It couldn’t have gone much better for the seniors as Fresno State pitched a shutout, beating Wyoming 30-0 in the last game of the regular season.
With the West Division already wrapped up and their spot in next week’s Mountain West Championship Game already secured, the Bulldogs had an opportunity for a tune up game Friday on Senior Day against the Cowboys.
It could have been a game where the ‘Dogs faltered, having nothing to play for as far as position in the Mountain West goes.
But to be able to send the seniors off – including quarterback Jake Haener, wide receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper and safety Evan Williams – with a win was a goal that helped direct the team over the last week of practice.
“It feels great for the seniors. That was one of the focuses going into this week, because it’s a challenge no matter what anybody says when you already accomplished something like the championship game to keep your focus all week, particularly playing a team like Wyoming, who’s a great football team,” head coach Jeff Tedford said after the game.
“I think the motivation of having the seniors come up that ramp one more time successful, I think that was a huge motivation piece for our team. I thought our defense played excellent. We were up and down on offense. But I give Wyoming a lot of credit. They’re a really good football team. They always play tough defense. It’s nice to get away with a win tonight.”
Friday’s win was largely propelled by the defense, which also held Wyoming scoreless in last year’s contest on the road.
Fresno State held Wyoming to 191 total yards on offense and only 12 first downs. The Cowboys were limited to 3-14 on third down conversions, and Wyoming quarterback Andrew Peasley only completed 41 percent of his passes for 104 yards.
When asked what led to the defense’s standout performance, Tedford pointed to the effort to stop the run, which held the Cowboys to only 3 yards per rushing attempt.
“They did a great job of running the ball last week against Boise State, and I thought Coach [Kevin] Coyle and the defensive staff did a really nice job of putting the plan together and the kids really executed well,” Tedford sadi.
“I think that’s as good as we’ve played run defense all year long. Besides one at the very end there where he might have got a 12-yard run or something, I thought they did a really good job. And then did really well on short yardage as well. And then I think our back end played well too. We dropped a couple interceptions we probably should’ve had, but overall I thought they did an excellent job.”
While Fresno State’s offense wasn’t perfect, senior running back Jordan Mims stole the show with 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Haener’s 183 passing yards was not a typical performance for him, but his efficiency did not drop off with a 66 percent completion rate Friday.
Fresno State closes out the regular season with an 8-4 record – a seven game win streak after starting 1-4.
The Bulldogs will head to Idaho next week to face Boise State yet again for the Mountain West crown.