San Jose State came awfully close to pulling off another SEC road stunner on Saturday night, taking a 10-7 lead into halftime at Auburn. But the Spartans’ upset bid ultimately fell short in a 24-16 loss.
The Spartans (1-1) entered the game a three-touchdown underdog, but in similar fashion to their 2019 win at Arkansas, gave their Power Five hosts all they could handle.
The Tigers (2-0) scored three times in the second half to extend their winning streak against unranked teams to 45.
For a brief moment, it looked like the Spartans would break that streak, but the Tigers would fix their sloppy turnovers and drive-stalling penalties.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, in his second game at SJSU, was 24-of-40 passing for 275 yards and set up a field goal in the closing minutes. Charles Ross caught five passes for 89 yards.
Taren Schive kicked three field goals for the Spartans, two in the fourth quarter as SJSU prevented the Tigers from ever getting totally comfortable.
After Schive’s third field goal cut the SJSU deficit to eight the Spartans’ onside kick attempt went out of bounds untouched to end the threat.
The Tigers couldn’t feel at all comfortable until quarterback T,J, Finley barreled in for a 4-yard touchdown and a 24-13 lead early in the fourth. He set it up with a 24-yard pass to Ja’Varrius Johnson.
But Auburn’s platooning of quarterbacks Finley and Robby Ashford continued to produce inconsistent results — and an interception apiece.
Finley completed 13 of 20 passes for 167 yards. Ashford’s three atttempts netted only a 1-yard completion but he did run for a 30-yard gain and 61 yards.
Auburn’s first two touchdown drives were kept alive by fourth-down conversions, including one where Finley salvaged a botched snap. He dropped the ball, picked it up and hit Tank Bigsby in the flat for an 11-yarder.
The Spartans have a bye this weekend before returning to action Sept. 24 with a home game against Western Michigan.
Check back for more on this developing story
The Associated Press contributed to this report.