Fresno State running back Marteze Waller and the ‘Dogs wore black during their 28-21 win over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Nov. 29, 2014 at Bulldog Stadium. (Logan Downing/The Collegian)
It is official. The return of blackout football is here. The ‘Dogs will sport their blackout uniforms Saturday night when they welcome No. 21 Utah into Bulldog Stadium.
For those who have not seen the blackout uniforms, the Nike Combat jerseys that were created back in 2013 were a new, intricate addition to Fresno State football. The all-black jerseys were created through computer graphics supplied by Nike. They feature red numbers and names on the back of the jerseys, with the names being a different shade. The black helmets sport a gray outline Bulldog face with red eyes and a red tongue in place of the typical white four-paw dog.
“When we wear the black uniforms, great things have happened on football game days,” senior associate athletic director Paul Ladwig said.
Last year, the Bulldogs debuted an all-navy jersey with the spiffy chrome helmet to complement the jersey. However, that promotion had nowhere near the impact the blackout jersey had when it debuted.
When the blackout jersey came out, there was a buzz in the air. With the excitement leading up to the debut, the 41,031 seats in Bulldog Stadium sold out in record time. Fresno State hopes that excitement returns this Saturday.
“There was a new energy in the stadium,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We used that energy and won the blackout game so, hopefully, we can do that Saturday. We’re going to need the fans’ energy this weekend.”
When the ‘Dogs debuted their black jerseys, they defeated Nevada 41-23 in front of the standing-room-only, black Bulldog Stadium. Now, this year’s team hopes to recreate that magic.
“The black gives us that extra surge,” senior defensive back Shannon Edwards said. “We don’t lose in the black, and that is our mindset.”
The ‘Dogs are excited to be back at home. Hoping to get back in the win column after a rough weekend on the road in Mississippi, history is definitely on their side. Over the last 17 seasons, Fresno State owns a record of 82-24 at Bulldog Stadium and is 18-2 at home under DeRuyter. The ‘Dogs are also 3-0 at home wearing the black uniforms. The team hopes those odds remain in their favor this weekend against a solid Utah team.
Tickets are still on sale for the game at the ticket office or online at gobulldogs.com. Fresno State currently is offering a special package for those who have not got their tickets yet. That package includes four tickets to the game, one official game day blackout shirt, all for $99 when purchasing seats in the end zones or $149 for seats between the 10- and 20-yard lines. This special package will be available to public until Thursday.
Student tickets are also still available for purchase at the student union and also at the ticket office.