February 25, 2024


sights and trips

What San Jose State is saying after winning Mountain West football title

San Jose State’s magical season reached new heights Saturday as the undefeated Spartans beat Boise State 34-20 to win their first Mountain West championship.

The victory in Las Vegas improved San Jose State’s record to 7-0, the team’s best mark after seven games since going 13-0 in 1939, and sends them into the Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve

Here is what the Spartans were saying after the game:

Coach Brent Brennan

On the historic win

“What a night for San Jose State University. What a night for our players and our fans. It’s just been a beautiful journey. It’s been magical. It’s been incredibly challenging.

“These players that have been with us the last two, three, four years, I have just been through a really, really incredible ride. It’s been an awesome blessing that we can learn if you just work hard and stick together, then incredible things can happen.

“There were so many great incredible individual performances tonight. I thought our defense was lights out. Obviously, the offense did a lot of good things moving the football. Nick Starkel threw the ball all over the yard. We had multiple guys catch passes. I can’t get over our defense.

“Obviously we gave up the big punt return to the best punt returner I have coached against maybe ever. But our team just kept answering. They kept finding a way to answer. I couldn’t be more proud of this football team. We’re going to enjoy this.”

On the message before the game

“What we talked about pregame, and really all season … I know we have the Climb the Mountain theme. It was really here is a process to winning this game. There is a process to building a winning football program. there is a process to being a good player and just focusing on right now is the biggest part of that. Consistency of that. In pregame, we talked about this whole season, this whole story has been about us and this game’s the same. It’s about us, how we handle the ups and downs, how we respond to the good things and bad things that happen in the game. I thought our response tonight on so many occasions was fantastic.”

On setting the early tone:

“I thought our defense was incredible early on. Our defense kept finding ways to get them off the field. That was just incredible. We had multiple fourth-down stops in the game. Made them punt a bunch of times.

On the celebration

“No body surfing. Last week, I bruised ribs. I had to breathe shallow all week. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of it. The best moment of the night for me was our whole team and all of our coaches and staff in there — and our athletic director — singing, ‘Lean on Me.’ It was absolute magic. It was incredible.”

On the bowl game

“Climbing the mountain was just a good metaphor for us because we had been so far from the top for so long. If you look going backward, our last winning season was 2012. Our last winning season before that was 2006. That was Everest. The reason that teams sits there and screams ‘Lean on Me’ arm in arm like that is the exact same reason they play good football together. They love each other and they care about each other and no one wanted to let each other down. Also the journey, our COVID discipline has been crazy good.”

On seeing their families

“We fly back tomorrow morning to the Bay. These players have been away from their families for a long time. They are all really excited to see their families spend Christmas with their families. Most of them haven’t seen their parents since July 14, which is such a unique thing. Normally the players see their parents every week, every game. Even if it’s road games, most parents attend them or a big chunk of them do. Not being able to share this with our families has been the saddest part of this. It’s been the absolute saddest part of this incredible season.”

On where this win ranks

“This one’s the best because of all the parts of it — how far we’ve come, what we went through this year, who we were playing and the fact it was for the Mountain West championship. We have so much respect for Boise.”

Quarterback Nick Starkel

On the excitement of the postgame locker room

“That celebration was everything. It was the culmination of just this whole season. We sang ‘Lean on Me.’ That’s how this team fights. We lean on each other.”

On the team’s depth:

“That gives me supreme confidence as a quarterback, knowing that whoever is in the game is going to be able to go make a play. It speaks to our receivers coach as well. All of those guys that were in there catching passes, they were ready because our receivers coach made sure there were ready. You don’t have guys in there messing around, not knowing the plays. It happens at some schools, where guys that are third string on the depth chart don’t necessarily know the offense. But here they do, and I think that’s why we have a lot of success.”

On the travel

“This team has been resilient the entire time. No matter what happens — no matter if it’s, ‘Hey, we can’t practice at home, practice at Scotts Valley’ or ‘Hey. we’re going to have to leave and go play a home game in Hawaii and then go to Vegas,’ our team just says, ‘All right. Let’s go.’ It’s a motto that as an offense we love to talk about — ‘So what. Next play’ or ‘So what, now what?’ That happens, so what. Can’t do anything about it. Now, what are we going to do? How are we going to get our mind right to go finish this season off?”