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Fresno State offensive lineman Sean Rubalcava grabs onto Wyoming nose tackle Uso Olive during the Bulldogs' 45-17 loss to the Cowboys Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium. Photo by Darlene Wendels/The Collegian

Football: Ground game dooms Fresno State, ‘Dogs fall to 3-6

Fresno State offensive lineman Sean Rubalcava grabs onto Wyoming nose tackle Uso Olive during the Bulldogs' 45-17 loss to the Cowboys Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium. Photo by Darlene Wendels/The Collegian

Fresno State offensive lineman Sean Rubalcava grabs onto Wyoming nose tackle Uso Olive during the Bulldogs’ 45-17 loss to the Cowboys Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium. Photo by Darlene Wendels/The Collegian

The Fresno State football team gave up a Mountain West record 387 all-purpose yards to Wyoming freshman running back Brian Hill en route to a 45-17 defeat to the Cowboys Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.

The blowout loss drops the Bulldogs to 3-6 on the year, 2-3 in Mountain West play and places them in a situation where they must win out in order to be eligible to play in a bowl game.

Wyoming (4-5, 2-3 MW), on the other hand, snapped a four-game losing skid.

“I was extremely disappointed with the way we played,” Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “It starts with the coaches and with me. We got out-coached, we got out-played, and there’s no excuses for it. We’re going to go through that tape and get things fixed.

“We have some guys on this team giving great effort, and I feel deeply disappointed for those guys. We don’t have 11 guys at a time or 22 guys at a time doing that. Clearly, we’re not able to execute efficient enough and we have to get that fixed.”

Fresno State got off to a productive start early on in the first quarter, as free safety Derron Smith returned a punt 52 yards to the Wyoming 8-yard line to help set up a touchdown run by Marteze Waller to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.

The lead, however, wouldn’t last long. The Cowboys would march down the field and cap their second drive of the game with a 32-yard touchdown run from Hill.

Early in the ensuing quarter, Wyoming marched down the field and took the lead with a Colby Kirkegaard 16-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Jake Maulhardt for the go-ahead score.

The Bulldogs scored again before halftime on a 28-yard field goal from freshman kicker Kody Kroening, but not before Hill broke free for a 66-yard rushing touchdown.

Behind Hill’s explosive running, the Cowboys inflated their lead by racking up 24 straight points coming out of the locker room to hold a commanding 45-10 lead.

“I’ll have to go back and watch the film,” Smith said, “but late in the game like that is about playing for pride. If they’re busting runs like that play after play, something is not going right. So like Coach said, we still have to watch the film.

“My initial sense was that we have to start questioning some people hard out there. I’m not going to get too upset with the heart and effort part until I see the film.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Zack Greenlee got the start this week but was replaced early in the fourth quarter by former starter Brian Burrell after failing to establish consistency.

Burrell threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Aaron Peck for the game’s final score.

The freshman Greenlee finished 7-of-16 for just 55 yards and Burrell put up 94 yards while completing seven of 13 attempts.

Waller led the team in rising Saturday night with 18 carries for 116 yards and a score.
Senior leaders like Josh Harper have one thing in mind at the moment, and that is to use the film as a learning experience and finish the season strong.

“It’s not a good feeling at all,” Harper said. “I feel like we were ready for the game, but nothing went as planned. I really don’t have the answer to what went wrong but we have to go back to the film and look at it to see what went wrong.”