Fresno State keeps its title hopes alive in San José State win

The Bulldogs reclaimed the Valley trophy for the first time since 2018 in win against SJSU on Nov. 25, 2021, at CEFCU Stadium. (Samuel Marshall/Fresno State Athletics)

Both Fresno State and San José State came into CEFCU Stadium on Thursday with a lot on the line for its conference standings.

The Bulldogs needed to secure a victory in order for a chance at Mountain West (MW) championship title. Similarly, the Spartans were also looking for a crucial win on Thanksgiving day in order to continue their season and become bowl eligible.

But by the end, Fresno State kept its MW title hopes intact, defeating SJSU 40-9. 

“Everything that was in our control here going into this weekend, we’ve taken care of things in a great way and I’m proud of you guys. And, you know, we obviously need some things to work out but we get that opportunity to look out,” Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer said.

With the first step complete, the Bulldogs now need rival Boise State – who crushed the Bulldogs 40-14 earlier this season – to beat No. 22 San Diego State, who lost 30-20 to Fresno State on Oct. 30.

Many members of the Bulldog program will be up on Friday at 9 a.m. to watch that game, including Fresno State wide receiver Jalen Cropper.

Fresno State wide receiver Jalen Cropper recorded two touchdowns against SJSU on Nov. 25, 2021, at CEFCU Stadium. (Samuel Marshall/Fresno State Athletics)

“I’m all in. I feel like I’ve been a Boise fan since I was born,” Cropper jokingly said. “I’ll definitely be watching that game. Boise definitely gained another fan tonight.”

The Bulldogs also reclaimed the Valley trophy – which was established in 2013 to pay homage to both teams’ geographical locations – for the first time since 2018.

The Bulldogs produced 486 total yards of offense Thursday afternoon. 

Quarterback Jake Haener accounted for 343 of those yards, with four touchdown passes. He connected with Jordan Mims, Ronnie Rivers, Cropper and Juan Rodriguez for all scoring plays. The San José native Cesar Silva had a 43-yard field goal to add to Fresno State’s offense.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were able to stop the Spartans in the red zone. The nine points the Spartans scored came from field goals. Fresno State also allowed SJSU to go 5-for-15 in third-down conversions. Safety Evan Williams led the way with 8 total tackles.

The Bulldogs season now lies in the fate of tomorrow’s San Diego State versus Boise State contest.

“We got a lot of positive vibes going on so we want that to carry over and tomorrow morning,” DeBoer said. 

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