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San Jose, Calif. • BYU played its first football game at Spartan Stadium since 1968 on Saturday night.

A lot of Cougar fans did not let the opportunity to see their team play pass them by.

Duff Tittle, BYU's associate athletic director for communication, said the school easily sold its allotment of 1,500 tickets from San Jose, but most fans at the game got their tickets through San Jose State's ticket office. That meant the stadium was filled with more than 10,000 Cougar fans.

The BYU Alumni Association of Northern California rented out the nearby Triple-A baseball stadium, home of the San Jose Giants, and Tittle said more than 4,000 BYU fans tailgated there before the game.

The Spartans were averaging 9,000 fans per game in their 30,000-seat stadium before BYU's visit.

Missing Joe

For the second straight game, the Cougars played without suspended free safety Joe Sampson, who withdrew from school after drawing discipline from coach Bronco Mendenhall for his role in a Halloween night brawl at a 24-hour Provo restaurant.

Quarterback Riley Nelson said before Saturday's game that BYU players understood why Mendenhall had to kick the senior off the team.

"Coach Mendenhall has the biggest perspective [on what happened]," Nelson said. "There's one thing we can say for sure as players, and that is that he truly does have our best interest at heart. A lot of times it is a tough lesson to learn for college kids and for someone young, but sometimes that means disciplinary action. Because sometimes you don't realize the full consequences of your actions without being disciplined. I think coach Mendenhall realizes that. Even though it is tough to accept, it is for the best."

Sophomore Craig Bills played free safety for the Cougars, but San Jose State quarterback David Fales carved up the secondary. Fales completed 18 of 23 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.