Fresno State freshman running back Jordan Mims runs with the ball on Oct. 14, 2017 against New Mexico. The Bulldogs won 38-0. (Daniel Avalos/The Collegian)

‘Dogs shut out New Mexico at Homecoming

The Fresno State football team put on a show for the returning alumni at Homecoming with a 38-0 shutout win against New Mexico on Saturday.

After three empty drives to start the game, the offense flipped the switch. Junior quarterback Marcus McMaryion showcased his arm talent with two touchdown passes, including a 70-yard bomb to Jamire Jordan which opened the scoring for the Bulldogs.

The quarterback passed for 171 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone. He added a 57-yard run on a third down. He finished with 299 passing yards and three touchdowns.  

The ‘Dogs jumped out to a 21-0 lead at halftime, in large part due to McMaryion.

Not wanting to take all the credit, McMaryion heaped praise upon his teammates for his success through the air.

“Those guys are just out there making plays and making my job a lot easier,” McMaryion said. “I just have to put the ball in the right spot, and those guys are going to make the plays for me.”

He wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t just his receivers making plays. Everyone on the team seemed to get in on the action.

Running backs Josh Hokit and Ronnie Rivers split the ground-attack with a combined two rushing touchdowns and 109 yards.

The Bulldogs more than doubled up the Lobos on the ground, rushing for a robust 227 yards on 36 attempts to New Mexico’s 109 yards.

“They are a tough team to run the ball against,” said Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford. “They had nine guys on the line of scrimmage, and we got a couple big balls on them, so they started to go with single-high defense.”

Not to be overshadowed by the offense, the defense had a field day of its own.

As a unit, the ‘Dogs were stifling against a potent New Mexico attack that ranked fourth in the Mountain West conference in rushing yards. The ‘Dogs’ defense allowed just 322 total yards.

“I was really proud of the defense. That’s a hard job to do to stop that group, and to shut them out is a big deal,” Tedford said.

Late in the game, the defense had yet to allow the New Mexico offense to reach the Fresno State 20-yard line. At that point, the shutout became important, sophomore defensive back Juju Hughes said.

“We don’t like to give things up,” Hughes said. “We have a thing where we wanted to go over 50 percent in the red zone, and that was our only trip down there. It meant a lot to us.”

Hughes, the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week, had a career-high 11 tackles.

“This team wants to play, and this team wants to win,” Hughes said. “We play for each other and I think everyone can see that right now.”

Sophomore safety Mike Bell made his second career start and had a career night, totaling 10 tackles and getting his first career interception.

“I come into every game looking to have a great game,” Bell said. “It’s just playing at Homecoming in front of a bigger stage and doing it in front of more people and alumni, so it was pretty cool.”

This is the first shutout for the Bulldogs in Mountain West play. They joined the conference in 2012. Fresno State also shut out Incarnate Word 66-0 to start the season, marking the first time since 1988 the team has put up two shutouts in the same season.

Fresno State sits in first place in the Mountain West’s West Division as it gets ready to play the second-place San Diego State Aztecs on the road Saturday. The Aztecs lost to Boise State 31-14 at home Saturday. The Bulldogs are 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain West for the first time since 2013.