Fresno State Bulldogs defensive lineman Jacob Holmes (23) recovers a fumble by Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Drew Pyne (10) in the first half at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe on Sept. 16, 2023.

Fresno State shuts out Arizona State in lopsided victory

Fresno State placekicker Dylan Lynch and cornerback Carlton Johnson tied school records with Lynch’s five made field goals and Johnson’s three interceptions in the Bulldogs’ 29-0 victory Saturday over an injury-riddled Arizona State team at Tempe, Ariz.

Arizona State, playing under first-year coach Kenny Dillingham, was shut out at home for the first time since 1988, when USC beat the Sun Devils 50-0.

It is the first time Arizona State was blanked since USC beat the Sun Devils 28-0 in Los Angeles in 2008.

The Sun Devils (1-2) had eight turnovers in their 13 possessions.

Fresno State (3-0) increased its winning streak to 12 games, the second longest in the nation behind Georgia’s run of 20 consecutive wins.

The Bulldogs, who opened the season with a win at Purdue, have also defeated two Power 5 teams in the same season for the first time since 2018.

Starting quarterback Jaden Rashada did not suit up for Arizona State because of an undisclosed injury.

Trenton Bourguet, who started in Rashada’s place, left in the first quarter with a leg injury.

Third-string quarterback Drew Pyne, a transfer from Notre Dame, also left the game with an undisclosed injury after throwing two interceptions while completing 5 of 13 pass attempts for 52 yards.

Jacob Conover, a transfer from BYU, finished the game and was 6 of 16 for 89 yards and two interceptions.

Fresno State quarterback Mikey Keene, a Central Florida transfer who is from nearby Chandler, Ariz., tied a career high with 32 completions in 48 attempts.
He threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Erik Brooks had 11 receptions for 104 yards for the Bulldogs.

Keene led the Bulldogs on a touchdown drive in the first possession of the game.

The eight-play, 75-yard drive was capped by Keene’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Moss.

Lynch made field goals of 39, 30 and 29 yards the rest of the first half to take a 16-0 lead into halftime.

Keene connected with Jaelen Gill for a 42-yard touchdown to complete Fresno State’s first possession of the second half.

Lynch later converted from 50 and 33 yards.

–Field Level Media

Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Mikey Keene (1) throws the ball ahead of the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Fresno State Bulldogs won 39-35.

Fresno State takes 11-game winning streak to Arizona State

Beating two Power 5 opponents in the same season for the first time since 2018 is Fresno State’s goal when it visits Arizona State on Saturday.

The last time the Bulldogs pulled off the feat, the Sun Devils were one of their victims.

The Bulldogs defeated UCLA and Arizona State in 2018 and won their season opener at Purdue on Sept. 2.

Fresno State is also on an 11-game winning streak, the second longest in the nation behind Georgia (19 straight wins).

The Bulldogs (2-0) are coming off a double-overtime 34-31 victory over FCS opponent Eastern Washington at home.

Levelle Bailey came up with the game-winning interception in the second overtime to seal the victory.

Fresno State was a 30.5-point favorite entering the game.

“Give (Eastern Washington) a lot of credit. They did a lot of really good things and we didn’t play our best,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said. “We were behind the sticks a lot, penalties and things like that put us in some tough situations. But this is a good wake-up call for us. It’s tough to bounce back and come home (after winning at Purdue). I need to do a better job making sure we’re ready to play.”

Arizona State (1-1) is coming off a 27-15 loss at home against Oklahoma State.

The Sun Devils’ offensive line was dealt another devastating blow with senior right tackle Emmit Bohle suffering a season-ending lower-leg injury in the first drive of the game.

Starting left tackle Isaia Glass and guard/center Cade Briggs did not play because of leg injuries.

Offensive lineman Ben Coleman has yet to play this season while recovering from a serious lower-leg injury suffered before preseason camp.

Tackle Aaron Frost is still recovering from an ACL injury suffered last August and has yet to play.

“Obviously that position has been decimated with injuries, unfortunately,” Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham said of his offensive line. “Some (injuries were by) contact, some non-contact, some running in the offseason.

