- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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San Jose State has been a familiar punching bag for four of the top 13 teams in the country, and has become a point in arguments about who is better.
Well, Alabama only beat the Spartans 48-3 at home, but look at Wisconsin! Only 27-14 when you compare that to a 48-0 Boise State win or 56-3 Utah win.
The Spartans were the only FBS teams to play three top 15 teams in September, but it is a sad commentary on the BCS that such score comparisons are being used for or against one team. Caught in the middle of it all is San Jose State, a team that has been beset by one injury after another. This week, San Jose State (1-6) lost another three players to season-ending injuries, bringing its season total to a whopping 15. Nearly all of those players are starters or key backups.
"I’ve never see anything like this in my life, and I hope we never see it again," first-year coach Mike MacIntyre said. "We don't have 50 scholarship guys on the field. It's tough to compete."
The latest starter to get hurt was running back Lamon Muldrow, the team's leading rusher. He tore his ACL in the loss to Boise State. Reserve linebacker Ryno Gonzalez (knee) also got hurt in the game, and OT John Konye is also done (neck).
The injury parade began back in the fall and hasn't stopped. Among the key players out: All-WAC first-team safety Duke Ihenacho (foot), starting center Robbie Reed (knee), starting linebacker Pompey Festejo (foot), starting tight end Ryan Otten (toe), starting
DE Mohamed Marah (shoulder), starting LB Kyler O’Neal (knee), LB Braden Storaasli (knee) and DE Joe Nigos (elbow).
In addition, quarterback Jordan La Secla has been dealing with bruised ribs.
"It has started affecting our guys a little bit because they see them go down," MacIntyre said. "It's disheartening."
Many of the players who have gotten hurt are seniors, so that has also hurt team leadership. Eighteen freshmen have played this season. Five true freshmen are starting, the most for a San Jose State team in the 21st century.
"I never anticipated all the injuries," MacIntyre said. "A lot of injuries happened to our leaders who have played a lot of football so they’re not in the locker room, they’re not on the practice field, so they’re in civilian clothes. It truly is baptism by fire and they learn as it happens to them.
"It’s been hard to develop a lot of continuity. As far as the future goes, we have a lot of young men playing a lot of football, learning from their mistakes. They’re starting to understand what it takes to play major college football."