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Fresno State defensive back Mike Bell (#4) prepares to tackle San Diego State’s Derek Babiash (#31) following an interception thrown by punter Blake Cusick in a failed trick play at Bulldog Stadium on Friday, Oct. 14. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Bulldogs speared by Aztecs

Fresno State lost again Friday, this time to the San Diego State Aztecs on Homecoming, 17-3. The loss drops the Bulldogs to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in conference play.

Head coach Tim DeRuyter was left looking for answers following another tough loss amid performances that ranged from gutsy to mediocre.

“I was proud of our guys’ effort, but we’ve got to find a way to get over the top — find a way to win,” DeRuyter said.

The defense again struggled against the run, giving up 292 yards. Star Aztecs senior running back Donnel Pumphrey had his way with the Bulldogs defense, racking up 220 yards and two touchdowns.

The Aztecs played a simple offensive game, methodically moving the ball down the field with the run game. Pumphrey was the focal point all game. He had a season-high of 38 attempts, averaging 5.8 yards each time.

Fresno State’s defensive weakness is against the run, and the Aztecs exploited it. This game plan gave Fresno State very few chances to get something going on offense. San Diego State dominated time of possession, 37:19 to Fresno’s 22:41.

When the Bulldogs did have the ball, they barely were able to move it down the field. Quarterback Chason Virgil was 16 of 26 for 139 yards and two interceptions. The running game failed to post two good games in a row. Running back Dontel James had found his rhythm against Nevada the week before, but only gained 34 yards on 15 attempts against the Aztecs.

Fresno State wide receiver KeeSean Johnson found the most success on offense, leading the team with eight receptions for 56 yards. After the game, he credited the defense for holding San Diego State to 17 points and attributed the offensive woes to a lack of execution.

The Bulldogs travel to Logan, Utah, to face the 2-4 Utah State Aggies on Saturday, Oct. 22.