It was just one football game – one loss at Air Force.
It obviously wasn’t the way Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford wanted to start the Mountain West schedule, but he’s confident in his young team.
The 43-24 loss to Air Force last Saturday was the first double digit loss for the Bulldogs since Oct. 28, 2017, when UNLV handed Tedford one of his two losses at Bulldog Stadium.
Against Air Force on Saturday, the Bulldogs carried the lead into halftime but failed to do anything in the second half and didn’t look like the team the fans are familiar with in the Tedford era.
“I would hope that the fans aren’t to that point after that game to say, ‘OK we’re giving up,’ because we’re sure not giving up,” Tedford said. “We’re going to compete hard every single week.
“The way I look at it, we’re all in this together. Sometimes things don’t go your way. It doesn’t mean that you give up on things.”
Now the Bulldogs have to turn their attention to hosting UNLV in a Friday night matchup. It’s the first division opponent for the ‘Dogs, so it’s a chance to get off on the right foot to completing the goal of making it to the Mountain West Championship.
UNLV (2-4) is coming off one of the biggest and most shocking wins in program history. The Rebels traveled to SEC country and defeated Vanderbilt 34-10.
“They did an excellent job, so we have our hands full, no doubt about it,” Tedford said. “Great win for them. I’m sure they’ll come in, take some confidence out of that. Last time they were here they beat us. Every week, anything’s possible. You really do have to play your best and be really efficient to win each and every week, no matter who we’re playing.”
With the game being on Friday, the team’s practice schedule is altered to accommodate the short week. They will still practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, like a normal week, but the practices will be shorter to reduce the wear and tear on the players, Tedford said. Thursday’s practice will be slowed down to keep the team fresh and ready to go for Friday.
Thursday’s practice will be slowed down to keep the team fresh and ready to go for Friday.
Although the practices will be slightly shorter than normal, the team shouldn’t be losing out on any reps. In all likeliness, the individual group drills will be reduced to accommodate for the usual number of reps per practice.
On the injury front, left guard Netane Muti will likely miss the UNLV game, Tedford said, saying it’s doubtful he’ll play. Muti has missed the last two games due to injury.
Friday’s matchup will be the first Friday home game for Tedford at Fresno State. He said he doesn’t really know what to expect atmosphere-wise because there’s a number of other things going on at the school and around town Friday.
“We’re going to do our best to stay focused with what we have to do, but I hope it’s great,” Tedford said. “I hope everybody comes out and supports the team and gives us the extra boost for the home field advantage that always helps us.”
It’s also the first home game for the ‘Dogs since the win against Sacramento State on Sep. 21.
“I don’t know how things are going to go,” Tedford said, “but I would hope that everybody stays together and stays with us and continues to have pride in what we’re doing.”