SAN JOSE -- Cries of "We shocked the world" were heard well after San Jose State stunned previously undefeated No. 16 Fresno State 62-52 on Friday.
The Spartans did exactly that with a performance that crushed the BCS bowl hopes of the archrival Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 Mountain West). And while the victory only clinches bowl eligibility and doesn't guarantee a berth, SJSU (6-6, 5-3) has to be looking mighty attractive.
"We're sending a message that we can go toe-to-toe with a lot of people," Spartans coach Ron Caragher said. "We had our backs to the wall. We needed to win that game and our guys stepped up and got the win."
SJSU has reached bowl games in back-to-back years only once and this was its last chance at gaining eligibility after losing three straight. The Spartans dazzled offensively last week against Navy, but lost. This time they delivered in a nationally televised win that should draw the interest of bowl executives.
What's quarterback David Fales' message to those bowl executives?
"We're ready," he said. "Just put us somewhere. We'll go anywhere."
Fales cemented his status as one of the Spartans' all-time greats with another record-breaking performance before a season-high crowd of 23,574 at Spartan Stadium. He threw for a single-game school record 547 yards and matched a single-game mark with six touchdown passes. He could be the type of presence that helps SJSU secure a bowl bid.
"We're an exciting team," Caragher said. "I think that's a big part of bowl games. They want to have exciting teams. They want to have a lot of interest. They like high-scoring, they like quarterbacks with big names -- all those things. I think it should all piece together where San Jose State is an attractive team to go to the postseason."
The Spartans also now have a signature win -- their first over a ranked team since beating LaDainian Tomlinson-led No. 9 TCU in 2000.
That should help quite a bit considering the Spartans are one of six eligible Mountain West teams, and it's possible up to two more could join them. With Fresno State's BCS dreams busted, the conference will have just six automatic spots.
Colorado State can get eligible by beating Air Force on Saturday and Wyoming could do so with an upset of Utah State. Some at-large berths could come into play, but Caragher feels good about SJSU's chances.
Wide receiver Chandler Jones has his own pitch.
"I'd say, 'You've got David Fales out here slinging the ball. And you've got David Fales. You also have David Fales,' " Jones said.
Fales certainly was the story of the day. After spending a half matching wits with Fresno State's Heisman Trophy hopeful Derek Carr -- both quarterbacks had six passing touchdowns at halftime -- Fales reigned supreme in the second half.
He didn't throw another touchdown pass, but he guided an offense that slowed the game's tempo in the second half. The Spartans held the ball for nearly 21 minutes over the final two quarters and nearly doubled the Bulldogs' time of possession for the game.
"As long as you keep Carr off the field, that's a good thing," Caragher said.
SJSU led 42-41 at halftime in an Arena Football League type game. A blocked extra point on Fresno State's first touchdown was the difference and the Spartans scored with 18 seconds left in the half to take the lead.
Getting an idea from assistant coach Terry Malley, who spent 14 years coaching Arena football with the SaberCats, Caragher called for an onside kick to open the second half. It worked, with kicker Harrison Waid recovering his own attempt.
Thomas Tucker scored on a 7-yard run to fully take advantage and a rested Spartans defense began making plays.
SJSU held Fresno State to a field goal on its following possession and the Spartans matched with their own field goal. After forcing a punt, SJSU scored again with Fales plunging forward for a 1-yard keeper to account for his seventh touchdown of the game.
But the biggest defensive play was saved for linebacker Keith Smith, who intercepted Carr's underthrown pass with 10:47 left to play. It snapped Carr's streak of 305 passes without an interception.
"I was surprised he actually threw that ball," Smith said. "I swear I think he looked at me during the play. Maybe he was trying to test me."
The Spartans added to their cushion with a 37-yard field goal by Austin Lopez. Fresno State's first and only touchdown of the second half finally came with 2:03 to play, but its onside kick attempt failed and SJSU got a first down that allowed it to run out the clock.
Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at Twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.
stating sjsu's case
With 547 yards passing and six touchdown passes in Friday's dramatic win over previously unbeaten Fresno State, quarterback David Fales (shown) made an emphatic case for San Jose State to be selected for a bowl game. At 6-6, the Spartans are bowl eligible but aren't a lock. However, their explosive offense is a selling point. Here are Fales' passing stats over the past six games:
Opponent Result Yards TD
Wyoming W, 51-44 482 5
at UNLV W, 34-24 150 1
SDSU L, 34-30 301 3
Opponent Result Yards TD
at Nevada L, 38-16 326 1
Navy L, 58-52 440 5
Fresno St. W, 62-52 547 6
Purdy: Often an afterthought, SJSU shines in the spotlight.