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San Jose State unable to hold on, falls to Eastern Michigan in Potato Bowl

PIX Now 08:39

BOISE, Idaho — Taylor Powell threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns, Samson Evans rushed for a pair of scores and Eastern Michigan defeated San Jose State 41-27 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Tuesday.

Eastern Michigan (9-4) won a bowl game for the second time in program history. The team last won a bowl game in 1987, beating San Jose State in the California Bowl.

San Jose State (7-5) turned the ball over three times. It was first time this season that the Spartans had multiple turnovers in a game.

The Spartans built a 13-0 lead in the first quarter when Chevan Cordeiro rushed 27 yards for a TD and then found Justin Lockhart with an 8-yard scoring pass.

Running back Kairee Robinson #32 of the San Jose State Spartans pushes off the tackle attempt of linebacker Chase Kline #6 of the Eastern Michigan Eagles during the first half of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Albertsons Stadium on December 20, 2022 in Boise, Idaho. Loren Orr/Getty Images

Then, Eastern Michigan stormed back, taking control of the game by scoring 30 straight points.

After San Jose State's second touchdown, Sterling Miles blocked the extra point attempt and Tristen Hines scooped up the ball and raced 87 yards for a 2-point defensive PAT.

That was the spark Eastern Michigan needed. The offense that had consecutive three-and-out possessions had touchdowns on its next four drives, all but putting the game out of reach.

Evans scored from 1 yard out to draw Eastern Michigan within 13-9 by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, Powell found Darius Lassiter with a 1-yard scoring strike, Evans had a 3-yard TD run and Powell and Lassiter connected on a 28-yard scoring play.

Jesus Gomez booted a 51-yard field goal and Jaylon Jackson scored on a 31-yard run to round out the scoring for the Eagles.

Cordeiro threw TD passes to Nick Nash and Isaiah Hamilton in the second half for the Spartans. Cordeiro led the Spartans offensively, completing 26 of 44 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.


Eastern Michigan: While the Eagles will savor their second-best season in school history, coach Chris Creighton might have to temper expectations heading into 2023 with some key players returning. Powell is out of eligibility, but whoever steps into the quarterback role will have Evans, the team's leading rusher, returning along with both Hassan Beydoun and Tanner Knue, the team's top receivers.

San Jose State: Losing Elijah Cooks and his 1,000-plus yards of receiving will hurt looking ahead to next season for the Spartans. But all the other starters on offense — including Cordeiro at quarterback — return for a team that will be poised to keep building on the program's recent success.


Eastern Michigan: Hosts Howard on Sept. 2 in its opener.

San Jose State: Opens next season at USC on Aug. 26.

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