Continuing on with my little off-season jaunt down the history of Fresno State football, I figured I’d look into scoring. Unlike in golf, football is of course all about scoring more than the other team. Sometimes that gets you caught in a track meet, sometimes it’s just because the other team can’t stop you scoring. Either way, let’s take a look into the highest scoring games that I can find records for in Fresno State history.
- 94-17 over New Mexico, October 5, 1991. In one of the biggest revenge games in modern history, Jim Sweeney’s Bulldogs unleashed an absolute hurricane on the Lobos of New Mexico in 1991. During the 1989 season, Sweeney’s Dogs were undefeated and nationally ranked before a season ending loss to New Mexico that kept the Bulldogs from winning 12 games for the first time in their history. 2 years later, back in Fresno, Mark Barsotti and Co. truly showed the Lobos who was boss. Now, this was a good Fresno State team and a bad New Mexico team, but it’s incredibly rare for an FBS team to score 94 points in a game. Most FBS over bad FCS games don’t get that high. There is talk that the Dogs could have broken the century mark for the first time in an FBS game since 1968, but the team went full ground game to burn the clock. They did not attempt a single pass in the second half after already being up 66-7, but were stopped on 4th down at the 5yd line with 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. They would end the 1991 season 10-2, and was the third of 5 seasons where they would be ranked in the national polls at least once.
- 79-13 over Idaho, September 1, 2018. The first glimpse of what Fresno State could be in 2018 came quite early, as the Bulldogs demolished the Idaho Vandals in the season opener. Scoring early and often, including on two blocked field goals returned for touchdowns by Jaron Bryant. The newly demoted Vandals truly had no answer, with Fresno State scoring 7 times on the ground, 1 pick-six, 1 passing touchdown, and the two blocked kicks. It was such a blowout, that kicker Asa Fuller scored as many points as Idaho, even with a missed field goal and a missed PAT. This game set the tone for a Bulldog team that would finally win 12 games, and end the year ranked in all of the major polls for the first time since 2004.
- 70-14 over Hawaii, November 12, 2004. Pat Hill teams were never really known for running up the score, dynamic offense, or keeping the pedal down, but all three happened in a game against Hawaii in 2004. These two teams are rarely on friendly terms, especially during the early 2000s, so it makes more sense that Pat Hill would allow a true blowout to happen. After three straight losses took the Dogs out of BCS Bowl contention, they proceeded to unleash their anger against every time on the back half of their schedule. They shut out SMU 42-0, destroyed Rice 52-21 (yes, the WAC was weird back then), then followed it all up against Hawaii, putting 10 touchdowns on the board against the Warriors. This was Hawaii under Timmy Chang and June Jones, who would go on to set numerous NCAA records and an undefeated 2007 season with Colt Brennan, so to blow them out so incredibly was pretty rare. In what seems to be a trend in these insanely high scoring games, the ground game is where the damage is done. Fresno State rushed for 503 yards and 9 touchdowns, behind Bryson Sumlin’s and Wendell Mathis’ banner days. Just like the above game against Idaho, there was only 1 passing touchdown. The Bulldogs ran over Hawaii so quickly, the score was 49-0 by halftime, on the way to 679 yards of total offense. This won’t be the only 2004 game no this list, but there’s a few others to get to first.
- 70-21 over Utah State, December 1, 2001. The biggest what-if season in Fresno State history, 2001 started out with so much promise. Fresno State was No.8 in the polls, David Carr was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, things were good. Then Boise State happened, and everything went sideways. Even though they were still a respectable 10-2, the hopes of BCS busting was dashed, the WAC title was gone, so pride was it. Now, Utah State in the early 2000s was bad. Abysmally bad. But 70 is still a lot of points to score. Fresno State put up 28 points before USU even got off the blocks, and David Carr was his normal electric self on offense. He had 5 passing touchdowns before the first half ended, and the Dogs were up 56-14 at the break. If there’s anything that the Aggies could take from this game, it’s that they tied the Dogs in the second half, with both teams scoring twice. David got his 6th passing touchdown, which would be a record until 2013, and kicker Asa Aspurahov was a perfect 10/10 on PATs. If only the Bulldogs had beaten Boise or LA Tech in that season, we could have seen a true BCS Buster 3 years before Utah did it in 2004.
