After some difficulty getting inspired, San Jose State quarterback Mike Perez led the Spartans to a 44-16 victory over Cal State Long Beach Saturday.
What made it tough, Perez said, was that the Spartans had clinched the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. title last week and had to play the 49ers before only 5,027 fans at Veterans Stadium in what he called a "high school" atmosphere.
"We were kind of flat in the beginning," said Perez, who regained enough incentive to complete 23 of 39 passes for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Perez's 268 yards in total offense gave the senior the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. career record for yards per game. He finished with an average of 309.1 yards per game, breaking the record of former Long Beach quarterback Doug Gaynor.
Eight of the passes for 137 yards--two for touchdowns--were caught by Guy Liggins, who had his fifth game this season of 100 yards or more in receiving.
"It was a great game to cap a great season for us," San Jose Coach Claude Gilbert said after his team won its 14th straight PCAA game. The Spartans, 10-1 overall and 7-0 in the PCAA, will play Eastern Michigan in the California Bowl Dec. 12 at Fresno.
Long Beach Coach Larry Reisbig said of San Jose State: "They're the best team we played, better than Michigan."
The 49ers, who dropped to 4-6 and 2-4, had hopes for an upset after Brian Browning's 18-yard run gave them them a 7-6 lead late in the first quarter.
They kept the lead for more than nine minutes of the second quarter, then lost it for good when San Jose's Kenny Jackson ran for a three-yard touchdown and Perez threw a two-point conversion pass to James Saxon.
The Spartans' dominance started to show late in the first half when they scored twice in 35 seconds.
Linebacker Tim Wells deflected a Jeff Graham pass at the 49er two- yard line, intercepted it and scored with 2:27 left.
Then after 49er fullback Lafayette Shelton lost a fumble, Perez and Jackson combined on an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 28-7 halftime lead.
"At halftime, we all felt we had it pretty much made," Gilbert said.
And they did, even though the 49ers scored first in the second half on a one-yard run by Shelton.
But after a safety made it 30-14, Perez and Liggins hooked up on a 40-yard touchdown pass play, sealing Long Beach's first loss at home this season.
Utah St. 17, Fresno St. 13--Brent Snyder passed for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns in leading the Aggies past the Bulldogs at Logan, Utah.
Fresno State's Dave Telford set a PCAA single-game record with 70 passes. He completed 40 of them, 1 shy of the league record.
Snyder, who entered the game ranked 11th nationally in total offense, completed 22 of 48 passes and broke a school record for most attempts in a season. The junior has thrown 388 passes, breaking the mark of 351 set by Tony Adams in 1971.
Snyder has 2,637 yards passing this season, 160 yards short of Adams' 1972 school record of 2,797.
The Aggies (4-6 and 3-3) took their only lead with 6:11 remaining when Snyder completed a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pete Maiden. The score gave Utah State a 17-13 lead and its second straight win and fourth in five games.
Snyder also threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kendal Smith in the third quarter, and Dene Garner kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Telford opened the scoring in the first quarter when he threw a five-yard touchdown pass to fullback Dean Collins.
The Bulldogs (5-5 and 3-3) led, 7-3, at halftime. Barry Belli gave Fresno State a 10-3 lead with a 37-yard third-quarter field goal.
Snyder's scoring pass to Smith tied the game, 10-10, and Belli gave the Bulldogs their last lead with a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Snyder then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Pat Newman, but it was called back by a holding penalty. Two plays later, Brett Payne ran 31 yards to set up Maiden's game-winning reception. The penalty ruined Newman's bid to equal an NCAA record of catching at least one touchdown pass in eight consecutive games.
Las Vegas 29, New Mexico St. 6--Senior fullback Ickey Woods ran for 208 yards and a touchdown as the Rebels beat New the Aggies at Las Cruces, N.M.
It was the second straight 200-yard game and fifth consecutive 100-yard performance for Woods, who entered the game leading the PCAA in rushing. The 6-1, 225-pounder has 1,207 yards.
The victory, the Rebels' second straight, raised their record to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference. The Aggies lost their third in a row to fall to 2-8 and 0-6.
It was the sixth time this season the Aggies were held to seven points or less.
The Rebels took a 10-0 lead into halftime after freshman quarterback Scott Sims threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to George Thomas with 1:46 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Aggies surrendered their third safety in two weeks and fifth this season when a snap to the punter sailed through the end zone.
Darrin Brightmon scored on a one-yard run to give UNLV a commanding lead.