Bye, bye blue turf losing streak!
Those Boise blues and that blue turf losing streak are over.
And what a way to make Fresno State history — by going into overtime.
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Bulldogs quarterback Marcus McMaryion ran the option on third-and-goal, pitching to Ronnie Rivers for a winning, 1-yard touchdown run as the 25th-ranked Bulldogs prevailed 19-16 over the No. 19 Broncos in Fresno State’s first-ever win against Boise State on the blue turf of Albertson Stadium.
Afterward, Bulldogs players and coaches wildly celebrated capturing the Mountain West championship on the same blue field that’s caused so many beatdowns and heartaches.
Fresno State senior Patrick Belony got on one knee and shed tears of joy from completing what at times seemed to be an impossible feat.
Past Bulldogs teams — led by the likes of Fresno State greats such as Derek Carr, David Carr, Ryan Mathews and Davante Adams — never could win at Boise State when playing the Broncos.
Last year’s Fresno State team managed to beat Boise State at Bulldog Stadium during the regular season — only to fall short the following week when the Bulldogs played the Broncos for the Mountain West championship at Albertsons Stadium.
But there was the 2018 Fresno State team under the direction of Jeff Tedford — two years removed from finishing 1-11 and now Mountain West champs with a improbable victory on the blue turf to forever remember.
The Bulldogs picked up their first win in 11 tries all-time at Albertson Stadium since Boise State changed its turf to blue in 1986.
The blue field actually turned primarily white from the cold and snowy conditions, which perhaps nullified Boise State’s perceived advantage of wearing all-blue uniforms on their blue field.
The snowy weather, however, did make it somewhat difficult to watch the game action from both the stands (frigid conditions the whole night) and on TV (obstructed views at times).
Fresno State overcame two fumbles, including one in the final five minutes, and a 200-yard rushing performance from Boise State running back Alexander Mattison.
And the Bulldogs did it behind a punishing defense that bruised Mattison over and over each time he carried the ball, and flustered Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, who completed just 15 of 31 passes for 125 yards.
McMaryion didn’t have a great night, either, while completing 20 of 32 passes for 170 yards.
But he avoided turnovers and ran the option to perfection on the winning play in overtime, drawing some of the defense before making the timely quick pitch. McMaryion finished with 40 yards on six carries.
Rivers tallied 17 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Bulldogs receiver Michiah Quick had three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jared Rice hauled in five passes for 44 yards. And receiver KeeSean Johnson made six catches for 40 yards.
Fresno State also made a huge play on special teams during the fourth quarter when Matt Boateng rushed off the edge and blocked an extra-point kick that preserved a 13-13 tie with 8:01 left in regulation.
Boise State kicker Haden Hoggarth also missed a field goal earlier in the game, continuing the Broncos kicking troubles over the past 10 years to convert in big games and clutch situations.
Check back on our Bulldogs home page later for Robert Kuwada’s analysis. Here’s the in-game blog.
The ball is going back to Boise State after the Bulldogs go three-and-out after the Mattison touchdown. The Broncos have it at their 28-yard line with 6:59 to go.
Boise ties it up, but Boateng block PAT
Boise State has tied the score on a 34-yard touchdown by by Alexander Mattison, but blew a chance to take a lead when it failed to block Matt Boateng off the edge and the Bulldogs’ cornerback blocked the PAT.
Thee score is 13-13, with 8:01 remaining.
Boise State moved the ball 50 yards on nine plays, most of it by running back Alexander Mattison. But the Bulldogs held, and Boise State missed a 43-yard field goal attempt.
Fresno State takes over at the 26, 6:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Fuller extends lead
Fresno State got points on its opening drive of the second half, three coming on a 38-yard field goal to push their lead to 13-7. There is 11:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs drive was 43 yards in nine plays.
KeeSean on the board
The Bulldogs KeeSean Johnson caught his first pass in the game, extending to 49 a streak of consecutive games with at least one reception. That ties the Mountain West Conference record set by Wyoming wideout Dominic Rufran.
The play went for minus-3 yards.
To start third quarter …
Fresno State will get possession coming out of halftime, and it has scored on their opening drive of the second half in five of its past six games. The one game the Bulldogs didn’t score was the last one, against San Jose State.
At halftime …
Fresno State has 114 yards of offense, Boise State has 155.
McMaryion is 9 of 11 for 74 yards and one touchdown, Rypien is 10 of 19 for 69 yards and one TD.
Fresno State is 1 of 5 on third downs, Boise State is 5 of 9
Bulldogs defensive end Mykal Walker had nine tackles in the first half and linebacker Jeff Allison had eight.
KeeSean Johnson has one target, no receptions.
