STANFORD -- San Jose State was disappointed, but not entirely deflated after its 34-13 loss to No. 5 Stanford on Saturday.
Spartans quarterback David Fales threw for a career-low 216 yards, an end result of the Cardinal's physical defense that kept SJSU from chucking the ball down the field.
"You've got to just nickel and dime them," Fales said. "They'll take away the big plays. That's their defense and they do a good job."
A year after giving Stanford a serious scare in a 20-17 loss, San Jose State wasn't put away until early in the fourth quarter but still never posed a major threat.
"I think our guys played good, but we needed to play better to beat these guys," Spartans coach Ron Caragher said. "That's a good team."
The loss ends San Jose State's eight-game winning streak and extend's Stanford's streak to nine straight victories. The Cardinal (1-0) have won six in a row over the Spartans (1-1).
SJSU cut the deficit to 27-13 late in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Fales to Noel Grigsby and the Spartans got the ball right back early in the fourth on Stanford's lone turnover of the night.
"I thought we had them on their heels," Caragher said.
SJSU picked up a first down to get near midfield, but the Cardinal pass rush forced Fales into his one major mistake of the night. Shayne Skov blitzed and was lined up to crush the quarterback. Fales tried to throw the ball away but didn't get enough on it and Ed Reynolds intercepted it near the sideline.
Stanford scored 2 ½ minutes later on Tyler Gaffney's second touchdown of the night and that sealed the Spartans' fate.
SJSU's game plan seemed to be heavy on short, quick passes to the flats and the Spartans couldn't generate enough yardage after the catches. Fales completed 29 of 43 passes and averaged just 5 yards per attempt.
"They'll give you the flats," Fales said. "They had a little different answer in the red zone and we just couldn't finish on a couple of those drives."
SJSU drove into the red zone twice, but had to settle for field goals of 30 and 22 yards by Austin Lopez.
Fales was sacked four times and hurried five others. His longest completion was 18 yards.
"They do bring a lot of pressure, sometimes when they bring more people than we have blockers we have to throw the ball quickly," Caragher said.
Stanford coach David Shaw delivered high praise of Fales.
"It's special when you see a guy that can throw the ball the way he throws it," Shaw said. "There were about five throws tonight that were Sunday throws as we call them -- they were NFL throws."
It figured to be tough to match last season's surprising performance against Stanford, in part because the Spartans now had the Cardinal's full attention. Still, SJSU came to the came to the game feeling like it had unfinished business.
"It's very disappointing," linebacker Keith Smith said. "A loss is a loss, but especially like this and to the team it was. We had the opportunity and we let it pass."
"Third down is a crucial down," Smith said. "If you can't control that, things aren't going to go your way."
Both schools have expressed interest in renewing the rivalry, which has no future games scheduled. The earliest that could happen would be 2015 but SJSU will only agree to resume playing Stanford if it receives some home games as part of the deal. The idea of a neutral site game, such as playing at Levi's Stadium after its 2014 opening, would interest SJSU and has been explored informally.
Follow Jimmy Durkin at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.