Johnson named MW Player of the Week, Bulldogs get closer to Top 25

Fresno State’s 3-0 start to the season is starting to earn respect from across the nation.

A 3 interception game against Arizona State has earned Fresno State cornerback Carlton Johnson the honor of being the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week. 

Johnson’s efforts came as part of a dominant defensive performance to the tune of 8 turnovers as the Bulldogs defeated the Sun Devils 29-0 on the road. 


Driving the news: Monday’s announcement by the Mountain West is the first time Johnson has received the award. 

  • Johnson joined the Bulldogs last year after previous seasons with Riverside City College and Southern Utah. 
  • This was the second time in the season that a Bulldog was named as the defensive player of the week, following linebacker Levelle Bailey’s performance against Purdue in Week One. 
  • Johnson was the first Bulldog to snag 3 interceptions in a game since Phillip Thomas did so against Colorado in 2012. He’s also only the sixth player in program history to pick off three passes in a single game. 

State of play: Building off two Power 5 wins just three games into the season, Fresno State is garnering attention from national college football writers. 

  • While the Bulldogs have not cracked the Associated Press Top 25 yet, they appeared on nine ballots, making them the No. 30 ranked team in the nation. 
  • The highest the Bulldogs placed on a ballot was at No. 22, by Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. 
  • The four teams ahead of Fresno State are Clemson, Missouri, Kansas State and TCU. 
  • Fresno State also has the second-longest winning streak in the nation at 12 games, only behind reining national champion Georgia, who has won 20 games in a row.

What they’re saying: After the game, Johnson said he’s never had a 3 interception game in his career and gave all the credit to the coaching staff for the defense’s performance. 

  • “That goes back to one thing: coaching, coaching, coaching,” Johnson said. “We have a great coaching staff up here. They put together a great gameplan, and all we do is come out and execute it.” 
  • “It was really just great coaching,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle joked on Monday. “No, he did a great job. The first call he was under because we were playing a cloud coverage type of thing where he didn’t have deep coverage responsibility. Then he made a phenomenal play, the tipped ball at the end of the half. That was really athletic. And if he didn’t make it, I think Dean Clark would’ve made it off the tip. He was right there. And the last one was another one where we pressured them a little bit. And he played with great technique. He anticipated the throw might have to come out quickly, and it did, and he was right in position. He’s working hard as are the entire group.”
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