Bulldogs’ 1-0 in MW with 21-3 victory at Nevada
The Fresno State Bulldogs’ defense carried it to a 21-3 victory over Nevada in their Mountain West Conference opener on Saturday at Mackay Stadium, thoroughly routing an offense that was without its starting quarterback but not without a chance.
It is the first time this season Fresno State (4-1, 1-0) has held its opponent to single-digit scoring. Last season, the Bulldogs allowed 7 points or less on four occasions.
Linebacker Jeff Allison had a career-high 16 tackles with 10 solo Saturday night, and Tank Kelly, Juju Hughes and Mike Bell each had interceptions. The Bulldogs held the Wolf Pack to 327 total yards and without a touchdown.
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Their best chance was one of their last, but quarterback Cristian Solano misfired on a fourth-down pass from the Bulldogs’ 10-yard line with 3:18 to go..
In the second half, Nevada went three-and-out on four of its first five possessions.
The Wolf Pack went into the game with 27 explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards, tied for sixth in the nation, and took a few shots at the Bulldogs. They hit none, though, with Kelly breaking up one shot and Jaron Bryant making a play on another.
Solano, in his first start in place of an injured Ty Gangi, was 22 of 43 for 195 yards. The longest pass play they hit was 18 yards.
That should do it
Marcus McMaryion hit KeeSean Johnson with a 27-yard touchdown pass and the Bulldogs are up 21-3 with 8:28 remaining.
McMaryion is 20 of 28 for 241 yards and two touchdowns.
Picks adding up
The Bulldogs now have 11 interceptions in five games, more than they’ve had in a season since 2013 when they had 14.
That’ll be enough of that
Fresno State put down the Wolf pack drive with another interception, third third of the game. Safety Mike Bell had this one, and it’s Bulldogs’ ball at their 25-yard line.
After three …
Fresno State leads 14-3 going into the fourth quarter, but Nevada is on a drive. After going three-and-out on its first three possessions in the second half,. the Wolf Pack have picked up 39 yards on nine plays and will start the final quarter 2nd-and-7 at the Nevada 44-yard line.
The third quarter is not yet done and Bulldogs’ linebacker just made his 15th tackle and ninth solo. The 15 tackles matches a season and career high set at Minnesota.
A play, and a TD
Fresno State made a play, a 69-yard pass from Marcus McMaryion to tight end Jared Rice, setting up the Bulldogs at the Nevada 11-yard line. They got to fourth down, but got into the end zone on a 2-yard run by Ronnie Rivers to take a 14-3 lead.
There is 10:20 remaining in the third quarter.
Fresno State took the kickoff to start the second half and went three-and-out. It’s past four drives: three-and-out, three-and-out, fumble, three-and-out - 10 plays, 18 yards.
Field position, again
The Bulldogs started their first-half drives at the 35, 30, 31, 37, 38 and Nevada 11. The last one, taking a knee to end the first half after the interception by Hughes, started at their 5.
Bulldogs in the third quarter
Fresno State has scored 57 points in the third quarter, its highest scoring quarter. It also has allowed 14 points in the third quarter, the fewest it has allowed on any quarter.
Fresno State has 116 yards on 27 plays int he first half, averaging 4.3 yards per play. Nevada has 171 yards on 41 plays, averaging 4.2 yards per play,
Marcus McMaryion is 12 of 16 for 101 yards and one touchdown. Cristian Solano is 10 of 20 for 92 yards with two interceptions.
Pick sends ‘Dogs into halftime up 7-3
Safety Juju Hughes picked off a pass from Cristian Solano, ending a mild threat at a field goal in the final minute of the first half.
At the break, Fresno State is leading 7-3.
Tank with a pick, Bulldogs give it back
Fresno State’s offense has gone three-and-out on back-to-back possessions, but Tank Kelly just picked off a pass and returned it to the Nevada 11 yard line.
On the Bulldogs’ first play, though, Jamire Jordan fumbled the ball away when taking a hard hit from safety Dameon Baber.
What’s that, a kickoff return?
Jamire Jordan set the Bulldogs up with good field position again, returning the Nevada kickoff 37 yards to the 37. That is the Bulldogs’ longest kickoff return this season.
Nevada answer with FG
The Wolf Pack answered the Bulldogs’ touchdown with a 41-yard field goal, making it 7-3.
Nevada went 51 yards in 11 plays, converting a 4th-and-2 with a 13-yard run by quarterback Cristian Solano.
Solano has hurt the Bulldogs a bit with his legs, rushing it six times for 36 yards.
Bulldogs go up 7-0
Fresno State converted on a 3rd-and-6 and took a 7-0 lead on a 19-yard pass from Marcus McMaryion to Ronnie Rivers. The Bulldogs went 69 yards on nine plays, finally taking advantage of some good starting field position.
They have started their three drives at the 35 (punt), 30 (punt) and 31 (touchdown).
McMaryion is 10 of 11 for 89 yards and the touchdown to Rivers.
The first quarter has come to a scoreless end. The Bulldogs have the ball at the Nevada 30 to start the second quarter.
Total yards at this point: Fresno State has 73, Nevada has 58.
41 and counting …
KeeSean Jonson caught a second-down pass for no gain, but it did extend his streak of consecutive games with at least one reception to 41. That is the longest streak in the nation.
The Bulldogs were forced to punt, and they have just 34 yards in their first two series and 10 plays.
Nevada picked up two first downs on its opening possession, but was stopped on a 4th-and-1. The tackle was made by cornerback Jaron Bryant. The Bulldogs take over at the 35-yard line.
The two first downs for Nevada is the most on an opening drive against the Bulldogs this season. Minnesota and UCLA both had one. Idaho and Toledo didn’t get a first down.
The Wolf Pack has four quarterbacks throwing in pre-game, none of them wearing No. 6.
Looks like they will be without Ty Gangi.
Junior Cristian Solano is expected to get the start. Solano has thrown one pass this season, but he is 1 of 1 for 5 yards.
‘Dogs down two
Fresno State will be without running back Josh Hokit and Sam linebacker Kesomi Mafi on Saturday in its Mountain West Conference opener at Nevada, both out after suffering injuries last week in a 49-27 victory over Toledo.
Hokit had his best game of the season against the Rockets, rushing seven times for 59 yards (8.4 per carry) and catching one pass for 10 yards.
In the first three games of the season, the junior from Clovis High gained two yards or less on 14 of 23 rushing plays with a long run of nine yards.
The Bulldogs obviously have depth at the running back position, but Ronnie Rivers will be in only his second game coming back from a foot injury suffered in the spring. Still, he figures to move up to No. 2 behind Jordan Mims.
Nevada is seventh in the Mountain West in rushing defense at 154.0 yards per game, but allowing only 3.5 yards per play.
Mafi is the backup to senior James Bailey and this season had been in on seven tackles.
Sophomore Arron Mosby will likely get reps as the backup behind Bailey and also as the nickel when the Bulldogs put an extra defensive back on the field.
In case anyone missed it, San Diego State dispatched Boise State 19-13.
The Broncos had difficulty blocking the Aztecs’ 3-3-5 all game and generated only 229 yards of offense (178 passing, 51 rushing) at a puny 2.9 yards per play – they had come in averaging a conference-leading 538.5 yards per game and second at 6.9 per play.
Quarterback Brett Rypien was 21 of 41 for 170 yards and had two passes intercepted – he had 12 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the Broncos’ first four games.