SAN JOSE — In a game in which Cal State Fullerton Coach Gene Murphy said his team would need to be "meticulous" to win, the Titans dropped passes, fell for a fake field goal and gave up a safety when a snap sailed over their punter's head in the end zone.
Meticulous, they weren't.
That Fullerton led, 7-3 in the early going and trailed by only five in the third quarter, seemed long forgotten by the time it was over.
In the end, San Jose State, the defending Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. champion, took a 46-19 victory Saturday in front of 13,197 at Spartan Stadium.
Fullerton's record fell to 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the PCAA. San Jose State is 4-1 and 1-0.
San Jose State rolled over Fullerton largely without the help quarterback Mike Perez, who led the nation in total offense last year and ranked second this season before Saturday's game.
Perez, who strained a muscle in his right shoulder in a victory over Stanford last week, did not play in the second half Saturday, complaining of stiffness in his neck. He finished with 166 yards, completing 13 of 21 passes.
It didn't seem to matter. San Jose State's lead was 24-19 before its first possession of the second half, but backup quarterback Tony Locy completed 12 of 16 passes for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns and turned the game into a blowout.
Locy, a Mater Dei High School graduate, played his prep football in Santa Ana, where Fullerton plays its home games.
Saturday, he led the Spartans past the Titans for the second straight year.
Last year, he passed for 278 yards--once again filling in for an injured Perez--in San Jose State's 48-24 win.
Fullerton completed just 16 of 41 passes, and the Titans had only 76 yards rushing.
Fullerton had the ball only 25 minutes 50 seconds against San Jose State, well below its season possession average of 35:28. For a team that attempts to keep its ball-control offense on the field in hopes of keeping the other team's offense off, that spelled trouble.
"Anytime you put your defense on the field with inexperienced people, you're going to be in a world of hurt," Murphy said.
Fullerton held San Jose State to a field goal on the opening possession after Chris Wright sacked Perez on third and five at the Fullerton 16. Instead of a touchdown, the Spartans had to settle for Sergio Olivarez's 46-yard field goal.
Fullerton took a 7-3 lead, scoring on its first possession, Eric Franklin's 27-yard run to the 1-yard line set up the score on a sneak by Barber.
After that, the Titans struggled. First by failing to score after James Howard intercepted Perez at the San Jose 34, and later by fumbling twice. One fumble at their 35 set up a San Jose touchdown; another just before the half prevented a possible Titan field goal.
By halftime, San Jose State had a 24-13 lead.
Fullerton staged a brief comeback when third-string quarterback Rich Sheriff threw a halfback pass to quarterback Ronnie Barber, making it 24-19, but the Spartans set up a touchdown with a fake field goal attempt on their next possession and it was never close again.
Pacific 23, New Mexico St. 7--The Tigers rode Ruben Harper's four interceptions to a victory at Stockton over the Aggies in a PCAA opener for both teams.
Pacific improved to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in the PCAA. New Mexico dropped to 1-3 and 0-1.
Harper's interceptions, which included a 92-yarder to end the game, broke the school record held by Eddie LeBaron and tied the conference record.
Nevada Las Vegas 24, Nevada Reno 19--Sean Blunt came up with two interceptions and returned one 62 yards for a touchdown to lead the Rebels past the Wolf Pack in a nonconference game at Las Vegas.
The Wolf Pack rallied from a 21-3 deficit but was stopped with 2:40 left when Blunt intercepted his second pass. Las Vegas is 1-2 overall, and Reno is 2-2.