Bulldogs wipe out Wyoming
Fresno State dominated with its defense, again, taking out Wyoming 27-3 on Saturday at Bulldog Stadium to get to 5-1 and 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference.
The Bulldogs were down a key piece in defensive tackle Jasad Haynes, who did not play because of an ankle injury. But they simply went about their business as usual, taking away what the Cowboys do best, which is not much.
Wyoming came in averaging just 17.5 points per game, but had a downhill running game with the leading rusher in the conference in Nico Evans.
Fresno State has given up just three points for the second straight week.
The Bulldogs limited the Cowboys to 221 total yards, including 156 yards and an average of 3.4 yards on 24 rushing plays through the first three quarters.
After a sluggish start and a 13-3 halftime lead, Fresno State generated 156 yards in the third quarter alone, including a 3-yard touchdown pass from Marcus McMaryion to tight end David Tangipa and then a 6-yard run by McMaryion.
That was plenty for the Bulldogs, with their defense taking apart Wyoming. They have not allowed a touchdown in their past eight quarters, coming off a 21-3 victory at Nevada. Fresno State also has now held opponents to less than 30 points for 17 games in a row, tied with LSU for the longest streak in the nation.
Wisconsin had the longest streak at 20 games starting play on Saturday, but lost at Michigan 38-13.
McMaryion runs it in, now 27-3
Marcus McMaryion just scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, running it in from 6 yards out to give the Bulldogs a 27-3 lead with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs have 158 yards in the third quarter, almost matching the 164 they had in the first half.
Bulldogs put together a drive, Tangipa gets TD
Fresno State is now up 20-3 after a solid 47-yard drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from McMaryion to tight end David Tangipa.
Josh Hokit started the drive with 8- and 5-yard runs and McMaryion hit Jamire Jordan for a 25-yard gain on a 3rd-and-4 to set up the Bulldogs at the Wyoming 3-yard line.
Tangipa, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior, doesn’t get many throws his way. But he’s usually in the end zone when he does.
He has two catches on the year, with one being a touchdown.
Last season, Tangipa played 14 games and made just one reception. But it was a three-yard touchdown at Hawaii.
MVP of the first half ...
Fresno State punter Blake Cusick has three punts and has pinned the Cowboys’ offense deep on their side of the field with each one.
Wyoming has started those drives at its 7, 3 and 8 yard lines, going three-and-out on two of those series.
On slow starts …
Fresno State has 164 yards at halftime, their third fewest in a game this season. They had just 104 yards at halftime in a loss at Minnesota and 116 in a 21-3 victory at Nevada last week.
McMaryion is 11 of 16 for 130 yards with one touchdown. His efficiency rating is 157.6
The Bulldogs’ run game has produced 34 yards. They have run the ball on 13 of 29 plays and running backs have accounted seven of those rushing plays. Their longest run is 26 yards, by McMaryion. The longest by a running back, three yards.
Fresno State also has converted only 2 of 7 third-down plays into a first down, but it also has had an average of 9.7 yards to go on third down to move the sticks.
Fresno State struggling, but up at halftime
Fresno State has had difficulty sustaining a drive against Wyoming, but has extended its lead to 13-3 on a 1-yard run by quarterback Marcus McMaryion on a 4th-and-goal with 52 seconds remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs had a 1st-and-goal from the 1, but couldn’t get into the end zone until McMaryion squeezed between a crease and got into the end zone.
The Bulldogs have 164 yards of offense, averaging 5.7 yards per play. They have rushed the ball 13 times for 34 yards.
Locals on the opposing sideline
It was just a year ago that Wyoming running back Jevon Bigelow was playing for Central High and helping the Grizzlies win their first ever Central Section high school football championship.
He got some playing time for the Cowboys on Saturday, finishing with four carries for 11 yards.
In all, there are five players from the central San Joaquin Valley on Wyoming’s roster: Bigelow, QB Sean Chambers (Kerman), WR Isaac Leppke (Dinuba), H Nick Szpor (Central) and CB Sidney Washington Jr. (Bullard).
When it comes to recruiting the Valley, the Bulldogs and Cowboys will long be associated because of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.
The Firebaugh star never was recruited by Fresno State, ended up at College of Sequoia before signing with Wyoming, where he progressed into an NFL first-round pick.
Bulldogs on top, 6-3
McMaryion hit tight end Jared Rice with a 35-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs up 6-3. The point-after was wide.
Rice is coming off a career-high 98 receiving yards last week in the Bulldogs’ 21-3 victory at Nevada. The touchdown reception was his second this season and fourth for a tight end – Kyle Riddering also has two.
KeeSean Johnson streak at 42
The Bulldogs started their firsrt series with a 13-yard pass from Marcus McMaryion to KeeSean Johnson, running the senior wideout’s streak of games with at least one reception to 42. It is the longest streak in the nation.
Fresno State made some changes with its starting offensive line with senior Micah St. Andrew sliding back out to right guard, right guard Markus Boyer going back to center and Logan Hughes entering the starting line up at left guard.
Nick Abbs had started the past three games at left guard.
The Bulldogs struggled to rush the football last week in a 21-3 victory at Nevada. Facing a tricky 3-3-5 front, they had just 30 rushing yards on 24 plays.
That obviously is going to impact the season numbers, but before that Fresno State still was only eighth in the Mountain West Conference in rushing, averaging 165.5 yards per game. Against FBS opponents, it was 105.8 yards play game and 3.7 per play.
Hughes, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound senior, last started a game in 2016.
The Bulldogs’ line play will be in the spotlight against Wyoming, which has the best front seven that Fresno State has faced to this point.
Defensive tackle Youhanna Ghaifan and defensive end Carl Granderson both were first-team all-conference selections last season.
Wyoming opens with FG
Wyoming is up 3-0, getting a 44-yard field goal on its opening possession.
The Cowboys drive was 47 yards in 8 plays, and it was the best opening drive against the Bulldogs’ defense this season.
No. 1 streak?
Michigan just extended its lead on Wisconsin to 31-7, which is relevant to Fresno State. The Bulldogs have a chance to have the longest streak in the nation holding opponents to less than 30 points.
The Badgers had the longest streak at 20 games. The Bulldogs and LSU started the day tied for second at 16 games.
LSU already has run its streak to 17 games, beating No. 2 Georgia 36-16.
Wyoming is averaging just 17.5 points per game this season.
Dogs’ short inside
Figure Wyoming will run the ball downhill at the Bulldogs, if no other reason than its pass game with redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal is … not good.
The Cowboys have put it up just 22.8 times per game against FBS opponents, completing barely half of them (50.9) with a passing efficiency rating of 101.02.
But they could get a break on Saturday at Fresno State.
Defensive tackle Jasad Haynes, who has started the Bulldogs’ first five games, did not go through pre-game due to an ankle injury suffered in a win at Nevada.
Haynes has been in on 12 tackles and has 4.5 tackles for loss, tied with Will linebacker George Helmuth for second on the team.
The Bulldogs have been running a five-man rotation at the defensive tackle positions with Kevin Atkins and Haynes starting and backed up by Patrick Belony, Keiti Iakopo and Rick McCoy, the former Roosevelt High standout and transfer from Washington.
Belony is expected to start in place of Haynes.