Fresno State defensive tackle Malik Forrester was ejected from the Bulldogs’ 38-0 victory over New Mexico for throwing what officials interpreted as a punch in a third-quarter altercation when locked up after a play with Lobos’ guard Aaron Jenkins.
As a result, Forrester could have to sit out the first half of a game at San Diego State that may decide the West Division champion in the Mountain West – the Bulldogs go into the game 3-0, the Aztecs 2-1 after losing on their home field to Boise State.
“We were warning the refs because things were getting chippy in there,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “I warned them at halftime that was going on. I didn’t want any retaliation and I told our team at halftime, don’t retaliate with things and stuff like that.
“But as I looked (at it), it was kind of a protect yourself deal type of thing. It’s unfortunate that he did retaliate a little bit and he’ll learn from that. But he was kind of getting mauled by a couple of guys right there and that was a natural reaction for him. But we have to be better than that. We can’t stoop to that level and retaliate when things get chippy like that.”
According to the Mountain West Conference rulebook, when a player is disqualified from the game due to a flagrant personal foul, that team’s conference shall automatically initiate a video review for possible additional sanctions before the next scheduled game.
Those sanctions include private or public reprimands or suspension for a half, a full game or two games.
Rivers down – Freshman running back Ronnie Rivers rushed for 39 yards and one touchdown on just six plays, but left the game in the second quarter with an injured elbow.
“He hurt his elbow,” Tedford said. “We’ll see how it looks (Sunday). We’ll probably get a MRI on it to see what’s going on. We X-rayed it and there’s nothing broken there, but there could be some ligaments or something like that there.
“He put his arm on the ground and somebody rolled into his arm, very similar to if you plant your foot and have someone roll into you knee. Similar to that. The extent of it I really don’t know how severe it is. We’ll take it day by day.”
Numbers game – Fresno State had nine explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards including six pass plays by quarterback Marcus McMaryion.
The Bulldogs had nine combined over the past three games – two in a loss at Washington, five in a victory over Nevada and two in a win at San Jose State.
McMaryion had a 75-yard pass to KeeSean Johnson, a 70-yard touchdown to Jamire Jordan, a 32-yard touchdown to Jordan, a 29-yard pass to running back Jordan Mims, a 27-yard pass to running back Josh Hokit and a 22-yard pass to tight end Jared Rice.
23.0 – Yards per completion for Marcus McMaryion (13 for 299 yards).
6.8 – Average yards to go on third down for New Mexico. It was 2 of 14.
11 – Tackles for safety Juju Hughes, who had a solid game backing up a performance at San Jose State that earned him defensive player of the week honors in the Mountain West.
Hughes had nine solo tackles, two tackles for loss and broke up two passes.
208.8 – Passing efficiency rating for McMaryion, the highest for a Fresno State starting quarterback since the last time it played New Mexico at Bulldog Stadium.
Derek Carr put up a 253.91 in a 69-28 victory over the Lobos, completing 27 of 37 passes for 522 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
1 – Tackle for loss by New Mexico.
2 – Receivers with 100 or more yards – Jordan had 108 yards on three receptions and Johnson had 105 yards on five.
Jordan and Johnson did that last year as well with 115 and 147 yards against Air Force.
3 – Points off turnovers for the Bulldogs; that one is still a problem. Fresno State recovered one fumble and had one interception.
227 – Rushing yards for the Bulldogs, a season high.
Welcome back – Jordan had some struggles early in the year, but blasted right through them seeing so much man coverage from New Mexico.
The 108 receiving yards not only was a season high, it was just one yard short of his season total. He had six receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s big,” McMaryion said. “I’ve told Jamire 100 times, if he ever drops a ball, I’m going to keep throwing it to him. I have complete faith in him. He makes ridiculous plays in practice, is a great athlete, it just comes down to having trust.”
It also gives the Bulldogs’ pass game a different and far more dangerous look.
“It makes my job easy,” McMaryion said. “I look to my left I see Jamire. I look to my right I see KeeSean. I know that they’re going to win one on one coverage. It’s really just whoever I like throwing to, I guess. They’re going to make plays for me. It’s good to have that as a quarterback.”
Shutdown and shutout – New Mexico had a chance to kick a field goal late and spoil the Bulldogs’ run at a shutout – it had a fourth-and-3 from the Fresno State 3-yard line with 4:25 to play.
Coach Bob Davie elected to go for it, trying to get a pass rolling right and throwing back to the left. The Bulldogs had it covered.
“I wanted it bad,” safety Mike Bell said of the shutout. “I haven’t had a doughnut for a while. When it was there, we were on the goal line, I was going to see what our team was made of tonight and it showed where we’re at and it showed how much it meant to us to keep it zero. Shout out to the defense for that, because that was huge for us.”
It had been only five games – the Bulldogs shutout Incarnate Word 66-0 in its opener.
The Bulldogs hadn’t had a doughnut for a long while before that one.
That shutout over Incarnate Word was the first for Fresno State since Sept. 5, 2009 when it beat UC Davis 51-0.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE
- Saturday: 7:30 p.m. at SDCCU Stadium (54,000)
- Records: Bulldogs 4-2, 3-0 Mountain West; Aztecs 6-1, 2-1
- Webcast/radio: CBSSN/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Of note: The Aztecs lost at home to Boise State on Saturday 31-14. The Broncos shut down running back Rashaad Penny, who has been the Mountain West offensive player of the week four times this season. Penny gained just 53 yards on 21 plays. Boise State scored one of its touchdowns on a punt return, another on a fumble return. San Diego State, the two-time defending conference champion, had just 323 total yards in the loss, 83 of them coming on the ground.