The Bulldogs’ final score came on a 1-yard run by Saevion Johnson with 2:40 to go.
Romello Harris, the transfer from Washington State from Tulare Union High, cashed in the latest Bulldogs’ takeaway, scoring from 27 yards out to give Fresno State a 72-13 lead with 6:19 to go.
The 72 points is the most for the Bulldogs in a home opener, though not yet a school record. They scored 94 in a victory over New Mexico in 1991.
Defensive end Leevel Tatum has the Bulldogs’ fifth interception of the game. A year ago, Fresno State had nine interceptions all season.
Into the 60s
Fresno State redshirt freshman Wylan Free picked off another pass, the fourth of the game for the Bulldogs, to set up another score.
Saevion Johnson got into the end zone, rushing it in from 5 yards out. The Bulldogs have their twos in the game, and lead 65-13.
Idaho has scored on a 6-yard run by Isaiah Saunders, the Bulldogs’ lead now 58-13. Idaho went 75 yards in 15 plays, though Fresno State has started to sub out some of its starters on defense.
The attendance for the Bulldogs’’ opener is 31,170.
Reyna in, rout continues
Jorge Reyna has replaced McMaryion and on his second play hit Derrion Grim with a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Fresno State now leads 58-6.
That was the first career pass for Reyna, who for the moment has a passing efficiency rating of 707.2.
Into the 50s
Jordan Mims scored on a 2-yard run with 9:14 remaining in the third quarter, pushing the Bulldogs’ lead to 51-6. Fresno State wen 93 yards in 12 plays, the big one a 44-yard pass from McMaryion to Johnson.
Johnson now has six receptions for 118 yards. McMaryion is 19 of 26 for 207 yards.
Fresno State has a 44-6 lead on Idaho at halftime, thanks to two special teams scores and one defensive score.
Its offense, that has not been very good.
The Bulldogs are averaging just 5.8 yards per play. That includes two explosive plays of 20 or more yards, a 28-yard pass from McMaryion to KeeSean Johnson and a 26-yard touchdown run by O’Neal.
That 5.8 yards per play is not much better than their offensive output in games against FCS opponents in 2016 and 2015, and those were not good offenses.
Fresno State in 2016 and ‘15 ranked last in the Mountain West Conference in total offense.
The Bulldogs in 2016 averaged 5.6 yards per play against Sacramento State and in 2015 averaged 5.3 yards against Abilene Christian.
TDs off blocked field goals
Bryant has two touchdowns off blocked field goals against the Vandals – Fresno State had only five in its history before the game.
Mark Olson had one (distance unknown) in 1985 against Pacific. Payton Williams had a 75-yard return in 1999 against Utah. Dante Marsh had a 81-yard return in 2000 against Hawaii. A.J. Jefferson had one (distance unknown) in 2007 at Nevada. Isaiah Green had a 59-yard return in 2011 at San Diego State.
Mykal Walker has been credited with the block of the second field goal that Bryant returned for a score.
Fresno State is a 25-point favorite over Idaho …
- Fresno State had some good ticket sales activity late in the week, but it was expecting only around 30,000 for its opener against Idaho.
That would qualify as a smallish crowd, especially coming off a 10-4 season that included a West Division title in the Mountain West and the Bulldogs’ first bowl victory since 2007. It would be among the smallest crowds for a home opener since the Bulldog Stadium was expanded in 1991 with the addition of 22 suites on the east side and 10,000 new seats, pushing the capacity to 41,031.
The smallest crowds for a home opener since then ...
- 27,542, vs. North Dakota in 2011
- 27,663, vs. Weber State in 2012
- 31,817, vs. Sacramento State in 2016
- 32,547, vs. Abilene Christian in 2015
The Bulldogs had opened that 2011 season 0-2 with losses to Cal and at No. 10 Nebraska.
Fresno State had 39,447 for its opener last season, a 66-0 victory over Incarnate Word. That game marked the debut for coach Jeff Tedford at his alma mater and a halftime ceremony to retire the No. 4 in honor of record-setting quarterback Derek Carr.
Defensive end Alex Cruz, who is listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind Mykal Walker, is not expected to play in the opener against Idaho. He missed practice time due to a lower leg injury.
Dressed for success
True freshmen position players who are dressed for the game: quarterbacks Ben Wooldridge and Steven Comstock, linebacker Sherwin King, defensive end Isaiah Johnson, offensive lineman Tyrone Sampson.
Idaho opened the game with a trick play that didn’t trick anyone, or go anywhere. Mason Petrino handed the ball to a running back, got a pitch back and, under pressure, misfired on a pass. The Vandals prior to their next play were penalized for a false start. On third down, Jasad Haynes drilled Petrino for a sack. Three and out …
Bulldogs take a lead
Fresno State takes a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Jordan Mims, 8:45 to go in the opening quarter. Marcus McMaryion was 5 of 6 for 42 yards on the drive. The Bulldogs went 56 yards in 11 plays, converting once on a 4th-and-1 run and caught a break when tight end Jared Rice caught a third-down pass that had bounced off the hands of KeeSean Johnson.
Idaho has had two series, run six plays … and has gained zero yards.
The Bulldogs go up 13-0 on a 26-yard touchdown run by Dejonte O’Neal, right up the middle. One Idaho defender stuck a hand out, but didn’t make much contact. Fresno State went 80 yards in 12 plays. They missed the extra point.
Haynes hot at start
The Bulldogs’ Jasad Haynes, a former walk on from Clovis North, made his first career start and is making the most of it. Haynes had a quarterback hurry and a sack on the Bulldogs’ first defensive series, then a TFL with a forced fumble and fumble recovery on the third.
Fresno State got three points out of the turnover and now leads 16-0.
Idaho makes a play
The Vandals just cut the Bulldogs lead to 16-6 on a 73-yard touchdown pass from Colton Richardson to Jeff Cotton.
That was the first completed pass for Idaho – it is now averaging 73 yards per completion. And has 69 yards of total offense, with a minus-4 yards rushing.
Bulldogs go up 23-6
Jordan Mims scored on a 12-yard run, putting Fresno State up 23-6. Fresno State has 215 yards of offense, generating 6.5 yards per play.
Idaho had its best drive working, but it stalled at the Fresno State 19-yard line with two incomplete passes. The Vandals set up for a field goal, but Tank Kelly blasted off the left edge and blocked the kick, the ball bouncing right to Jaron Bryant. Bryant scooped it up and raced 74 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 30-6.
It is the Bulldogs first blocked field goal for a touchdown since 2011 when Isaiah Green had a 59-yard return at San Diego State.
Turnover, but no points
The Bulldogs gained possession at the Idaho 34-yard line after by an interception by Tank Kelly, who took advantage of a poor decision and worse throw by Idaho quarterback Mason Petrino, who fired while off-balance and scrambling away from pressure.
Fresno State went three and out and Asa Fuller missed a field goal from 50 yards.
Turnover, with points
Two plays after the missed field goal, Kelly picked off a pass from Richardson and returned it 39 yards for a score. It’s 37-6, Bulldogs.
Bryant, FG block TD – again
Fresno State has another TD off a blocked field goal, this one blocked in the middle of the line (no player identified yet) and returned by Bryant again. This one went for 71 yards, on the last play of the first half.
Fresno State leads at the half 44-6.