Strong rushing attack leads Bulldogs over Utah State

Fresno State got back in the win column on Saturday, largely on the back of Malik Sherrod and overcoming the absence of quarterback Mikey Keene.

Even without Mikey Keene under center, the Bulldogs rebounded from their lone loss on the season to defeat Utah State 37-32 on the road Saturday. 

Cornerback Morice Norris Jr. sealed the game with an interception in the final minute shortly after the Bulldogs took the lead, capping what proved to be a thrilling game. 


How it happened: The Bulldogs and Aggies hung with each other throughout the whole game, mirroring each other with three-and-outs on each of their first possessions before trading touchdowns on their next drives. 

  • Fresno State and Utah State continued to mirror each other throughout the first half, each punting twice in a row and finishing the second quarter with touchdowns to go into halftime tied at 14. 
  • Fresno State pulled away in the third quarter on the back of a 46-yard touchdown run by Malik Sherrod and a trick play pass from receiver Jaelen Gill to tight end Tre Watson for a 19-yard touchdown. 
  • Defensively the Bulldogs forced a turnover on downs, stopping the Aggies on a 4th and 6 in Fresno State territory. Defensive lineman Devo Bridges also picked off Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas to help hold the Aggies to just three points in the third quarter. 
  • But the Aggies came storming back in the fourth quarter, taking a 32-31 lead with under five minutes remaining. The Bulldogs kept their cool and drove 72 yards in just over two minutes, capped by Sherrod scoring the game-winning touchdown on an 11-yard rush. 

By the numbers: While Fife wasn’t perfect filling in for Keene – he completed 56 percent of his passes – he threw for 291 yards and 1 touchdowns without turning the ball over. 

  • Sherrod was powerful all night, finishing with 129 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns. 
  • Watson, who scored on the trick play, caught Fife’s lone touchdown pass to finish as Fresno State’s leading receiver with five receptions for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns. 
  • Defensive lineman Jacob Holmes led the way with 2 sacks for the Bulldogs. 
  • Even though the Aggies moved up and down the field more than the ‘Dogs did – outgaining Fresno State 568 yards to 459 yards – the Bulldogs found their path to victory in large part in the red zone. Fresno State scored on all five trips to the red zone, coming away with 30 points. 
  • Third down proved to be a key difference, with Fresno State converting 11 of 18 attempts compared to just 3 of 12 for the Aggies – although the Aggies were successful on 3 of 4 fourth down attempts. 
  • Fresno State’s strong rushing attack led by Sherrod helped the ‘Dogs control the ball on Saturday with over 33 minutes of possession.
  • Photo: Fresno State Athletics
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