In Fresno State’s final home game of the season, the ‘Dogs sent a message to their Mountain West (MW) Conference title game opponent, Boise State, in their 30-0 shutout win against the University of Wyoming.
One week prior, Boise State nearly lost to Wyoming in a low-scoring game of 20-17. However, the Cowboys seemed to have no chance against the Bulldogs in today’s game at Valley Children’s Stadium.
After this win, Fresno State will compete for the MW Championship against Boise State at Albertsons Stadium on Dec. 3. This will be the ‘Dogs fourth appearance in the title conference in 10 years, along with it being their third title game against Boise State.
It could be Fresno State’s shaky start of this season, or its blowout loss to Boise State in October, but the ‘Dogs played all of their starters and went 100% against the Cowboys in a game that wouldn’t affect their MW standing.
Fresno State received the opening kickoff of the game. Quarterback Jake Haener connected twice to receiver Zane Pope for multiple first-down completion passes.
A Cowboy pass interference penalty in the endzone brought the Bulldogs to the 4-yard line, leading to running back Jordan Mims scoring a 4-yard rushing touchdown. Mims’ score put the ‘Dogs up 7-0.
Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley’s third-down completion to John Michael Gyllenborg kept the Cowboys from going three-and-out on their opening possession. However, the Cowboys were unable to continue moving the ball down field, ending their drive with a 44-yard punt by Clayton Stewart.
Haener and Pope sparked the offense again in the ‘Dogs’ next possession with a 21-yard pass, but the drive sputtered out, with Fresno State punting the ball back to the Cowboys.
Wyoming’s following drive went three-and-out before its punt was partially blocked, setting the Bulldogs up in Cowboy territory.
Haener connected with receiver Nikko Remigio on third down to keep the drive moving, followed by a Mims 6-yard rush up the middle that put the ‘Dogs in the red zone. A short 6-yard pass to Remigio in the endzone gave the ‘Dogs a 14-0 lead.
The Cowboys looked to get their offense moving with a 14-yard completion to Joshua Cobbs, followed by a Bulldog pass interference penalty to move Wyoming into Bulldog territory.
Peasley attempted a pick six intended for receiver Wyatt Wieland, only to have it broken up by defensive back Carlton Johnson, resulting in a third Cowboy punt to end the first quarter.
Wyoming did not score the rest of the half due to the ‘Dogs’ lockdown on defense.
Peasley was sacked by defensive lineman Morrice Norris Jr for a 9-yard loss, setting up the Bulldog defense to block the Cowboy punt that rolled out of the endzone for a safety, adding to Fresno State’s lead of 16-0.
Malik Sherrod took the ensuing punt following the safety, returning it for a 50-yard return into Cowboy territory. Handoffs taken by Mims brought the ‘Dogs into the red zone for the third time this game. Mims was then given the go ahead, taking a direct snap from center for a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Bulldogs up 23-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Bulldog senior David Perales went down with a left ankle injury that saw the defensive end writhing in pain before walking off the field with assistance.
However, the defense stepped up for their fallen leader, keeping the Cowboys scoreless the rest of the game.
The Cowboys received the opening third quarter kickoff, resulting in another three-and-out for the game and returning the ball back to Haener and the Bulldog offense.
Pope, Haener’s go-to receiver of the night, caught a 13-yard reception to keep the ‘Dogs’ offense moving on third down before Cowboy defensive end DeVonne Harris sacked Haener for a loss of 10 yards, ending the Bulldogs’ first drive in the second half.
Peasley threw his first interception of the game right into the hands of Bulldog linebacker Malachi Langley, putting the ‘Dogs in the red zone immediately. Mims took a direct snap for a 2-yard run into the endzone, putting the Bulldogs ahead of the Cowboys 30-0.
Wyoming could not match the Bulldogs’ offense on their next possession, going three-and-out for the third time in the evening.
After that, neither the Cowboys’ nor the Bulldogs’ drive amounted to a score, ending the third quarter of play at 30-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys’ offense was moving down the field before an interception caught by Bulldog defensive back Cam Lockridge at the Bulldog 2-yard line stopped them.
The Bulldog offense only succeeded in winding down more of the clock before punting it to Wyoming. Although this quarter saw no scoring from either team, the intensity of the game did not waiver.
When Peasley’s pass intended for Joshua Cobbs was incomplete, Cobbs made forcible contact with the stadium turf, collapsing on the sideline in a scary moment for all in attendance. Cobbs’ night was over as he was carted off the field.
In the final minutes of the game, Haener was pulled for the ensuing possession and was replaced by quarterback Logan Fife to save Haener for next week’s matchup in Boise.
The Bulldogs ended the game in a shutout 30-0 victory.
With this win, the Bulldogs showed that they are ready to compete for a title against the Broncos next Saturday at 1 p.m.