San Jose State did not play a perfect game Saturday -- far from it. But Coach Fitz Hill and Athletic Director Chuck Bell are confident the program will benefit greatly from the event that attracted the first sellout crowd for a Spartans football game in 13 years.
``I think we sold them on the whole program,'' Bell said after the Spartans' 29-0 victory over Grambling State. ``It was the band. It was Grambling. It was all that together -- with Fitz. Fitz was the initiator of it all. Now hopefully they're turned on to Fitz and what he's trying to do.''
The announced crowd of 31,681 set a stadium record, surpassing the 31,218 the Spartans drew for a game against Fresno State on Nov. 17, 1990. Only 26,350 tickets were sold or distributed, but officials counted people who attended a cultural festival inside the stadium grounds.
Regardless, Saturday was a step forward for a program that must average 15,000 fans per home game next season to meet new NCAA requirements for Division I-A status.
``Spartan Stadium is a great place to play when you have just 10,000 to 15,000,'' quarterback Scott Rislov said. ``But then to have twice that, it's very exciting and loud. It was fun to be out there.''
Neil Parry, who suffered a compound fracture in a game in 2000 that led to the amputation of his lower right leg, watched from the San Jose State sideline. The special-teams player attends practice and still hopes to return to the field this fall.
``He's competing for a position,'' Hill said. ``As I've said all along, Neil doesn't want anybody giving him anything.''
When asked to assess Parry's progress since last season, Hill said: ``The best he's ever been since I've been here. He's getting real close.''
Five Spartans did not suit up because of ``administrative reasons'' -- defensive tackle Larnell Ransom, cornerback Ray Carmel, guard Kevin Israel, center LaMons Walker and tackle William Obeng. Most could return next Saturday against Florida, a team spokesman said.
Josh Smith started in place of Ransom.
-- DARREN SABEDRA