Nov 22, 2019
Bulldogs receiver KeeSean Johnson breaks a New Mexico defender's tackle in Fresno State's 38-7 win. Johnson had a career-high 149 receiving yards and two touchdowns. (April Torres/ The Daily Lobo)

Bulldogs defense halts high-powered New Mexico offense

The story of the Fresno State Bulldogs’ magical season continued on Saturday when it thoroughly dominated the University of New Mexico Lobos on the road, 38-7.

Getting off to fast starts offensively has been a great strength for this team thus far.

After a 10-play, 44-yard drive to begin the game resulted in a missed field goal by kicker Asa Fuller, the ‘Dogs would score points on six of the next seven drives, including five touchdowns and a field goal.

Running back Ronnie Rivers has proven to be an instrumental component to the success of the offense since his return to action after suffering a foot injury during Spring practice.

Against the Lobos, Rivers found the end zone three times, two of them being on the ground and third a 23-yard catch and run down the sideline to make the score line a 31 point margin, where it would stay.

Since returning against Toledo on Sept. 29, Rivers has scored five total touchdowns, including 3 rushing and two receiving.

Of course, the offense also has the capacity to become a flying circus, and that is exactly what happened with 5th-year senior quarterback Marcus McMaryion at the helm and his trusty number-one receiver KeeSean Johnson catching his passes.

The two hooked up twice for touchdowns on the evening, first on a 34-yard strike, followed by a 15 yarder on the tail end of a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate up almost six and a half minutes of game clock.

Johnson’s performance was the second time this season that he has scored two touchdowns, the other being against Toledo. He also extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 43, a total that leads the nation.

Johnson also racked up a career high 149 yards receiving.

“I am feeling good because we came out with the win and we want to keep the victories rolling,” Johnson said to Fresno State Athletics after the game.

McMaryion threw for over 250 yards for the fourth time in the last five games and has 11 touchdowns over that span.

Defensively, though, has been the side of the ball that has been the most dominant, believe it or not.

For the third consecutive game, the Bulldogs surrendered no more than seven points and have allowed just a total of 13 points in three Mountain West conference games, an average of 4.3 per game.

Defensive back Mike Bell recorded his third interception of the season, all in the last three games.

“It felt good. The New Mexico quarterback (Sheriron Jones) is a guy I went to high school with so I told him this week I’m going to try and pick you off this week and God let it fall in my hands,” Bell said after the game, according to Fresno State Athletics.

The ‘Dogs defense will face perhaps it’s biggest challenge next week when the University of Hawaii will bring it’s high powered offense to Bulldog Stadium for the ‘Dogs homecoming game.

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