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San Jose State's 4-1 record a product of massively-improved pass rush

San Jose State's improved pass rush has been an important part of the team's 4-1 start

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A year after they had 16 sacks during the entire season, the San Jose State Spartans have already racked up 22 sacks through five games in 2012. The improved pass rush is a big reason why San Jose State is off to a 4-1 start.

The Spartans are second in the country in total sacks and sacks per game at 4.40. This comes just one season after San Jose State finished 100th in the country averaging 1.3 sacks per game. Head coach Mike MacIntyre said improved depth and the ability to rotate players is one reason for the improvement.

"I think that helps you be able to rush the passer if you're a little bit fresher," MacIntyre said, according to the Mercury News.

Defensive end Travis Johnson continues to lead the way with 7 1/2 sacks, but this season, he's had help. Johnson had 9 1/2 sacks last season, but he was the only Spartan to record more than one. This season, four players in addition to Johnson have already recorded multiple sacks. Travis Raciti, who had 3 1/2 sacks this season, said opponents are now forced to respect the entire defensive line instead of just keying in on Johnson.

"There was no respect for the three other guys," Raciti said. "But as time goes along, as we keep proving teams wrong, they're starting to respect all four of us as a unit."