Fresno State’s miraculous comeback over San Diego State last Saturday provided a once-in-a-generation experience for fans inside Valley Children’s Stadium.
It also turned out a life lesson from the football field for some of the Red Wave’s youngest fans who were some of the few thousand people who stayed until the end to witness the unbelievable finish.
“One of the things that was really cool was I received a few text messages of people who brought their children to the game and had said that it was a lesson to their kids never to give up, and that’s pretty cool when a football game can have an effect like that,” Head Coach Jeff Tedford said Monday at his weekly press conference.
“It was pretty neat. I hope it’s something that our kids will take away for the rest of their life here. It’s for sure a memory that these guys will never forget and form a bond for them as a team of when they get together 40 years from now to say remember that game. But now it’s on to the next.”
While the Bulldogs came out Victorious over the Aztecs, they suffered a loss on the field that they will miss the rest of the year.
Right tackle Dontae Bull had to be carted off the field after breaking his leg. Tedford said Bull had surgery on Sunday and will be out for the year, ending his Fresno State career.
“It’s really unfortunate for Dontae,” Tedford said. “The guy’s been plagued by a lot of injuries through his time here, and to end it like that for him – pretty significant break that required surgery – really feel bad for him.”
But as Bulldog fans saw, quarterback Jake Haener, wide receiver Josh Kelly and safety Evan Williams returned to face San Diego State after missing four games each.
Tedford credited Haener for being someone that always gives the Bulldogs a chance to win if it is close in the fourth quarter.
“I was really happy for Jake to bounce back like that and lead the team,” Tedford said. “The fourth quarter type stuff – if it’s a close game you’re always in it, that he can do a lot of special things. So it was just another example of him keeping his poise and keeping the team moving and guys making plays.”
Despite his four-game absence and Fresno State’s poor start to the season, Haener has the opportunity to keep moving the team toward their goal of a Mountain West title this week as the ‘Dogs host Hawaii.
Last year’s game on the islands proved to be disastrous for the Bulldogs. They came into the game with a 4-1 record and were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 after a thrilling victory on the road a couple weeks ahead of time against UCLA.
But the Warriors won 27-24 and put the Bulldogs in a tough position to win the West Division.
This time around Hawaii limps into the game with a 2-7 record and is 1-3 in conference play.
Hawaii’s overall stats under first year head coach Timmy Chang point in Fresno State’s favor.
The Warriors rank 10th in the conference in scoring offense with 18.3 points per game, and Hawaii’s defense is dead last giving up 33.7 points on average.