Fresno State linebacker Jeffrey Allison, who has made some big plays for the Bulldogs this season, was honored by the Mountain West Conference on Monday when selected as its defensive player of the week.
Allison, a sophomore, had 10 tackles and forced a critical fumble in the Bulldogs’ 27-3 victory at San Diego State, which gave them a two-game lead plus a key head-to-head tie-breaker over the Aztecs in the West Division race.
“Well deserved,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “Jeff has been playing really well and when you can slow down their run game ...
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“Jeff was our player of the week, which was good. The last time Juju (Hughes) got conference player of the week he didn’t make our player of the week. We gave it to somebody else (defensive tackle Malik Forrester). We’re on the same page this week to give it to the right guy.”
It was that forced fumble, recovered by safety Mike Bell, that flipped the switch and put the Bulldogs into turbo mode in what has been a turnaround season.
San Diego State, the two-time defending conference champion, had taken the opening kickoff and moved methodically and decisively 83 yards down the field to the Bulldogs’ 4-yard line. They converted three third-downs into first downs along the way, running 16 plays. A holding penalty set them back to the 14 and on a second-and-goal play Allison stripped the ball from Penny, the second-leading rusher in the conference.
After its 27-3 victory at San Diego State, Fresno State is leading the Mountain West in scoring defense (17.6 ppg), total defense (305.4 ypg) and third-down conversion defense (30.1 percent).
After that turnover, the Bulldogs’ defense allowed San Diego State just 65 yards, three first downs and one field goal over its next seven series; the Aztecs went three and out five times between the first and third quarters.
Fresno State (5-2, 4-0 in the MW) in the game held San Diego State to just 255 yards of offense and to less than seven points for the first time since a 23-6 loss to BYU in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl.
The Bulldogs have not allowed a touchdown in nine quarters, the longest streak in the nation. TCU has not allowed a touchdown in eight consecutive quarters.
“Only three points allowed, that’s a great feeling,” Allison said after the Bulldogs’ victory.
“The only thing we do is try to capitalize and get better at it. We kept them down to three points, that’s great, but our goal is to keep every school off the board if we can.”
Allison, who received permission to wear the No. 9 retired in honor of former Bulldogs’ quarterback Kevin Sweeney, is the second Fresno State player to earn defensive players of the week honors in the past three weeks.
Hughes was player of the week after a 27-10 victory at San Jose State in which he had six tackles including two tackles for loss, one interception and one sack that also forced a fumble.
Before Hughes, the Bulldogs had not had a Mountain West player of the week – offensive, defensive or on specials teams – since the 2014 season.
“Jeff has been playing excellent,” Tedford said. “It’s really great to recognize him. It’s not a one-man team, it’s a whole defensive effort for sure, but he’s a major part of that.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
UNLV AT FRESNO STATE
- Saturday: 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium (41,031)
- Records: Bulldogs 5-2, 4-0 Mountain West; Rebels 2-5, 1-3
- TV/radio: AT&T, ROOT (AT&T UVerse 757, 1757; DirecTV 684)//KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Of note: The Rebels lost at home to Utah State on Saturday, 52-28, after starting quarterback Armani Rogers was knocked out of the game with a head injury. UNLV has now allowed an average of 42.3 points over its past three games. … The Aggies rolled up 578 yards of total offense, 323 passing and 255 rushing. They converted 8 of 14 third downs, taking advantage of a soft spot in the UNLV defense. … The Rebels entered having allowed opponents to convert on 44.2 percent of their third downs, ranking 10th in the Mountain West. … UNLV does have one of the top running backs in the conference in Lexington Thomas, who racked up 161 yards and two touchdowns against Utah State and is averaging 125.3 yards per game with 12 rushing touchdowns.