SAN JOSE -- San Jose State's running game flashed some potential in its season-opening 24-0 win over Sacramento State despite an injury to starter Tyler Ervin.
Ervin appeared to suffer a right foot injury in the first quarter Thursday. There was no immediate update on the extent of the injury. Ervin was scheduled to have an MRI on Friday.
"While it's very unfortunate -- Tyler is such a weapon, we can use him in so many different ways -- it's so nice to see Jason Simpson step up," coach Ron Caragher said.
Simpson rushed for 135 yards on 21 carries, including a 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. The fifth-year senior entered the season with just 90 career yards on 31 attempts.
"That wasn't surprising to me," Caragher said. "We knew he could. We saw him in fall camp, but it's nice to be able to do that in a game situation."
It's unclear how Ervin was injured. His right foot appeared to get tangled on the second of his two carries. He stayed in the game and seemed to hobble a bit on the next play when he ran a wheel route out of the backfield toward the end zone.
Ervin was back on the field a short time later for a punt return, but the punt was short and he didn't field it. He didn't play the rest of the way, and by the end of the first half was seen on crutches on the sidelines.
The Spartans aren't a team that figures to rely heavily on the running game, although they'd like to achieve more balance than they did last season. Simpson knows that the passing game is the team's bread and butter but said the running backs are determined to do their part.
"Every one knows who David Fales is, and it's not because of his good looks," Simpson said of SJSU's quarterback. "We all took it personal that people don't expect us to run the ball, and we want to prove to people that we can do that."
Fales praised the play of Simpson.
"We know what kind of a player he is," Fales said. "It's nice to finally see him out on the field doing it. You can see where he got his confidence. He was hitting the hole and running, lowering his pads, and that's exciting because he definitely has potential."
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