Fresno State Bulldogs Dominate New Mexico Lobos in 38-0 Homecoming Victory
The first-place Bulldogs (!) passed their toughest Mountain West test yet with flying colors by dismantling New Mexico.
Three conference games for the Bulldogs, three wins. Is Jeff Tedford’s team for real?
Raise your hand if you saw this coming.
Unless you’re Jeff Tedford or anyone within the Fresno State football program, you’re probably lying but, after three weeks of Mountain West Conference action, the Bulldogs have found their way to the catbird seat in the West division after a convincing 38-0 drubbing of the New Mexico Lobos.
The most impressive aspect of Fresno State’s latest effort was their discipline against New Mexico’s run-heavy offense, which simply never got going on Saturday night. Leading rushers Daryl Chestnut and Tyrone Owens had just 29 yards apiece on five and ten carries, respectively, while the Lobos mustered just 117 rushing yards (after sacks) on 35 attempts. New Mexico failed to crack three yards per carry for the first time since November 2015, and while the Bulldogs had just five tackles for loss, they only allowed two runs of more than 10 yards and forced two fumbles.
Lobos starting quarterback Lamar Jordan was just 2-of-6 for 13 yards passing before being relieved for Tekava Tuioti, who went 13-of-24 for 200 yards and an interception, as the game went sideways on New Mexico. While they had moments of explosiveness, most notably a tough 36-yard completion from Tuioti to Q’ Drennan, they never found a way to extend drives, going 0-for-8 on third downs in the first half and just 2-of-14 on the evening.
And while quarterback Marcus McMaryion continued to struggle moving the ball through the air on third downs (2-of-7 for 4 yards, zero conversions passing), he more than made up for it with deep throws in the first half, to receivers that were almost comically open against a shaky secondary.
Jamire Jordan finally had the breakout game that many had been expecting, as his 108-yard effort nearly doubled his 2017 output, while Keesean Johnson cracked 100 yards for the third time this fall, headlined by a gem of a touchdown grab.
On the night, McMaryion would finish 13-of-23 for 299 yards and three touchdowns, but his production dropped off in the second half yet again as he hit on just three of his last ten throws. In this particular instance, however, it can be overlooked by the running game’s steady production, which was its best of the season to date.
Ronnie Rivers exited the game after suffering what looked like an arm injury on a punt return, but the deep bench of running backs covered the loss by running for a season-best 240 yards (after sacks) and 6.85 yards per carry. Much of the first half’s production came on a 52-yard third-down scramble by McMaryion, but Jordan Mims and Josh Hokit were able to salt the game away in the second half, combining for 135 yards on the ground.
The defense continued to win the turnover battle, as well, as Mike Bell accounted for two turnovers with a tip drill interception and a fumble recovery. Strong safety Juju Hughes also continued his strong October with a team-best 11 tackles, and he also chipped in with two tackles for loss and two passes defended.
Fresno State (4-2, 3-0 MWC) will travel to San Diego State next Saturday, while New Mexico (3-3, 1-2 MWC) heads home for a date with Colorado State.