Fresno State Bulldogs

Despite early struggles, ‘Dogs knocking on door of a MW title shot

One month ago Fresno State was reeling at 1-4, coming off a loss to Mountain West rival Boise State and a tough outlook ahead on the rest of the season. 

But with four-straight wins since, the Bulldogs are on the path for a rematch against the Broncos in the conference title game. 

After their trip to Las Vegas to face 4-5 UNLV on Friday, Fresno State will head north to Reno to take on 2-7 Nevada before wrapping up the season at home against 6-3 Wyoming. 

Wyoming is unquestionably the toughest opponent left on the schedule, but if the Bulldogs can pull off three more wins they’ll have an opportunity to finish out with a championship in a season that started so poorly. 

A major part of why Fresno State has had a four-game win streak is its lack of penalties. The Bulldogs committed just one penalty in the win over Hawaii, marking the third time this season that they have only drawn one yellow flag. 

With 4.2 penalties per game, it’s a far cry from last year’s team that led the Mountain West with 7.6 per game. 

At his weekly press conference Monday, Head Coach Jeff Tedford said the focus on penalties started back in the spring. 

“All the different things about fundamentals or techniques or decision making – I think sometimes when the fundamentals are where they need to be, the techniques are where they’re supposed to be with moving your feet and then making good decisions,” Tedford said. 

“That’s really what it comes down to. There’s a decision to be made if you see somebody’s back whether you’re going to block or whether you’re not. So there’s a lot of that decision making that I think the team has understood that those are things that could get you beat – making poor decisions. I think, at least lately, we’ve got pretty good at that.” 

Haener honored as player of the week

Quarterback Jack Haener was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for his standout performance in the 55-13 win over Hawaii. 

Haener was 24 for 29 with 327 passing yards and 4 touchdowns while not throwing an interception. 

“It’s nice and everything, but I try to go out and execute at a high level every week. It’s nice to get some recognition from the conference, and I appreciate that,” Haener said. 

“But obviously a lot of guys making plays for me and a lot of dudes going out there every day and working their tail off so I can try to perform on Saturdays.” 

No politics, all football

The entire country will be focused on one thing come Tuesday: the election. 

But politics don’t penetrate the walls of the Duncan Building. 

When asked about the election, Tedford said it’s not something that he addresses with the team. 

“That’s up to them. I don’t get involved in that,” Tedford said. “They’re their own people, and I don’t really get into politics or anything like that with them. I’m sure they know if they’re registered to vote, whether they want to or whether they don’t, but I don’t get involved in that with them.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.