“Emmit’s going to be out for the season, unfortunate for him. What a great person. What a great worker.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA;  Fresno State Bulldogs defensive back Evan Williams (32) pulls on the jersey of Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) for a sack in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Fresno State rolls against Washington State, wins LA Bowl

Jordan Mims rushed for 205 yards and two touchdowns and Jake Haener threw for two touchdowns in Fresno State’s 29-6 domination of Washington State in the LA Bowl on Saturday in Los Angeles.

It put a glamorous finishing touch on the season for Fresno State (10-4), which won its final nine games.

Mims needed just 18 carries to amass his rushing total, compiling all except 12 yards of Fresno State’s rushing total.

Haener completed 24 of 36 passes for 284 yards.

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward was 22-for-32 for 137 yards and an interception. The Cougars were limited to 45 rushing yards.

It was the first meeting between the teams since 1994, and the Bulldogs, who were coming off a Mountain West Conference championship, were much more in tune.

The Cougars (7-6) ended their first full season under coach Jake Dickert with back-to-back losses following a three-game winning streak.

Washington State didn’t score until Nakia Watson’s 1-yard run with 3:40 left in the third quarter. A two-point conversion play failed, leaving the score at 16-6.

Fresno State answered in the ensuing possession, going 75 yards in six plays to score on Haener’s 11-yard pass play to Nikko Remigio.

Mims tacked on a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Remigio ended up with a team-high 84 receiving yards.

Fresno State led 16-0 at halftime and the statistics might have suggested a larger lead.

In the first half, the Bulldogs outgained Washington State 289-59 and held a 17-5 edge in first downs.

Fresno State scored on the game’s first possession when Haener threw 22 yards to Zane Pope to complete a 75-yard march that took slightly more than three minutes.

After Washington failed to convert on a fourth-and-1 from its own 23-yard line, the Bulldogs stretched the lead in the second quarter. Mims ran 3 yards for a touchdown.

Less than two minutes later, Leonard Payne Jr. sacked Ward for a safety.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Boise, Idaho, USA;  Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Jake Haener (9) rolls out during the first half of the Mountain West Championship game versus the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

In LA clash, Fresno State eyes 10 wins vs. Washington State

Fresno State has delivered a fantastic season, particularly with the way the past couple of months have gone.

Now it’s a matter of finishing in style for the Bulldogs.

That opportunity comes Saturday against Washington State in the LA Bowl in Los Angeles.

“From being counted out at 1-4 to having the chance to bring this program 10 wins is awesome for us,” Fresno State senior defensive back Evan Williams said.

Fresno State (9-4), which is the Mountain West Conference champion, has won eight games in a row.

For Washington State (7-5), this will wrap up the first full season under coach Jake Dickert.

“We’re looking forward for the chance to send our seniors out on a winning note,” Dickert said.

No college team has begun with a 1-4 record and ended up with a 10-win season, something that Fresno State will try to pull off.

“The hard work that we’ve put in, we definitely feel that’s why we’re here,” receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper said. “We had all our goals in front of us, and we made sure we checked off all the boxes. Getting that 10th win would add to our legacy.”

Fresno State’s winning streak produced a championship vibe and certainly confidence has been soaring.

Yet Washington State is bound to send out a defense to present challenges.

“They’ve got two good corners and two good safeties.” Moreno-Cropper said. “It’s going to be a good matchup. We just have to trust in the game plan.”

Washington State had some late-season success as well, winning three in a row before a loss to nationally ranked Washington to close the regular season. The Cougars are making their program-record seventh consecutive bowl appearance.

Linebacker Daiyan Henley, an All-Pac-12 first-team selection who played one season with the Cougars, has opted out of the bowl but will be with the team at the game.

With defensive coordinator Brian Ward off to Arizona State, Dickert will oversee the defense.

“I get a chance to call plays again,” Dickert said. “I love being back in the grind.”

Fresno State has won its past three bowl outings and played two other Pac-12 Conference teams this season. The Bulldogs lost to Oregon State and Southern Cal.

Washington State holds a 3-1 edge in the series, though the teams haven’t met since 1994.

