The motto of SJSU football, Start fast, finish strong, has become a staple of daily practice lingo and has been ingrained in the minds of every player on the team. The first line of the phrase, however, has not been accomplished by the Spartans yet this season.Head coach Mike MacIntyre has been working with the team on that exact goal before Saturdays game against Colorado State (1-1) at Spartan Stadium coming out in the first quarter with more intensity than the first two weeks of the season.After we won last week, a couple of our young men stood up and said We have to start faster, MacIntyre said following Thursdays practice. You cant stress it. If you bring it up too much everybody starts pressing.SJSU (1-1) has been narrowly outscored between the two first games combined at 24-17 but has stayed true to its motto by finishing strong and outscoring its opponents 45-9 combined in the second half. That differential includes a 14-3 second half against Stanford and a 31-6 scoring-fest on UC Davis in the third and fourth quarters.Sometimes other teams make plays early on but thanks goodness we have the ability to stay in rhythm if plays dont go well at first, MacIntyre said.Hopefully a week of practice that MacIntyre called intense and focused will help the Spartans to a 2-1 start for the first time since 2008 and overcome the Rams of Colorado State, a team that came so close to beating SJSU last season in Fort Collins, Colo. with a final score of 38-31.I think theyre a better football team than last year, MacIntyre said. They are really well coached, have great offensive minds. It is going to be a tough battle for us.Colorado State opened its season on Sept. 1 with a well-played 22-17 upset of rival Colorado. However, the Rams suffered an upset of their own at home to North Dakota State 22-7. While the loss was to the defending FCS National Champion, Colorado State did not look good at all. They were out-gained 366-243, including 188-72 on the ground.MacIntyre said the team is ready to readjust at any moment if the beginning of Saturdays game does not go as planned for the Spartans.Sometimes you go into the game thinking one thing, but then they take it away and you got to switch to something else, he said. Its a chess match sometimes at the beginning of the game. We have enough weapons to readjust.One of the teams best and most dangerous weapons on offense, Ryan Otten, is feeling much better and dealing with a lingering ankle injury. Senior offensive tackle and one of the teams captains, David Quessenberry, also should play Saturday after battling a right-ankle sprain. In addition on offense, SJSU will continue to use both senior DeLeonEskridge and freshman Tyler Ervin at running back.DeLeon and Tyler are what I call co-starters, MacIntyre said. It depends on different situations, depends on who has the hot hand. There are special personnel groups for each player.Kickoff on Saturday is set for 5:00 p.m., the final night game at home for the Spartans this season.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.
Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.
Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.
It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.
Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.
BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.
USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.
Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.
It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.
Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.
CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.
A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.
CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.