The Broncos’ Alexander Mattison has rushed the ball 16 times for just 59 yards, 3.7 yards per play.
HALFTIME: Fresno State 10, Boise State 7
The Bulldogs have a 10-7 lead at halftime, and are 19-2 when leading at the half under coach Jeff Tedford.
But, they led the Broncos 10-3 at the half when they played Boise State at Albertsons Stadium on Nov. 9 and ended up losing 24-17.
They also led 14-10 at halftime in the Mountain West championship game last season and lost 17-14.
The Fresno State scoring drive took 3:32, which the defense no doubt appreciated. When the Bulldogs started that drive the defense had been on the field for 16:34, compared to 6:34 for Boise State defense.
On the plus side …
With all of the snow falling, Fresno State fans watching on TV don’t have to look at that blue field any more …
Bulldogs, with a drive and a 10-7 lead
Fresno State has taken a 10-7 lead on a 44-yard field goal by Asa Fuller with 3:20 to go before halftime.
Fuller had made only two of his past five field goal attempts,. but drilled that one in a snow storm.
Giving it away …
Fresno State had a 3rd-and-1 turn into a 3rd-and-6 with a false start penalty, their third of the game. Then, Marcus McMaryion hit Michiah Quick, and with enough yardage to move the sticks fumbled away the football.
Boise State takes over at the Bulldogs’ 41.
Third down stop
Fresno State got a stop there, a pass by Brett Rypien missing badly on a 3rd-and-12.
Boise State had been 4 of 5 on third down conversions, the makes including two 3rd-and-10s.
Fresno State defensive tackle Jasad Haynes, who has missed the past two games with an ankle injury, just went out again.
The Bulldogs when Haynes was out played short a man in a rotation that usually goes five deep with Patrick Belony, Keiti Iakopo, Kevin Atkins and Ricky McCoy.
First quarter done …
Fresno State has 54 yards of offense and 40 penalty yards.
KeeSean Johnson has zero targets.
The Bulldogs are averaging 4.5 yards per play, but thee Broncos are at only 3.0.
The Broncos Alexander Mattison has just nine yards on his first six carries.
Fresno State defensive end Mykal Walker has been in on six tackles already.
The rain that has been falling is turning into a mixture of rain and snow …
And, another gift
Boise State has tied the score at 7 on a touchdown pass from Rypien to Sean Modster, the ball going right through the hands of cornerback Jaron Bryant. There is 1:56 to go in the first quarter.
The Broncos drive was 75 yards in 15 plays and it took 7:03 off the clock.
Fresno State cornerback Tank Kelly just gave the Broncos a first down when penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, after a play that -would have had the Broncos in a 3rd-and-7.
Bulldogs jump on top
Fresno State has turned that turnover into a touchdown, Marcus McMaryion to Michiah Quick from 15 yards.
The TD catch by Quick is his first reception since the 49-3 victory at UNLV when he had five for 49 yards, and his first touchdown.
A break, then …
Fresno State has recovered a fumble at the Boise State 20 by Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, who was dropping back to pass under pressure by defensive end Mykal Walker.
The ball slipped out of his hand and hit the ground, where Walker pounced on it.
The play stood, aftere a review by officials.
The Broncos after the 15-yard penalty on Mosby had to punt from the 39.
Fresno State just lost linebacker Arron Mosby on a targeting penalty on the third play from scrimmage, after hitting Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien on a 3rd-down scramble.
Fresno State will be without running back Jordan Mims in the Mountain West Conference championship game against Boise State.
Mims, the Bulldogs’ second-leading rusher, came out of a victory over San Jose State at the end of the regular-season with a lower leg injury. He had in the final two games been a clear No. 2 behind Ronnie Rivers.
In a 23-14 victory over San Diego State, Rivers carried the ball 22 times for 78 yards, Mims had nine carries for 28 yards, Josh Hokit had three for five yards and Dejonte O’Neal did not have a carry.
In a 31-13 victory over San Jose State, Rivers had 17 carries for 92 yards, Mims had eight for 55 yards, Hokit and four for 24 and O’Neal two for no yards.
Hokit likely moves into the No. 2 spot behind Rivers, who set a career-high with the 22 rushing plays against the Aztecs.
But the Bulldogs also could get redshirt sophomore Saevion Johnson some touches. Johnson has mopped up at the end of games with Fresno State well ahead in the fourth quarter, his most recent carries in a 48-3 victory at UNLV on Nov. 3.
He ran the ball three times for 47 yards and one touchdown in that game.
The Bulldogs also have Romello Harris dressed for the game. Harris, from Tulare, has played in five games with five carries for 52 yards and one touchdown.