Courtesy of the San Jose State Spartans
The San Jose State Spartans football team is going bowling in December.
It took an astrological event that happens every 18 years in the heart of New Mexico to be the magical moment that turned the 2023 football season from a disaster to a celebration.
After starting out 1-5, there wasn’t much hope for a successful season until a fateful October afternoon in Albuquerque inspired the greatest turnaround in the Spartan program.
The Solar Saros cycle 134 is an annular eclipse that occurs at the Moon's descending node, where the moon crosses in front of the sun, creating an appearance of a "ring of fire.”
It just so happened that the ring of fire eclipse on October 14th was best viewed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the Spartans were playing football later that evening against the University of New Mexico.
Spartans head coach Brent Brennan decided to make the ring of fire eclipse a team bonding event before that night’s game. SJSU went on to annihilate New Mexico 52-14 and hasn’t lost a game since.
San Jose State has won five games in a row, with four out of the five victories being blowouts, where the Spartans averaged 39 points a game. In the team’s five losses, they hadn't scored more than 28 points.
“I would like to think that it was the ring of fire eclipse in New Mexico,” said Brennan when asked what moment he believed sparked the remarkable turnaround. “We had this awesome moment. [Spartan Media Relations] Sky [Kerstein], our man here, provided eclipse glasses [for the team]. We had this awesome moment.”
Brennan continued, “Like this is real. The ring of fire is real. We are bonded by the ring of fire. We are working off cosmic energy as a unit. It’s pretty special. We held hands and watched it happen. I’m a big believer in the ring of fire. Our team bonded in that moment, and the transformation started then.”
What a transformation it has been for the Spartans, setting school records and achieving some program firsts that haven’t occurred in quite some time. Here is what has happened during SJSU’s winning streak after beating San Diego State 24-13 last Saturday evening at CEFCU Stadium:
The Spartans have now earned bowl eligibility for the third time in the last four seasons.
It is the first time in SJSU history that the Spartans have had six wins after starting the season 1-5.
The five-game win streak is the longest for the Spartans since 2020.
The Spartans have outscored their opponents 108-25 in the second half during the win streak.
This is the first time since 2006 that the Spartans have beaten Fresno State and San Diego State in the same season.
Leading the offense is fifth-year senior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. In two years after transferring from the University of Hawaii, Cordeiro has thrown for over 5,550 yards with 40 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions.
The Spartans also have a two-headed monster at running back with Quali Conley and Kairee Robinson. Conley led the team in rushing with 155 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown, his eighth, which tied a career high, in the win over the Aztecs.
Robinson scored his 16th rushing touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, breaking the SJSU single-season rushing touchdown record. He has scored in every game he has played this season, good for the second-longest streak in the country.
Robinson also tied the SJSU record for games with a touchdown in a season with 10.
While the offense has been impressive, SJSU’s defense has been equally impressive, coming up with key turnovers that have clinched games down the stretch during the five-game winning streak.
Linebacker Tre Jenkins, who killed any chance of a comeback by San Diego State with an interception to ice the game, also believes that the New Mexico game was the turning point for the team in resurrecting its season.
“I think we always knew we could do it. The results in the early part of the season, we just weren’t getting it done. I think that New Mexico game, we went down three [points] at halftime. You know it was one of those things where the players were invested. The coaches didn’t have to say a word. We went out that second half and just completely dominated. I think that’s when we woke up and realized if we put our minds to it, if we play together football and play for the man next to each other, it was going to work out that way,” Jenkins said.
The Spartans are still hungry and aren’t content to just be bowl eligible. With a win over UNLV today, San Jose State could find itself, along with a little help from “the computers,” playing next weekend in the Mountain West title game with a 6-2 conference record.
While they might not be able to entirely control their fate with what happens should they beat the Rebels at Allegiant Stadium, it would be a terrific way to end the regular season, riding high on a six-game winning streak for a program that wasn’t even able to fathom such an outcome back in early October.
The ring of fire is real with San Jose State.
Up Next: San Jose State travels to Las Vegas to clash against UNLV on Sunday 11/25 at 12:00pm. The game will be streamed on Fubo Sports Network.
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