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