This is the second LA Bowl. Utah State beat Oregon State 24-13 last year.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) is pressured by Fresno State Bulldogs defensive end David Perales (99) in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 7 USC dominates visiting Fresno State 45-17

Austin Jones and Travis Dye each eclipsed 100 yards rushing to fuel a balanced offense, and No. 7-ranked USC overwhelmed visiting Fresno State, 45-17, Saturday in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (3-0) surpassed 500 yards of total offense for the third time in as many games, piling up 517. But while quarterback Caleb Williams stole the show in USC’s first two outings with his passing, this was the Trojans run game’s turn to shine.

Jones went for 110 yards, while Dye added 102, marking the first time since November 2018 two USC ball-carriers reached 100 yards in the same contest. Both scored a rushing touchdown, and both averaged more than nine yards per carry on the night.

Williams, meanwhile, carried for more touchdowns with two than his total net yards of one. He also threw for a pair of scores, including a 2-yard score to Jordan Addison to kick off the game’s scoring.

Addison has caught at least one touchdown in each of his first three games as a Trojan.

Williams also connected with Malcolm Epps on a 10-yard score, part of the quarterback’s 25-for-37, 284-yard passing performance. The USC offense was also excellent on third and fourth downs, going a combined 9-of-15 on conversion attempts.

Fresno State (1-2) came in looking to assert its passing attack behind Jake Haener, but the Bulldogs quarterback went down awkwardly on a sack-fumble by Solomon Byrd in the third quarter.

Haener finished 10-of-18 with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Erik Brooks and an interception. Reserve Logan Fife completed 11-of-12 attempts for 140 yards, but failed to lead a Bulldogs scoring drive.

Jordan Mims rushed for 114 yards in the loss, and Malik Sharrod carried for a 32-yard touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2021; Inglewood, CA, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan (10) throws the ball against the Utah State Aggies in the first half of the 2021 LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unbeatens Fresno State, Oregon State set for first clash since 2003

Oregon State visits Fresno State on Saturday night for the teams’ first meeting in nearly 20 years in Fresno, Calif.

Both schools are coming off season-opening victories in which they built large first-half cushions.

The Pac-12 Beavers (1-0) compiled a 24-0 halftime lead en route to defeating visiting Boise State 34-17 on Saturday.

The Mountain West’s Bulldogs (1-0) beat Cal Poly 35-7 at home last Thursday after going ahead 21-0 in the first quarter.

Temperatures in Fresno — which reached 114 on Tuesday — are expected to be in the 90s as the teams clash for the first time since 2003.

“I know how I felt during the game, and it was really hot down there,” said Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener, referring to the 102 degrees at kickoff against Cal Poly. “So people who haven’t experienced it, haven’t been around it, I can only imagine what it’s like coming in trying to play in it for the first time.”

The extreme heat failed to prevent Haener from completing 36 of 42 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs posted 551 yards of total offense.

“It starts with his arm talent. He can throw it and make all the throws accurate,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said of Haener. “I know the kid well. [He’s] tough, good decision-maker, won’t back down to anything.”

Haener’s effort helped transfer wide receiver Nikko Remigio catch nine passes for 100 yards. He finished with a team-high 168 all-purpose yards.

Defensive back Evan Williams led the Bulldogs with eight tackles against Cal Poly. Gavriel Lightfoot became the first Fresno State player to start on the interior defensive line as a true freshman since Russell Harding did in 25 years ago in 1997.

Oregon State’s defense forced Boise State to commit five turnovers. Linebacker Kyrei Fisher-Morris had 10 tackles.

Chance Nolan completed 14 of 23 passes for 251 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Oregon State features a three-way player, as Jack Colletto plays linebacker, fullback and special teams.

“Very balanced, very physical, very well-coached,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said of the Beavers. “Defensively, to come up with five turnovers, they really fly around and play hard.”

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 8-5, including a 6-0 mark in games played in Fresno.

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2021; Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs Jordan Mims (7) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the UTEP Miners defense in the first half at the 2021 New Mexico Bowl at Dreamstyle Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Mims’ three TDs lead Fresno State over UTEP in New Mexico Bowl

Jordan Mims ran for 165 yards and two short touchdowns and added a 22-yard scoring reception as Fresno State did just enough to beat Texas-El Paso 31-24 on Saturday afternoon in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener, who weeks ago put his name in the transfer portal but reversed his tack when Jeff Tedford was hired as the next coach of the Bulldogs, started the game and passed for 286 yards and a score in the victory.

