Military Bowl: Much is on the line for two upstart programs

Game viewed as a building block

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The game sets up to be a contrast in styles. San Jose State comes in with a high-flying offense that scored at least 40 points six times and 50 points twice. Junior quarterback David Fales owns a passel of Spartans records and enters the game as the nation’s leader in completion percentage at 72.06 percent.

“They are explosive on offense,” Clawson said. “At some point, you have to try to make them one-dimensional. We’ve been good at rushing the passer this year.”

Bowling Green will send defensive lineman Chris Jones (12.5 sacks) after Fales and hope its methodical offense will control the clock and keep the Spartans off the field.

“They’re a very well-coached team, and that gets your attention in a hurry,” Baer said. “They run the ball extremely well. They have a lot of misdirection in running game. That can affect you. You have to make sure you’re sound. If you’re not, you’re going to get your lunch handed to you.”

There have been times when the Military Bowl was just the end of a season for disappointed participants. But both programs in this year’s edition are thrilled to be here and hoping to use a victory as a springboard to bigger and better things.

“It would mean so much,” Johnson said. “We all want the win. As a team and as a program, it will lead into next year. For all the players who come here, there will be a standard. That’s what we’re trying to set here.”

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