Fresno State 52, San Diego State 40: The Bulldogs Regain The Oil Can

Cougar Williams

The Fresno State Bulldogs win their first Mountain West game against the Aztecs 52-40.

What a game this was. Fresno State was favored by 7, and the Bulldogs would cover. But not before some general craziness punctuated by the Fresno State student section grabbing and shredding a SDSU banner from a visiting fan. Both teams went up by two scores in this game - twice. QB Derek Carr tied a Fresno State record for passing yardage and broke the school record for completions en route to leading the Bulldogs to 655 yards of total offense.

The game began with the Bulldogs holding the Aztecs to a 3 and out. After getting the ball, Fresno State jumped into San Diego State territory on a 41-yard pass from Carr to Davante Adams - and promptly turned it over on downs. The Aztecs punted again immediately, but this time, in a rare occurence, Robbie Rouse coughed up the ball and San Diego State capitalized, scoring on a touchdown run by Adam Muema. The Bulldogs' next drive resulted in another turnover.

This one was a deflected pass intercepted and returned to the house by Leon McFadden. The two teams swapped touchdowns on their next drives. Then the Fresno State defense pulled it together and began forcing turnovers, and the offense got in a rythm. For the rest of the game, except when Fresno State made a mistake, the Aztecs simply could not stop the Bulldogs. The teams went into halftime with a score of 36-27, Fresno State having blocked and ran back an extra point on the Aztecs' last touchdown of the half.

Fresno State came out and moved the ball right down the field on their first drive of the half, until Rouse fumbled AGAIN. Coming into the game Rouse had only lost two fumbles in over 700 career touches of the ball. The Aztecs capitalized again and the game got a bit closer. On the next drive, the Bulldogs marched down the field into the red zone. At the San Diego State 4, Carr was flushed out of the pocket and made a poor decision, trying to force the ball. Leon McFadden made him pay, jumping the route and taking another to the house. That was the last time the Aztecs would score. The Bulldogs scored twice more on Derek Carr passes to Rashad Evans, and Ryan Katz was sacked on 4th and 7 with less than 2 minutes by Tristan Okpalaugo to end the game.

The score of the game belies how well the Bulldogs' defense played. They held the Aztecs to 339 total yards and 26 offensive points while forcing 5 turnovers. Phillip Thomas made two absolutely spectacular interceptions, bringing his total to 5 on the year, making him first in the nation.

The team as a whole also leads in that category with 11, plus 4 forced fumbles on the year, two in this game. On offense, except for the miscues, the Bulldogs shredded the Aztecs. 3 different receivers had over 100 yards receiving. Rashad Evans caught 10 passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns in his first game back from academic ineligiblitiy. Josh Harper caught nine passes for 120 and a touchdown and Davante Adams hauled in 8 for 102 yards. Isaiah Burse caught 5 for 84 yards and Carr's final TD pass of the day.

Carr was 42 of 56 for 536 yards and 5 touchdowns against 2 interceptions. He also added 5 runs for 43 yards. Rouse finished with 21 carries for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Aztecs' high-powered rushing game was held to 179 yards, 67 of which came on a single scramble from Ryan Katz. Katz was 13 of 23 for 160 yards, two touchdowns, and 3 picks.

The Bulldogs go on the road to face Colorado State next week.

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