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October 03, 2004

San Jose State And Rice Set Records In Free-Scoring Game

FROM THE LEFT COAST comes a report of the highest-scoring regulation game in Division I-A history as the San Jose State Spartans beat the Rice Owls 70-63.

In somewhat of an understatement, San Jose State coach Fitz Hill said, "This is one of the wildest things I've seen."

Obviously, with such a basketball-like score, it was an especially tough day at the office for the defensive units. Various newspaper accounts described the defensive play accordingly, such as: “horrendous defense” and making “a mockery of the concept of defense.”

Consider the following:

• The two teams produced a combined 1089 yards of total offense.

• Rice ran a school-record 100 plays for 634 yards.

• Rice set the NCAA record for most points in a loss.

• The game’s 133 points surpassed the 128 total when Middle Tennessee State beat Idaho 70-58 in 2001.

• The total was one point shy of the Division I-A mark for any game. In 2003 Arkansas beat Kentucky 71-63 in seven overtimes.

• The teams fell just shy of the NCAA regulation record for all divisions, set in 1968 when D3 North Park creamed North Central (IL) by 104-32.

• The game’s 19 touchdowns broke the twice-accomplished Division I-A record of 18, most recently by Middle Tennessee and Idaho in their 2001 game.

• The 63 points was highest modern point total in Rice’s history but it was topped by the Owls' 146-3 victory over SMU back in 1916.

Rice led the entire game, until San Jose State scored the winning touchdown with just over two minutes to play. At one point—five minutes into the second quarter—they led by 27 points at 34-7.

However, in a rousing comeback, the Spartans tied the game at 63-63 with less than three minutes left in regulation. Then they took their only lead of the game on a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:18 left.

The San Jose State football program has suffered months of indecision about its future, due to budget problems and low attendance. The game’s attendance of 4093 at San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium did not help the situation, as it was nowhere close to the NCAA-mandated 15,000 for Division I-A schools.

Here’s hoping that the thrilling victory will invigorate the Spartans for the rest of the season.

More later . . . . .

(this 388 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was distilled from an 821 word article from USA Today of 10-3-04, a 715 word article from the Sports Network of 10-2-04, and a 652 word article from the Houston Chronicle of 10-3-04)