board early with a field goal.
On the next drive, the Mustangs fumbled once again on second down at their 33 yard line. Two plays later, Spartan quarterback Chevan Cordeiro fired a 27-yard pass to his tight-end Sam Olson on a go-route. This score put the Spartans on top, 10-0 in only six minutes of total gameplay.
After the Mustangs went three-and-out on their second drive, the Spartans scored in two minutes and went ahead 17-0 by the end of the first quarter.
Entering the second quarter, there was a lightning delay for approximately 45 minutes.
Later in the second quarter, a Spartan linebacker delivered a big hit to quarterback Sam Huard. In an attempt to get right back up, Huard appeared to have been favoring his left hip.
After the game, Mustangs’ head coach Paul Wulff said that his new quarterback was fine despite the hit.
“He’s fine,” Wulff said. “He took a few hits out there but generally speaking he’s doing fine”.
After drawing a roughing of the passer penalty on a fourth down to get the team at its 44-yard line, Huard was intercepted after forcing it to a double-teamed receiver.
Two minutes into a drive where the Mustangs’ secondary was being picked apart, the Spartans extended their lead to 24-0 after a 10-yard run by running back Quali Conley.
The Mustang’s special team unit also struggled. After failing to recover an onside kick from the Spartans, the Mustangs gave the ball back to an offense that had just extended their lead to 31-0.
The Mustang’s defense sacked the Spartans quarterback on the first play of this drive. Defensive lineman Antonio Vakameilalo sacked Cordeiro for a nine-yard loss. However, the sack which was the lone highlight for the Mustang’s defense was not enough on this drive.
On fourth down with seven yards to go, Cordeiro connected with wide receiver Charles Ross on a fade route. The Spartans went up 38-0.
Before halftime, the Mustangs had a little over two minutes to attempt to score. After good runs from running back Mark Biggins and some good short passes from Huard, the team was able to get a 24-yard field goal by kicker Noah Serna as time expired.
Wulff felt that this two-minute drive went as smoothly as possible for his struggling offense.
“We just converted on some third downs,” Wulff said. “That’s what you have to do if you want to move the ball and we were able to do that on that drive.”
Heading into halftime, the Mustangs added their lone score of the game.
The second half for the Mustangs was just as rough as the team went scoreless for the rest of the game. Their first drive of the half ended in a three-and-out. After punting it back to the Spartans, the special teams unit allowed a 75-yard punt return by Spartan receiver Matthew Colemen.
The Spartans extended their lead to 59-3.
Mustangs linebacker Ethan Calvert, who led the defense with a career-high 12 tackles believes that the team’s slow start had a lot to do with the blowout loss.
“We gotta play faster,” Calvert said. “We had a slow start and we never bounced back from that.”
The Mustangs have an opportunity to bounce back on Sept. 16, as they will host Lincoln University at 5 p.m. in Mustang Memorial Field.