Recapping the Bulldogs’ 30-16 loss vs Nevada.
Players of the game
Nevada wide receiver Hasaan Henderson: Junior delivered one of the biggest games in his three-year career, with a 73-yard second-quarter touchdown catch the highlight in a five-reception, 136-yard night.
Wolf Pack defensive back Dameon Baber: True freshman tied Mountain West Conference single-game record with three interceptions. He is the 10th overall to do it and the second this season.
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Fresno State defensive back Tyquwan Glass: Junior from Pasadena posted a career-high 12 tackles – 10 of them solo. He had an interception in the second quarter and returned it 22 yards to the Nevada 29 which led to a Bulldogs field goal.
Play of the game
Fourth quarter, Nevada second-and-nine at its 41: Nevada led 23-16 over Fresno State, but James Butler scored on a 59-yard run to extend its lead to 30-16 with 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Numbers of the game
113: Passes defensed between interceptions by Fresno State
105: Passes attempted between touchdown throws by Fresno State
73: Yardage on TD pass from Tyler Stewart to Hasaan Henderson; the longest play from scrimmage against the Bulldogs this season
4: Receptions for Fresno State’s Josiah Blandin – he had only five over the past five games
5: First-half first downs for Nevada; the Bulldogs had allowed five or more in 15 of 20 quarters in MW play
4: Consecutive games Fresno State has allowed a score on the first drive of the second half
12.1: Yards per pass attempt by Nevada, a season high allowed by the Bulldogs
10, 9: Penalties on the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs, season highs for both teams
360: Yards gained in the second half by the Wolf Pack
4: Times in six conference games Fresno State has generated less than 300 yards of offense
8 p.m. PST Nov. 14 at Hawaii: Fresno State will get back to Saturday football, even though it will seem almost like Sunday by the time it’s over as the Bulldogs travel to Honolulu to face Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors found themselves even more disheveled than the Bulldogs entering this week, with coach Norm Chow fired after Hawaii (2-7, 0-5) lost its sixth straight, 58-7 to Air Force. Chris Naeole, a 12-year NFL offensive lineman in his third year on the staff, was named interim coach for the rest of the season beginning with Saturday’s game at UNLV.
Fresno State had a productive first half, considering it came in averaging only 21 points per game.
The Bulldogs had 16 points on the scoreboard after missing an extra point following a touchdown pass from Kilton Anderson to Josiah Blandin just before halftime. They led Nevada in first downs (13-5), in total yards (207-163) and had moved the sticks on 4 of 10 third-down plays and 2 of 2 fourth-down plays.
But in the second half, that all went away. Very quickly. So quickly that coach Tim DeRuyter didn’t have much of an answer when asked what was slowing the offense at the start of the second half.
“I have to look at the film,” he said. “We went three-and-out the first couple of drives. We started on defense and we were trying to make some adjustments. I looked up and we were getting ready to punt the ball. I defer a lot of things to (offensive coordinator Dave Schramm). I’ll find out when I look at the film, so the first couple of drives I’m not sure.”
The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their two drives in the third quarter, gaining a total of 14 yards. Their final three drives of the game were ended by interceptions, the final two thrown by backup Zack Greenlee on the Wolf Pack side of the field at the 22- and 32-yard lines. Fresno State ended up running only 18 plays from scrimmage in the second half while Nevada was able to run 42.
DeRuyter and Schramm went back to Greenlee to try to find something.
“We decided to go with Zack down the stretch,” DeRuyter said. “Kilton was having a tough time throwing the ball and we thought we needed a spark. Give them credit. They found the plays in the second half. We got a little desperate and they hit us on a couple of blitzes in the run game and it hurts. We have a bunch of guys that work their tails off wanting to put themselves in position to win a football game. Didn’t get it done. We’ll be back (Friday) to fix it and move on to Hawaii.”
Picked – Junior Tyquwan Glass intercepted a pass from Nevada’s Tyler Stewart in the second quarter, returning it to the Wolf Pack 29-yard line. It was the Bulldogs’ first interception since Glass ended a red-zone threat in the third quarter in a loss to Utah in the third week of the season.
The Bulldogs followed with one first down, but had to settle for a field goal after Anderson misfired on a third-and-1 pass to Blandin at the 8-yard line. Rather than try to move the sticks on fourth down, DeRuyter sent on Kody Kroening for a 25-yard field goal.
Fresno State has 13 turnovers gained this season and has turned them into 44 points, scoring five touchdowns and kicking three field goals. Bulldogs opponents have 20 turnovers gained and have scored 13 touchdowns and a total of 82 points off them including a 30-yard fumble return by Nevada linebacker Matthew Lyons in the first quarter.
About that call – On that third-and-1 from the Nevada 8, the Bulldogs put the ball in the air. Anderson this season was 1 of 3 throwing the ball on third-and-short including a 4-yard gain on a pass to running back Malique Micenhimer on that drive. Fresno State this season was averaging 4.6 yards on its third-and-short running plays (88 yards on 19 plays) and had moved the sticks 13 times.
