Turnover machine defense leads Bulldogs to shutout Arizona State

Fresno State pitched a shutout against Power 5 foe Arizona State, giving the Bulldogs their second win over a big conference team to start the season.

A dominant defensive performance fueled the Bulldogs to the a shutout win over Arizona State on the road on Saturday. 

Fresno State took advantage of an injury-riddled opposition to beat the Sun Devils 29-0 and advance to 3-0 on the season. 


What happened: After struggling in last week’s narrow double overtime win over Eastern Washington, Fresno State put those doubts to bed early on Saturday, starting with a perfect opening drive. 

  • After receiving the opening kickoff, quarterback Mikey Keene came out firing, completing all six pass attempts on the first drive and hitting receiver Jalen Moss on a 19-yard touchdown strike to take an early lead. 
  • That would be all Fresno State would end up needing, as the story of the game was clear on Arizona State’s ensuing possession. 
  • On Arizona State’s third play on offense, backup quarterback Trenton Bourguet – filling in for an injured Jaden Rashada – threw an interception to Bulldogs’ cornerback Carlton Johnson, the first of three picks on the night for Johnson. 
  • Fresno State responded with a field goal and forced a fumble on Arizona State’s next possession, leading to another field goal for the ‘Dogs. Keene was a perfect 14 of 14 in the first quarter and didn’t throw his first incompletion until the first play of the second quarter. 
  • The Sun Devils and Bulldogs traded fumbles for field goals yet again until Fresno State made a goal-line stand on fourth down with 5:28 left in the second quarter to preserve the shutout and ensure that Arizona State was not going to be given any breathing room, leading to a halftime score of 16-0. 
  • The second half proved more of the same. Fresno State got an early touchdown in the third quarter, a 42-yard pass from Keene to receiver Jaelen Gill. 
  • Cornerback Cam Lockridge snagged an interception on Arizona State’s next drive, which led to another field goal for the ‘Dogs to go up 26-0. Fresno State would add one more field goal in the fourth quarter while maintaining a perfect defensive performance to walk out of Arizona with a second win over a Power 5 opponent this season. 

By the numbers: Fresno State’s defense dominated on Saturday to the tune of eight turnovers, including 3 interceptions by Carlton Johnson, 1 by Lockridge and another by Al’zillion Hamilton. Levelle Bailey, Kemari Munier-Bailey and Morice Norris Jr. all forced fumbles that were recovered by the Bulldogs. 

  • Kicker Dylan Lynch scored 15 points on field goals, tying Fresno State’s program record for most in team history. The two field goals he missed were from 45 and 53 yards. 
  • Keene finished the day having gone 32 of 49 for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns, hitting his favorite target Erik Brooks 11 times for 104 yards. 
  • Walk-on running back Elijah Gilliam led Fresno State’s ground attack with 69 yards, and Malik Sherrod added 42 rushing yards on only 6 carries. 

What we’re watching: With three wins to start the season, Fresno State returns home next week to host Kent State (1-2) and go undefeated in regular season nonconference play, something the Bulldogs have not done in a decade.

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