- 69-14 over Colorado, September 15, 2012. In the second season for Jon Embree, and the first season for Tim DeRuyter, two coaches going in seemingly completely opposite directions met in Bulldog Stadium in the first PAC-12 team to travel to Bulldog Stadium in 6 years. After a pedestrian game against Weber State, and a game against #4 Oregon that was closer than anyone expected it to be, the Dogs returned to the friendly confines against a bad Colorado team. All eyes were on Robbie Rouse for this game, as he came in less than 100 yards from the all-time Fresno State rushing record. And he definitely got that record and then some as the Dogs demolished the Buffaloes to really show that the new look Bulldogs meant business. Derek Carr led the day with 300 passing yards, and Robbie Rouse broke the all-time record on a 94yd touchdown run in the 1st quarter. The Dogs were up 35-0 by the end of the first quarter, and didn’t look back from there, moving to 55-7 by the halfway point. Colorado’s revolving door at QB did not pay off for them, as Phillip Thomas had 3 interceptions and 2 pick-sixes, with Derron Smith adding another INT. The Dogs used this game to propel them to 9 wins, and a share of the Mountain West Championship in their first year in the conference.
- 69-28 over New Mexico, November 23, 2013. Oh hey, it’s the Lobos again. They’re a bit of a recurring theme for high-scoring Fresno State games, they’ll probably show up one more time before I’m done here. Senior Day, a number 15 ranking, ESPN in the building. What a time for the undefeated Bulldogs to show their best to the country, and they definitely did. Known all year for their explosive offense, Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Isiah Burse, and Josh Harper put on a clinic for 522 yards and 7 touchdowns. The ESPN cameras definitely got their fill of offense as the Dogs went to town on the hapless Lobo defense to the tune of 820 total yards, and Derek Carr passed 100 career touchdowns in a Bulldog uniform. I’m just going to ignore what happened in the rest of the season, and remember this stunning display of Fresno State offense to help secure their 2nd straight Mountain West Conference title.
- 68-21 over New Mexico, September 3, 1988. You know what I just said about New Mexico? Well, here they are again. Another massive blowout over the Lobos, this time in Albuquerque to extend New Mexico’s losing streak to 12 games. The first game of the 1988 season, the first game of Mike Barsotti as quarterback, and a truly hapless opponent. All the stars aligned for a Fresno State offensive explosion. The Dogs scored on 10 straight possessions to make it 54-7 by the end of the half. Like the Utah State game, at least the opposing team can feel like they did something positive by scoring as going score for score in the 2nd half. Even with the stunning loss in 1989, Fresno State put some absolutely prodigious beatings on New Mexico in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Not even the Mike Lockesley teams were that bad.
- 63-12 over San Jose State, November 20, 1999. Honestly wish I could find more information on this one, because there’s nothing better than blowing out a rival to nearly historic levels. This game came during a run of 12 straight wins against the Spartans that ran from 1991-2005, even with a few breaks in the early 90s. I can say though that the Bulldogs rushed for over 300 yards in the game, with 6 touchdowns coming on the ground. If anybody has more info about this game, I’d love to hear it.
- 63-37 over San Diego State, November 20, 1993. Talk about weird coincidences. Same day, same points scored by the Bulldogs, against another CSU rival. Also the first time that San Diego State would ever visit Bulldog Stadium, and followed up an instant classic in 1992 where Trent Dilfer outgunned Marshall Faulk in San Diego for a 45-41 win. They followed it up with another fantastic game, where Ron Rivers and Trent Dilfer again swamped the Aztecs and Marshall Faulk, one of the best to play the game. It seemed like the game was over at halftime, with Fresno State up 35-10. There must have been one heck of a halftime speech though, because the Aztecs roared back to make it 35-30. Ron Rivers and Trent Dilfer decided playtime was over though, and scored on their next four possessions, ending the day scoring on 9 of 13 possessions. Even with 205 yards from Marshall Faulk, it wasn’t enough to stop Fresno State from rolling for 696 total yards in the game.
- 62-28 over San Jose State, November 27, 2004. The 2004 season comes up once again, and again illustrates just how strong that team was in the second half of the season. After October 30th, that Fresno State team scored an average of 53 points per game including 70 against Hawaii and 62 here against SJSU. The Spartans were bad, Fitz Hill was on his way out, and the Dogs were angry. Pretty much only one result could come from that, and the Dogs exerted their will pretty easily in this game. The Spartans did score one time in every quarter, but they just couldn’t keep pace with Paul Pinegar and the Bulldog offense. The score was 41-14 at the half, pretty close to the 2003 final score of 41-7 Dogs. Like so many other games that year, Bryson Sumlin and Wendell Mathis carried the day to end the season on a high note, and set up a win against the #18 ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the MPC Computers Bowl (yes, it was a hokey name for what is now the Potato Bowl).
61-14 over Idaho, 2013
60-0 over SDSU, 1960
58-21 over Nevada, 2000
55-54 over Toledo, 2008
54-17 over Nevada, 2004
53-52 over Illinois, 2009 (Devon Cunningham’s deflected 2pt conversion catch)
53-12 over SJSU, 1997 (how does that score even happen)
51-7 over Bowling Green, 1985