’Dro into top 5 – Fresno State senior outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine came up with a big sack in the second quarter, taking down Stewart for a 10-yard loss at the Bulldogs 37-yard line and momentarily anyway taking the Wolf Pack out of field goal range. He was in on another sack in the fourth quarter, splitting it with defensive end Claudell Louis.
Ederaine now has 41.5 career tackles for loss and moved into the top 5 in Mountain West Conference history. He is 5.5 shy of the top spot with three games remaining – TCU defensive end Chase Ortiz had 41.5 from 2005-07, Colorado State linebacker Mychal Sisson had 42.0 from 2008-11, BYU defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen had 44.0 from 2006-09 and San Diego State linebacker Miles Burris is the career leader with 47.0 from 2008-11.
Getting there might be difficult. Fresno State will play its final three games at Hawaii, at BYU and against Colorado State. The Warriors and Rams rank second and fourth in the Mountain West in tackles for loss allowed with 37.0 and 43.0. BYU also has allowed 43.0 tackles for loss this season.
Valley support – The announced attendance was 25,476, which included 696 students and staff from UC Merced who took up an offer of free tickets from Fresno State after a student there stabbed four people as classes were starting Wednesday morning.
Fresno State has played a game at Bulldog Stadium in front of fewer than 25,000 just 10 times since it opened at the end of the 1980 season with a 21-14 victory over Montana State, the last time in 1984.
The attendance at the past three Fresno State home games – 30,540 for a loss to Utah State, 25,604 for a victory over UNLV and the 25,476 for the Wolf Pack.
Et cetera – Nevada was only 5 of 14 on third down (35.7 percent), but it had some big plays to move the sticks. Stewart completed 4 of 7 third-down passes for 121 yards, and the Wolf Pack picked up a third-and-4, a third-and-6, a third-and-7 and a third-nd-12 with those completions.
▪ The Bulldogs played without freshman inside (Mike) linebacker Nela Otukolo, who was out with a knee injury. Outside linebacker Brandon Hughes also missed a third consecutive game with an ankle sprain.
▪ The 2-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Blandin just before halftime was the first for the Bulldogs since Anderson hit Jamire Jordan with a 21-yard scoring pass in the first quarter of a loss to Utah State on Oct. 10.
▪ Glass, the Bulldogs’ cornerback, led the team with 12 tackles including 10 solo. Ederaine had 10 tackles including the 1.5 for loss.
▪ Glass appeared to get a push in the back from Nevada receiver Hasaan Henderson on a 30-yard gain on a third-down play in the third quarter. No penalty was called, but Glass said if there was a push that helped the 6-foot-5 Henderson free himself from coverage he didn’t feel it. “I don’t know,” Glass said. “They said that he pushed off, but I just felt like it was a nice throw on the back shoulder so I really couldn’t do anything.”
▪ Nevada finished with 292 rushing yards and is the seventh of eight FBS teams on the Bulldogs’ schedule to this point that gained at least 200 yards on the ground. The 292 yards is the third highest in there behind the Air Force (458) and San Diego State (305).
▪ Time of possession in the second half – Nevada 23:11, Fresno State 6:49.
▪ The Bulldogs threw three interceptions, one by Anderson and two by Zack Greenlee, who came into the game in the third quarter. All three ended up in the hands of free safety Dameon Baber.
▪ The Bulldogs allowed seven more explosive plays of 20 or more yards and have not allowed 47 this season and going into games on Saturday are last in the Mountain West.
▪ Wolf Pack redshirt freshman safety Asauni Rufus (Bakersfield High) was ejected in the fourth quarter following a targeting penalty on a Greenlee to Jordan 24-yard completion.
Numbers, notes compiled by Bee sportswriter Robert Kuwada. Follow him on Twitter @rkuwada.
NEVADA 30, FRESNO STATE 16
Nev — Lyons 30 fumble return (Zuzo kick), 13:08.
Fre — FG Kroening 25, 10:30.
Nev — Henderson 73 pass from T.Stewart (Zuzo kick), 9:02.
Fre — Anderson 24 run (Kroening kick), 5:55.
Nev — FG Zuzo 47, 2:57.
Fre — Blandin 2 pass from Anderson (kick failed), :14.
Nev — FG Zuzo 30, 8:28.
Nev — FG Zuzo 25, :42.
Nev — Butler 59 run (Zuzo kick), 11:17.
A — 25,476.
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Nevada, D.Jackson 21-140, Butler 18-122, T.Stewart 8-35, Team 3-(minus 5). Fresno State, Waller 17-74, Anderson 8-42, Jordan 1-9, Garrison 2-8, Greenlee 1-(minus 7).
PASSING—Nevada, T.Stewart 12-17-1-206. Fresno State, Anderson 12-26-1-88, Greenlee 5-9-2-66.
RECEIVING—Nevada, Henderson 5-136, J.Richardson 3-32, Butler 2-18, Gipson 1-12, Demps 1-8. Fresno State, Blandin 4-37, Micenheimer 4-21, Jordan 3-50, Hardaway 3-29, K.Johnson 2-18, Olsen 1-(minus 1).