"We kind of got spoiled because we really didn't know at that point when we made it to the bowl what it takes to be a really good team," senior right tackle Jordan Roussos said. "When we went 2-10, we had in mind what we wanted to get back to. It's been a wonderful ride."
San Jose State (11-2), in the national rankings for the first time since 1975, capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940, a similarly remarkable turnaround for a program that was 1-12 two years ago. The Spartans won with interim coach Kent Baer in charge after Mike MacIntyre left earlier this month for a bigger payday at Colorado.
The Falcons' defense allowed only 15.8 points per game in the regular season — ninth best among FBS schools — and did a decent job against a San Jose State team that was averaging 35.3 points.
Fales hit Kyle Nunn for a 33-yard score to give the Spartans a first-quarter lead and found Chandler Jones for an 18-yard reception that put San Jose State back in front, 19-13, in the third quarter.
Bowling Green retook the lead on Pettigrew's touchdown, but Fales went 7 for 10 on a 68-yard drive that got well within range for Lopez.
"That's the best passing offense we've faced all year," Clawson said. "Even we held him down, he was still completing balls."
The Spartans then forced a turnover that led to Eskridge's clinching touchdown.
The Military Bowl was supposed to pit Army against an ACC team, but Army isn't bowl-eligible and the ACC didn't have enough bowl-eligible schools to fulfill its bowl tie-ins. As a result, there was little excitement for the game in the nation's capital. The upper deck of RFK Stadium was virtually empty during the second half of the MAC-WAC matchup, and the attendance was announced as 17,835.