Thank God I'm not a coach. After three blowout loses to start the season (USC, Utah and Nebraska) and two unthinkable loses to Mountain West conference foes (UNLV and Wyoming) I was ready to give the Fresno State 2014 football season up for dead and yet here there are at 6-6 and in position avenge their loss to Boise State from earlier in the season and win their third straight Mountain West Conference title. At 6-6 it's really been a tale of two seasons for Fresno State and the same could be said of their win over a 4-9 Hawaii team that was dominated in the first half and at one point early in the second half had -19 yards rushing. Yet the Warriors were able to score 21 points in the 4th quarter and forced the Bulldogs to recover an onside kick in the final minutes to secure the victory.
Through the adversity all season the 2014 Fresno State Bulldogs have never wavered and for as much as some may have wanted to be uncomfortable during Hawaii's late quarter barrage of interceptions and touchdowns somehow this team was going to find a way, so lets talk about the good.
Fresno State Seniors - Defense
Considering the difficulty of this season it's was easy to imagine this team going into the tank at some point this season, and yet here they are now bowl eligible and in the second Mountain West Championship game in as many years. These guys have kept the team together and made big plays on the field when it mattered. Senior linebacker Karl Mickelsen picked off the second pass of his career on Hawaii's first offensive snap. This coming one week after snagging his first career interception in Reno against Nevada. Mickelsen also finished with 8 tackles on the night. Senior safety Derron Smith notched his first interception of the season and his 10 tackles were a team high. Senior linebacker Donovan Lewis added 3 tackles and a sack. Senior defensive lineman, Tyeler Davison looked like a man among boys finished with 5 tackles, a forced fumble and three sacks, which was the most sacks recorded in a game by a Bulldog since Chris Carter has three against New Mexico State on October 16, 2010.
Fresno State Seniors - Offense
On offense senior wideout Josh Harper led the team 83 yards receiving on 8 receptions which moved him past Isaiah Burse for third most receptions in Bulldogs history. Senior offensive linemen Josh Trembley and Cody Wichman, who started his 48th game at Fresno State, did their job in opening holes for Junior running back, Marteze Waller (28 carries, 137 yards, 2 TDs) and Senior running back Josh "Juice" Quezada (8 carries, 33 yards, 1 TD) and protecting Brian Burrell, who had 162 yards and a TD through the air to go along with two interceptions.
The Improbable Run of Fresno State
On November 1 of this year, Fresno State walked off Jim Sweeney Field at Bulldog Stadium having given up the most yards from scrimmage in Mountain West Conference history to true freshman, Brian Hill, in a 45-17 thumping at the hands of Wyoming. They were 3-6 and it looked as if the bottom had dropped out of the season. Less than a month later the Bulldogs are packing their bags to play a rematch with Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Championship. Thank God I'm not a coach, but wow it feels good to be a fan.