Fresno State avoided a major scare Monday.
Leading rusher Marteze Waller is not expected to miss a significant amount of time from his foot injury suffered during the Bulldogs' 38-14 victory against UNLV.
Waller, however, is questionable Saturday when No. 15 Fresno State (6-0, 3-0) visits San Diego State (3-3, 2-0) in a matchup between the final two undefeated teams in Mountain West Conference play.
Waller suffered a sprained right foot during the fourth quarter against UNLV Saturday and was carted back to the locker room. The sophomore running back suited up for practice Monday but did not participate. Coach Tim DeRuyter said Waller will have to practice by Wednesday to play this week.
"It's 50-50," DeRuyter said. "It's a big-time relief that he's not going to miss a lot of time. He's really been starting to come into his own. Marteze has been running the ball really, really well. We'll find out come Wednesday if he'll be able to play."
Though he didn't start until against UNLV, Waller leads Fresno State with an average of 68 rushing yards per game (75 carries for 408 yards), 5.4 yards per carry and has a team-best four rushing touchdowns as well as the longest run of the year with a 39-yard gain.
Junior Josh Quezada, who started the first five games, is averaging 58.5 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry (77 carries, 360 yards). He has three touchdowns and a long of 20 yards.
The 5-foot-11, 214-pound Quezada is considered the better blocker is part of the reason that Fresno State has allowed just three sacks despite 316 passing attempts on the season. He also has 30 catches for 158 yards (26.3 yards per game) and one touchdown.
Waller's role in the passing game, however, had started to pick up the past three games along with his run production. The 5-foot-11, 214-pound Waller ran 15 times for 78 yards against UNLV. He had 19 carries for a Bulldogs' season-high 157 yards and two touchdowns during a 61-14 win at Idaho. Waller also had 22 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns during Fresno State's 42-37 win at Hawaii.
"I really like having Juice (Quezada) and (Waller) coming in," DeRuyter said. "They both bring different things. Competition has been back and forth, back and forth all year. (Waller's) last couple of games, we felt he earned a chance to start. We'll see how Josh now responds. It's one of those things -- you want to keep that competition going."
Quezada will start if Waller isn't able to play Saturday. Power back Malique Micenheimer also will have his responsibilities increase if Waller were to be sidelined.
The 6-foot-1, 232 pounds Micenheimer has 21 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown, and has handled a few direct snaps while running Fresno State's wildcat package.
"Over the weekend, our thought process was we wouldn't have Marteze at all," DeRuyter said. "Now, we'll probably have him in a limited role. Those reps will probably be absorbed a little bit more by Malique.
"We've got to have our running game to get this offense going."
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.