Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter hopes Friday’s win over UNLV can be a launching point for his football team.
He’ll find out Saturday, when the Bulldogs face an Air Force team that has won its past nine games at Falcon Stadium. Fresno State (2-5, 1-3 Mountain West) and the Falcons (3-3, 2-1) meet at 11 a.m. in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“We realize we’ve got a bigger task at hand on the road, going to play a terrific Air Force Academy team that hasn’t lost at home,” DeRuyter said Monday. “They play really well there. They play terrific defense and are one of the top rushing teams in the country.
“As excited as we were about last week, it’s on to the next week.”
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The Bulldogs scored 17 unanswered points against the Rebels in a 31-28 victory at Bulldog Stadium to snap a five-game losing streak.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Kilton Anderson helped power the rally, scoring on a 12-yard run to cut the Rebels’ lead to 28-23 in the fourth quarter. Running back Marteze Waller capped the comeback when he scored on a 38-yard run with 2:37 remaining.
Play my best, play my hardest and give it a 110 percent effort. I trusted the guys all around me and we have to go 1-0 this week.
Fresno State quarterback Kilton Anderson
“Victory was dedicated to the team, not an individual effort. ... it’s always a team effort,” said Anderson, who completed 19 of 31 passes for 193 yards and had 11 rushes for 78 yards and two touchdowns. “It was definitely great to get the victory.”
Anderson is the first Bulldogs quarterback to lead a fourth-quarter comeback since 2013, when Derek Carr led Fresno State to a 52-51 season-opening victory over Rutgers.
“We knew he had the athletic ability to do that, but more importantly he has the leadership ability, too,” DeRuyter said of Anderson. “He’s going to continue to get better each week and the timing will be a lot better.”
Air Force is coming off a 38-23 loss to Colorado State. The Falcons lead the Mountain West in rushing and are fifth nationally at 312.2 yards per game.
“They’re doing a terrific job,” DeRuyter said. “Not just running a triple-option out of a double-slot set. They’re very multiple in their formation with spacing, and they’re running some elements of pro-style offense, inside and outside zone. They’re a very multiple offense.”
This week’s game will be coached by Air Force graduates. Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter graduated from the academy in 1985 and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun is a 1989 graduate.
For the Bulldogs to pick up another win, Anderson said they have to “out-prepare them and be critical what our assignment is going to be.”
Air Force has surpassed 200 rushing yards and has a rushing touchdown in every game this season. The Falcons have yet to trail in any of their three home games this season, and of those 180 minutes of game time they’ve been tied for just 39 minutes, 7 seconds.
DeRuyter said at some point this week he’ll talk to his team and share history of what the Air Force Academy is about.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for what those guys stand for,” he said. “But for 3 1/2 hours they’re our conference opponent, and we’re trying to get a ‘W’ just like they are.”
Another true freshman starts – Outside linebacker James Bailey became the sixth true freshman during DeRuyter’s four seasons to start a game. The others were Chason Virgil, Nela Otukolo this season; Malcolm Washington and Chad Olsen in 2014; and Aaron Peck in 2012. Bailey is fifth on the team with 30 tackles and has two tackles for a loss.
Texas commitment – West Mesquite High-Texas tight end and three-star recruit Donte Coleman gave an oral commitment to Fresno State on Saturday, potentially reuniting with Virgil. Coleman reportedly had offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Washington.
DeRuyter is not allowed by NCAA rules to comment on prospective student-athletes until a National Letter of Intent has been signed and validated.
Coleman is listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and is ranked No. 40 in the nation at tight end and the No. 102 overall prospect in Texas, according to 247Sports.
Coleman, who was teammates with Virgil for two seasons at West Mesquite, is the fifth player to commit to the Bulldogs, along with fullback Saevion Johnson (Dawson-Pearland, Texas), safety Patrick Peek (Aledo High, Texas), running backs Darrian Hammonds (Seguin High-Arlington, Texas) and Justin Rice (Central Catholic-Modesto).
Up next for ’Dogs
FRESNO STATE AT AIR FORCE
- Saturday: 11 a.m. at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Records: Bulldogs 2-5, 1-3 Mountain West; Falcons 3-3, 2-1
- Online TV: ESPN3
- Radio: (KFIG AM 940), (KGST AM 1600)