The Bulldogs’ first Mountain West Conference test of the season ended in major defeat, losing on the road 45-20 to the UNLV Rebels.
Fresno State falls to 1-4 on the season; UNLV improves to 2-3.
Rebels quarterback Dalton Sneed had previously thrown only one pass in his career. But he gave the Bulldogs fits, passing for 129 yards and a touchdown while adding 147 yards and another touchdown on the ground.
Fresno State struggled with many missed tackles, most notably letting Sneed escape in his own end zone to sprint down the field for a 91-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The game had been touted as a fresh start for Fresno State. However, the team’s struggles continued as the same issues from previous losses plagued the ’Dogs.
The Bulldogs’ defense again failed to stop the run, giving up over 300 rushing yards for the third straight week. To go along with the porous run defense, Fresno State’s own running game again struggled to get anything going, with running back Dontel James only managing 53 yards on 18 carries.
Bulldogs quarterback Chason Virgil threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns, but he was inconsistent completing 16 of 45 passes for a 36 percent completion rate.
One bright spot on the Fresno State offense was wide receiver Aaron Peck, who finished the game with five receptions for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns.
Punter Blake Cusick again found himself busy, averaging 41.8 yards on eight punts. Cusick and the punt team allowed just one return yard total.
Although the Bulldogs fell to 1-4, they will get a chance next week to pick up their first conference win and put themselves in a better position to compete in the Mountain West. Fresno State travels to Reno to face Nevada, which lost to Hawaii 38-17.