The Bulldogs (10-3) earned their first double-digit victory campaign since 2018 when they went 12-2 and won the Mountain West Conference championship.

Gavin Hardison passed for 252 yards and a touchdown but had two crucial fumbles in the fourth quarter for the Miners (7-6) in the loss. UTEP was denied its first bowl win since the 1967 Sun Bowl, extending the longest postseason victory drought in FBS that includes seven straight defeats in bowl games.

Fresno State drove the field on its opening possession, which culminated in Mims’ 2-yard TD run. Cesar Silva missed the PAT, keeping the score at 6-0 with 12:44 to play in the first quarter. UTEP answered on its first drive, with Trent Thompson hauling in a 1-yard scoring pass from Hardison that, after Gavin Baechle’s extra-point kick, granted the Miners a 7-6 lead.

Silva and Baechle added field goals for their teams from 42 and 38 yards, respectively — the latter of which put UTEP back in the lead at 10-9 with 14:49 to play in the second quarter.

Ronald Awatt’s 1-yard TD run extended the Miners lead to 17-9. But the Bulldogs were strongest over the final two minutes of the half, getting a 1-yard scoring plunge from Mims with 1:52 to play and a 45-yard field goal by Silva with 4 seconds left to take a 19-17 advantage into halftime.

Fresno State added to its lead on a 22-yard TD pass from Haener to Mims with 1:17 to play in the third quarter. But UTEP responded with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Calvin Brownholtz to Thompson to pull back to within 26-24 with 14:10 remaining.

Silva made it a five-point game with his third field goal of the game, a 21 yarder with 9:04 left. Then the Bulldogs added a safety, as Hardison fumbled while being sacked in his own end zone and the loose ball was recovered by UTEP lineman Elijah Klein.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Fresno, California, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs head coach Kalen Deboer looks on from the sideline against the Cal Poly Mustangs in the third quarter at Bulldog Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Washington to hire Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer

Washington is close to hiring Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer as its new head coach, multiple outlets reported.

Yahoo Sports said an announcement could happen as soon as Monday.

DeBoer, 47, is in his second year at Fresno State. The Bulldogs went 3-3 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign and finished the 2021 regular season with a 9-3 record, including 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference.

He previously was the offensive coordinator at Indiana (2019), Fresno State (2017-18), Eastern Michigan (2014-16) and Southern Illinois (2010-13). Before that, he guided the University of Sioux Falls to a 67-3 record from 2005-09, winning three NAIA championships and earning three NAIA Coach of the Year awards.

DeBoer would replace Jimmy Lake, who was fired on Nov. 14 after compiling a 7-6 record in less than two seasons in Seattle.

Bob Gregory served as the interim head coach for the final three games for Washington (4-8, 3-6 Pac-12), including last Friday’s 40-13 Apple Cup loss to rival Washington State.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Boise State Broncos head coach Andy Avalos looks on against the UCF Knights during the second half at Bounce House. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State routs No. 23 Fresno State

Jonah Dalmas kicked four field goals and Andrew Van Buren rushed for two touchdowns to help visiting Boise State roll to a 40-14 victory over No. 23 Fresno State in Mountain West play on Saturday night.

Hank Bachmeier was 15-of-27 passing for 283 yards and one touchdown as the Broncos (5-4, 3-2 MW) won their second consecutive game. George Holani racked up 186 yards from scrimmage (117 rushing, 69 receiving) and Khalil Shakir caught seven passes for 67 yards and one score.

JL Skinner, Kekaula Kaniho and younger brother Kaonohi Kaniho had interceptions for the Broncos, who recorded five sacks.

Fresno State’s Jake Haener tossed the three interceptions while completing 22 of 38 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Keric Wheatfall and Zane Pope had scoring receptions for the Bulldogs (7-3, 4-2), who had a three-game winning streak halted.

Boise State outgained Fresno State 470 to 356. The Bulldogs also were hurt by drawing 11 penalties for 91 yards.

A key sequence occurred during the middle of the third quarter. With the Broncos leading by 12, Dalmas kicked a 44-yard field goal but Fresno State’s Cale Sanders Jr. was called for roughing the kicker.

