Twice, on blocked field goal attempts, the football bounced right into the arms of Jaron Bryant and the Fresno State cornerback knew exactly what to do.
Bryant got the ball and took off, sprinting 74 yards for a touchdown and then four series later and still in the second quarter 71 yards for another score in the Bulldogs’ 79-13 season-opening rout of an outgunned Idaho.
“When I see a green light, I’m going to take off running straight,” he said, after the game. “That’s what I did.”
On Monday he was selected the Mountain West Conference special teams player of the week, the first Bulldog to win the special teams award since Marcel Jensen in 2013.
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Boise State cornerback Tyler Horton, an Edison High grad, was the defensive player of the week after recovering two fumbles and returning them for touchdowns. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald was the offensive player of the week after passing for 428 yards with six touchdowns in a victory over Navy.
Before the victory Saturday night Fresno State had returned only four blocked field goals for touchdowns. Bryant’s returns were the first since Isaiah Green in 2011 against San Diego State.
Payton Williams also had a touchdown off a blocked field goal in 1999, Dante Marsh had one in 2000 and A.J. Jefferson had one in 2007.
It also became only the fifth FBS program to block two field goal attempts in one quarter. Tank Kelly got the first block and Wylan Free got the second.
Fresno State had four players earn conference player of the week honors in a 10-4 season a year ago: linebacker Jeff Allison, safety Juju Hughes and George Helmuth on defense and quarterback Marcus McMaryion on offense.