The Fresno State football team lost its game at the University of Connecticut (UConn) on Saturday, Oct. 1, by a score of 19-14.
Expectations for this game had seemed to clearly favor the ‘Dogs. Last season, they won 10 games and blew out the Huskies 45-0. But UConn shocked the Red Wave with its win over Fresno State.
After a gut-wrenching loss to Oregon State and the blowout loss on the road at University of Southern California, Saturday’s game was the ‘Dogs’ chance to even out their record.
The ‘Dogs only mustered 187 total yards, while UConn went for 313. Of those, 183 were rushing yards.
The back-breaking play was when UConn sophomore running back Devontae Houston rushed for a 17-yard touchdown to give UConn that 19-14 lead with 2:20 minutes left in the game.
Fresno State’s usual starting quarterback, Jake Haener, sat out due to an injury, which allowed backup quarterback Logan Fife to step in.
Fife threw a total of 157 yards during the game, with a career-high long 32-yard pass to Jalen Moreno-Cropper.
When the Bulldogs found themselves twice in the Huskies’ red zone and threatening to score, Fife had an unforced fumble and then an interception that was deflected twice before the Huskies took it away.
Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford noted that nothing was going right, not only with first-time starting quarterback Fife, but the team as a whole.
“Turnovers, couldn’t protect the passer, penalties that hurt us to give them plays… not disciplined enough. Not good,” Tedford said. “We gave up some third-and-mediums that we could have been off the field, a couple of face-mask penalties that gave them a play, a personal foul that was a lack of discipline.”
Tedford told Barkboard that unfortunate things happened during the offensive team’s breakdowns. He noted that on Fife’s first drive the ball slipped out of his hand, and there were interceptions that followed, with both in the red zone.
“Protections, we have to look and see what our protection problems were. Really didn’t seem like he was all that comfortable in the packet,” Tedford told Barkboard about Fife.
Tedford praised the Huskies’ performance from start to finish. He said the strength of the team was in the Huskies’ defensive front, its linebackers and offensive line.
Fresno State has completed its non conference play, sitting on a 1-3 record for the first time since 2016. The road doesn’t get much easier as the ‘Dogs head to face a 3-2 Boise State team at Albertson’s Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 8.
With senior starters Haener and Evan Williams still injured on a week-to-week basis, it is unknown if they will compete in Fresno State’s Mountain West opener against Boise State.
A win could be uplifting for the Bulldogs as they try to right the ship after an underwhelming start.
A loss could hurt the remainder of the season for a few reasons. One being that they would drop to 1-4, and their chances of reaching the Mountain West championship might be out of reach.