Boise State accepted the penalty that moved the ball to the Bulldogs’ 14-yard line. Three plays later, Bachmeier hit Shakir on a 10-yard scoring pass to make it 23-7 with 6:43 remaining in the quarter.

Dalmas booted a 27-yarder with 13:30 left in the contest to make it a three-score game and Van Buren tacked on a 1-yard scoring run to make it 33-7 with 7:41 remaining.

Tyler Crowe added a 7-yard scoring run with 2:48 left before Fresno State scored on Haener’s 5-yard pass to Pope with 1:10 to play.

Van Buren rushed for a score and Dalmas kicked three field goals as Boise State led 16-7 at the break.

Dalmas’ boots of 47 and 27 yards and Van Buren’s 1-yard run gave the Broncos a 13-0 lead with 12:45 left in the first half. Fresno State got on the board on Haener’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Wheatfall with 5:50 remaining before Dalmas added a 32-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play.

–Field Level Media

CSU football's Dequan Jackson takes down Boise State's Kyjuan Herndon during a game at Canvas Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

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Boise State ready to run with No. 25 Fresno State

No. 25 Fresno State hopes to have all its key offensive cogs when it hosts Boise State on Saturday night in a Mountain West showdown.

The Bulldogs (7-2, 4-1 MWC) have won three straight games while the Broncos (4-4, 2-2) are experiencing a down season under first-year coach Andy Avalos.

Star receiver Jalen Cropper injured his right knee when Fresno State stunned then-No. 21 San Diego State 30-20 last Saturday while leading rusher Ronnie Rivers (ankle) missed the contest after being hurt in the previous week’s win over Nevada.

The return of Rivers (573 rushing yards) would pose a welcome problem as Jordan Mims (504) had a career-best 186 rushing yards against San Diego State and has 320 over the past two weeks.

“With who gets the most touches, I think that’s just how the game plays out,” Bulldogs coach Kalen DeBoer said of the two likely splitting the load. “I really feel like Ronnie is right at that point of being able to be back out there, hopefully a full-go (Tuesday) with practice.”

Cropper is tied for second in the FBS with 10 touchdown receptions. His injury came on a non-contact play and initially looked serious as he was carted off the field.

But he returned to the sidelines later and rode a bike. The outlook continued to look good on Monday, according to offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb.

“He came in the training room (Monday), was loosening it up and we’re confident that he will play,” Grubb told reporters.

Cropper has team-best figures of 61 receptions for 664 yards as the top target of standout quarterback Jake Haener.

Haener has passed for 2,888 yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has six 300-yard outings this season and 10 in 15 career games with Fresno State.

The Bulldogs average 35.0 points and 480.4 yards per game but the defensive contributions have been key. The unit allows just 20.8 points per game and has recorded seven interceptions during the three-game winning streak.

Also, Fresno State has recovered 10 fumbles this season, which is tied for fourth nationally.

Free safety Evan Williams is the star player with team-best figures of 71 tackles and three interceptions. Defensive tackle Kevin Atkins has a team-leading six sacks.

Boise State will provide a test to the defense with quarterback Hank Bachmeier and wideout Khalil Shakir.

Bachmeier has passed for 2,203 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions, while Shakir has 49 receptions for 777 yards and four scores. Shakir had nine catches for 118 yards in last Saturday’s 28-19 road win over Colorado State for his ninth career 100-yard outing.

The Broncos average 29.3 points per game but wins haven’t come as easy as in the past. Boise State had to dig itself out of a 13-0 deficit to beat the Rams, a team they have never lost to in 11 all-time meetings.

“I still think we have a ways to go,” Bachmeier told reporters. “I don’t think we’re a complete team yet in terms of finishing a game and starting fast, but I’m so proud of us for being able to finish that game and come back from a deficit.”

Now Boise State looks to knock Fresno State out of the Top 25. The Broncos lead the series 15-7 but the Bulldogs won the most recent matchup, 19-16 in overtime on Dec. 1, 2018 in the Mountain West title game in Boise.

Avalos is just worried about this week and hoping to see his team record a second straight good performance.

“Every week we’re just trying to be 1-0,” Avalos said. “Overall it was our best performance (of the season).”

–Field Level Media