Rams shutout Bulldogs

Senior quarterback Zach Kline (#10) attempts to throw past Colorado State’s defensive lineman Toby McBride (#97) in Saturday afternoon’s 37-0 shutout at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics)

Fresno State lost its eighth straight football game Saturday, a first in the program’s history. The Colorado State Rams shut out the Bulldogs 37-0, dropping the Bulldogs’ record to 1-9.  

Fresno State’s defense started strong, forcing a turnover on downs on the Rams’ first drive, but could not keep it up. Colorado State kicked a field goal on its next possession and scored a touchdown on each of the next five possessions.

Interim head coach Eric Kiesau planned on giving backup quarterback Zach Kline some playing time, but his hand was forced early when starting quarterback Chason Virgil suffered a left-shoulder injury on the first drive. Kline entered the game on the Bulldog’s second possession and played for the remainder of the game, but was unable to get the offense going.

Kiesau even covered up the names on the back of the jerseys to bring his team together and remove any individual focus. The coaching staff also wore shirts which said “I’m In,” a reference to Kiesau’s message to the team when he took over about the team being “all in.”

“Everything we’re doing here, since we took over, is really to focus on the team, and if there’s anything we can do to get them off the individuals and buy in more to the team, which they’re doing a great job,” Kiesau said. “It was just one more way to symbolize that.”

The offense did not get a first down until the second quarter, and managed 12 total compared to Colorado State’s 28. The Rams also dominated in total yards, 494 to 253.

Kline saw more playing time than he had all year, but did not make the most of it. He was 11 of 24 for 147 yards with an interception. Kline also had 17 carries for 26 yards, a 1.5 yards per carry average.

“We fought hard out there,” Kline said. “It was tough for us because we get so close, but then we’re just not there.”

Kline expressed his confidence in the team and said the Bulldogs will bounce back.

The win brings Colorado State to 5-4 and keeps the Rams in a good position for a bowl game. Rams starting quarterback Nick Stevens was 18 of 23 for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Michael Gallup caught nine passes for 126 yards receiving and one touchdown.

The last time Fresno State endured a shutout was a 51-0 loss in 2010 to Boise State, then the No. 3-ranked team in the country.  

The search is still on for the next head coach, and the position could be filled this week. Fresno State enters its bye week which could set up an announcement from athletic director Jim Bartko.

The Bulldogs return home in two weeks to play Hawaii, and finish the season the following week at home against San Jose State.

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