The heavens opened up last night at Bulldog Stadium and helped Fresno State wash away it's victory drought with a win over UNLV. The Bulldogs were down 11 points to begin the fourth quarter, but redshirt freshman quarterback Kilton Anderson led two quick scoring drives to put away the Rebels in front of an announced crowd of 25,604, as a flash flood rain storm came down near the end of the game. Fresno State had been 1-18 when losing in the fourth quarter over the last four years, with the one victory coming over Rutgers during the first game of the 2013 season.
Many of the same problems that have plagued the Bulldogs during their five game losing streak were still a bother against the Rebels, poor tackling, dropped and inaccurate passes, errant special teams and an inability to get off the field on third downs on defense. The difference last night was the Bulldogs refused to crumble, despite their mistakes and they looked to improve.
Anderson looked better than he did a week ago, and the offense looked like it's expected to look. The offense under Derek Carr was never the true triple offense spread, because he was such a proficient passer that it never needed the third element. Kilton Anderson improved as a passer, completing 61.3 percent of his passes without any turnovers. The element that has always been missing from the offense was finally discovered with Anderson used as a legitimate run threat, rushing 11 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns. This forced the Rebel defense to key on Anderson and give up some pressure on Marteze Waller who had one of his best games of the season with 111 yards on 21 carries and 2 TDs.
Though the Fresno State defense still allowed a 50 percent success rate on third down for UNLV. Led by senior leader, Ejiro Ederaine, who finished with a team high 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and one and a half sack, the Bulldog defense finished with six sacks and nine tackles for loss. After a missed field goal in the beginning of the fourth quarter, Ederaine sacked UNLV quarterback, Kurt Palandech on a third and nine to get the ball back to the Bulldog offense. On the ensuing possession, Anderson led the Bulldogs 54 yards in three plays and 0:53 seconds to tighten the score to 28-23, after a failed two point conversion attempt.
On UNLV's following possession, Fresno State senior defensive end, Claudell Louis sacked Palandech on a 2nd and 7 and fellow senior defensive end Todd Hunt, who became a father earlier in the week, hurried Palandech on 3rd and 12 to get the ball back to the Bulldog offense. Though the offense for the Bulldogs stalled on the next drive, forcing a punt, the defense continued to hold strong in the fourth quarter, holding UNLV to a three and out. With 4:25 to go in the fourth quarter the Bulldogs had the ball and one more chance to complete the comeback vs the Rebels.
Two short passes to Jamire Jordan, who led the receiving corps with five catches for 44 yards, and Delvon Hardaway by Kilton Anderson, helped keep the UNLV defense honest and set up two runs by Waller, including 38 yard score to put the Bulldogs up for good. Anderson completed a pass to Chad Olsen, who also had three catches for 44 yards, to score the two-point conversion, putting the Bulldogs up, 31-28.
The rain continued to pour down in buckets on UNLV's final drive and the Bulldogs added two more sacks, the first by Louis and Ederaine and the second by sophomore Justin Green. As the rain seemed to wash away the stench of a five game losing streak, hopefully the Bulldogs will continue to grow and improve upon finally getting their first conference win of the 2015 season.