FRESNO — After falling behind 10-7 with 13:58 seconds left in the second quarter, the Fresno State Bulldogs outscored the Colorado State Rams 31-7 the rest of the game to earn a 38-17 victory on October 29 at Bulldog Stadium.
“I could not be prouder of these guys. It was a great team win and a great response,” said Kalen DeBoer, Fresno State head coach. “We never wavered, we didn’t waver after the first week’s loss and we didn’t waver throughout the course of this game. We kept fighting, scratching, and clawing and that what we are priding ourselves on. Bulldog Tough.”
It was the first win of DeBoer’s tenure as head coach for the Bulldogs.
After Fresno State stopped Colorado State on their first drive of the game, Fresno State scored a touchdown when Jake Haener connected with Ronnie Rivers on a 13-yard touchdown pass to give Fresno State the early 7-0 lead.
Hanford native Tyler Mello, 2020 Hanford High graduate, recorded four tackles in the game, including three hard hits to stop the Rams kick returner. He also had one tackle late in the game on defense.
After Colorado State scored the next 10 points of the game to take a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter, Fresno State responded with 17 straight points to close the first half.
The Bulldogs scored on a 34-yard field goal by Cesar Silva, a 32-yard touchdown run by Rivers, and their final score of the second quarter came on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Haener to Jordan Mims that gave the Bulldogs a 24-10 halftime lead.
Fresno State extended their lead to 31-10 late in the third quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by Rivers. It was his third combined touchdown of the game.
Rivers finished the game with 23 carries for 93 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also had five catches for 69 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Coach DeBoer praised Rivers effort and knows the Bulldogs need to get him the ball to be successful.
“That guy is a beast. I thought the coaching staff did a nice job of getting him the touches and you saw it in the pass game,” DeBoer said. “What I have taken away from Ronnie is his growth and maturity as a football player and how he prepares. He is an amazing football player.”
After Colorado State drove the ball down to the Fresno State three-yard line on the ensuing possession, Fresno State’s defense forced a turnover on downs. This kept the score 31-10 after three quarters of play.
David Perales recovered a fumble for Fresno State at the Colorado State 17 yard line with 10:39 left in the game. The Bulldogs scored five plays later when Haener connected with Jalen Cropper for a 6-yard touchdown pass that extended the Bulldogs lead to 38-10 midway through the fourth quarter. That would be the final score of the game.
Haener ended the game going 22-for-32 for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Cropper had four catches for 42 yards. Mims had three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Keric Wheatfall led the Bulldogs with five catches for 87 yards.
Coming off last weeks loss to Hawaii, Haener said he was proud of how the team responded against the Rams.
“I think the way we responded is what I will remember. We had a really good week of practice and the team was really positive,” Haener said. “It was impressive with how the team came back to work and the coaches prepared and gave us the opportunity to do really good things.”
Fresno State improved to 1-1 on the season and in the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State returns to the field on Saturday, November 7 traveling to play UNLV in Las Vegas.
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