Nov 15, 2019
Fresno State wide receiver Derrion Grimm (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during a home game at the Bulldog Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Jorge Rodriguez/ The Collegian)

Bulldogs down Hornets in tough first win of the season

The Fresno State football team got its first win of the season against Sacramento State 34-20 Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.

Coming into the game, Fresno State had a 0-2 record, losing to both USC at the Coliseum and the University of Minnesota at home. 

The Hornets came into this game following a 50-0 win against Northern Colorado, carrying a 2-1 record.

The first drive for the Bulldogs saw them go from their own 40-yard-line all the way to the Hornets’ 32-yard-line. 

The ‘Dogs weren’t able to convert on third down and had a chance to score with a field goal. Fresno State kicker Cesar Silva missed a 49-yard attempt  wide to the right.

Sacramento got the ball back on their own 32-yard-line, but the ‘Dogs defense was able to get the Hornets offense off the field quickly.

The first two plays of the Bulldogs’ second drive saw them get a 10-yard gain from a holding penalty against Sacramento, which was followed by a 7 yard loss. On second and 17, Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna threw to running back Ronnie Rivers for 41 yards, bringing the ‘Dogs to Sacramento’s 49-yard-line.

Later on the same drive, Reyna passed to running back Josh Hokit for 14-yards, who broke a tackle and made it into the endzone, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. 

The Hornets answered quickly on their next drive. In Fresno State territory, the Hornets were able to convert on third down with a 47-yard touchdown. They attempted a 2-point conversion but were unsuccessful, keeping the score at 7-6 in favor of the Bulldogs.

Both Fresno State and Sacramento were unable to gain any momentum for the remainder of the first quarter.

The Hornets started the second quarter with possession of the ball but Fresno State’s defense didn’t let them advance. 

After regaining possession, Reyna showcased his passing ability, advancing the ‘Dogs to Sacramento’s 16-yard-line. However, after a play resulted in a loss of two yards, the ‘Dogs weren’t able to convert on third down.

Fresno State went for three, but Silva again missed wide right and was not able to score the 35-yard field goal.

The Hornets’ offense was not able to gain momentum due to Fresno State’s tough defense, forcing Sacramento to punt the ball.

On Fresno state’s next drive, Reyna and wide receiver Keric Wheatfall were able to connect twice for a combined 69-yards. With the ‘Dogs at Sacramento’s 6-yard-line, Rivers was able to rush for 6 yards and make it into the endzone to give Fresno State a 14-6 lead.

Sacramento, with less than two minutes in the half, was able to quickly move up the field and score to put them within two points, 14-12, to go into the second half.

Coming into the third quarter, the Bulldogs and the Hornets were making stops on defense with each team refusing to let the other build momentum. 

Fresno State was able to get deep into Hornets territory but was not able to score. The Hornets were able to put pressure on Reyna, causing him to miss nine passes in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs were able to turn that around with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

At the beginning of the drive, the ‘Dogs were not able to push the ball up the field. The Bulldogs found themselves facing a third and 24 situation with time running down. 

However, with the clock running down in the quarter, Reyna was able to connect with Wheatfall for a 29-yard pass to end the third. This play put the ‘Dogs in great field position to score going into the fourth quarter. 

Entering the fourth quarter on Sacramento’s 2-yard-line, the ‘Dogs quickly scored to put them up 20-12.

Sacramento was able to answer right back with a touchdown of their own to put them 20-18. The Hornets attempted another 2-point conversion, this time converting to tie the game, 20-20.

Fresno State was determined to take back the lead, which they managed to do. The ‘Dogs were able to push the ball up the field to place them 7 yards away from the end zone. Hokit then rushed for 7 yards to put Fresno State ahead, 27-20.

Sacramento was not able to answer back and would not be able to score for the rest of the quarter. The ‘Dogs scored once more with Hokit rushing for 14 yards to give Fresno State a decisive 34-20 lead.

Sacramento had the ball and tried to make a push but the ‘Dogs’ defense would not allow it, ending the game with their first win of the season, 34-20.

Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford praised the team after the game for its resilience because of the struggles the team had in the third quarter but were still able to keep their heads up and finish with a win.

“We have to clean some stuff up. But we were fortunate to win the game tonight,” Tedford said after the win.

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