STANFORD -- San Jose State felt like it had unfinished business with Stanford and will hold on to those feelings after losing 34-13 to the fifth-ranked Cardinal on Saturday night.
"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."
That opportunity came last season, when the Spartans pushed Stanford to the brink in a 20-17 loss. The Cardinal made sure SJSU didn't deliver as much of a scare this time around.
Stanford (1-0) built a 17-6 halftime lead and held a two-score advantage throughout the second half.
"Our guys played good, but we needed to play better to beat these guys," Spartans coach Ron Caragher said. "That's a good team."
Stanford didn't put the game away until early in the fourth quarter but was in control the entire way. SJSU (1-1), unable to provide enough pass protection to let quarterback David Fales to relax in the pocket, settled for short, horizontal passes.
That allowed the Spartans to collect 22 first downs and maintain some drives, but Fales' longest completion was 18 yards. Fales' 216 passing yards was his lowest total at SJSU -- his previous low was 217 in last year's Stanford game. The Spartans also never connected on the big plays that were such a part of their repertoire last season.
"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."
Long-term, the loss shouldn't have any major negative implications for the Spartans and their goals of competing for a Mountain West Conference title.
"If we get better and we learn from this and it helps us out in conference play, then great," Caragher said. "It's all about getting better as the season goes along."
SJSU can take solace in coming out of the game having suffered no new serious injuries, no small feat against a team of Stanford's physical nature.
"That's a nice element," Caragher said. "Not just because we're playing them. Every game is a physical game."