Sep 21, 2018

Postgame: Fresno State 52, Nevada 36

Reno, Nev. — Fresno State’s 52-36 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack all but ensures that the Bulldogs will be playing for a Mountain West Conference championship on Nov. 24 when they host Air Force at Bulldog Stadium in the regular-season finale.

The Bulldogs (8-3, 6-1) are tied with San Diego State (8-3, 6-1) for first place in Mountain West standings. The Aztecs lost to Fresno State 52-40 on Sept. 29.

Here are some tidbits on the Bulldogs’ win over the Wolf Pack:

– Running back Robbie Rouse carried the ball for 261 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. Rouse accounted for more than half of the Bulldogs’ 500 yards of total offense.

– Rouse’s production outmatched Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson (19 carries for 95 yards and three rushing touchdowns), the nation’s leader in rushing yardage. Jefferson (an El Diamante High product) has 1,436 yards on 290 carries and is averaging 5 yards per carry.

– Head coach Tim DeRuyter on Rouse’s performance: “The guy’s a stud. We’ve been saying all along he’s our franchise and the heart and soul of our team. You can’t say enough superlatives about the guy. He’s such a guy of high character and class that you love him having that kind of success.”

– Rouse’s response to DeRuyter’s comments: “It’s a great honor. It’s a great program and we have so many great guys in the locker room. I just do whatever I can to help my team get victories.”

– The Bulldogs’ three defensive touchdowns tied the school record for most scored in a game. Phillip Thomas and Derron Smith each nabbed interceptions. Smith made his first career interception touchdown return on Saturday.

– DeRuyter on the defense’s effort: “It was guys in the pass rush getting a sack and guys being relentless in pass rush… we’ve got good football players and they stepped up and made plays.”

– Thomas and Smith lead the nation in interceptions with 8 and 6, respectively.

– Thomas on the defense’s production: “Interceptions are not the only thing we can get. You see Travis with the funble strip and his touchdown. And you see D-Lew (linebacker Donovan Lewis) with the sack and forced fumble that scored a touchdown. If they’re not throwing the ball, we have other ways of getting the ball out and just creating turnovers like we’ve been doing all year.”

– Fresno State will have the chance to win its first conference championship since 1999 in the Bulldogs’ Nov. 24 season finale against Air Force. The Bulldogs won a share of the Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1999. This is the Bulldogs’ first season in the Mountain West Conference.

– DeRuyter on Fresno State’s position to win at least a share of the Mountain West crown: “We came here (Reno) for a mission: We wanted to win one more game so that we have a chance to win a league championship. We haven’t done that in a long time in Fresno — and we’re one game away.”

– Fresno State received six votes in the AP Top 25 rankings — the most votes the team has received this season.

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