INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno State football team finished off a historic turnaround in 2022, as the Bulldogs beat Washington State, 29-6, at SoFi Stadium.
Fresno State became the first team in FBS history to start the season 1-4 and finish with ten wins.
The Bulldogs closed the season on a nine-game winning streak, and, at 10-4, produced the 13th ten-win season in program history.
The win over the Cougars was also a fourth straight bowl win for the Bulldogs, and the 16th bowl victory in program history.
Fresno State running back Jordan Mims was named the game’s offensive MVP after he finished with 18 carries for 209 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Defensive lineman Devo Bridges was named the game’s defensive MVP, as he posted eight tackles and two sacks.
The Bulldog defense only allowed 182 yards of total offense and finished with six sacks.
In his final game as a Bulldog, senior quarterback Jake Haener went 24-of-36 for 280 yards with two passing touchdowns.
Below is Scott Bemis’ blog from the game.
Mims scores again
Jordan Mims might have put this game away and is making a great case for offensive MVP in this game, as he just added another three-yard touchdown run to make it 28-6. An extra point is good this time from Montano to make it 29-6 with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Mims now has 15 carries for 152 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Perales deflection on fourth down
Senior defensive end David Perales, who only played a handful of snaps in the Mountain West championship win at Boise State because of a leg injury suffered in the home finale against Wyoming, is making his last game as a Bulldog count here in Inglewood.
He had a big third down sack in the first half and he just knocked down a Cameron Ward pass on fourth down from the WSU 38-yard line, giving the Bulldog offense the ball in great field position early in the fourth quarter.
22-6 Fresno State with under 12 minutes left.
A score on this drive probably puts it away.
Mims runs leads to Remigio TD
The Bulldogs answered the Washington State score with a touchdown drive of their own.
They went 75 yards in six plays, getting runs of 22 and 29 yards from sixth-year senior Jordan Mims, and an eleven-yard scamper from Malik Sherrod, before Jake Haener found Nikko Remigio on a crossing route for an eleven-yard touchdown.
The extra point from redshirt freshman kicker Andre Meono was no good, so the Bulldogs will carry a 22-6 lead into the fourth quarter.
Mims, by the way now, has ten rushes for 129 yards in this game and one touchdown.
Cougars get on the board late in the 3rd quarter
Washington State strikes first in the second half, putting together a nine-play, 60-yard drive, which ends in a one-yard touchdown run from running back Nakia Watson. That makes it 16-6 Fresno State now.
The Cougars went for two to try and make it a one-score game, but the Bulldogs pressured Cameron Ward and forced a throwaway.
The drive was helped by a third-down defensive holding penalty on Fresno State nickelback Morice Norris Jr., which kept the drive alive inside the Bulldogs’ ten-yard line.
Fresno State sixth-year senior safety LJ Early makes the first big play of the second half, intercepting a long pass near the Bulldog goal line.
Early made a terrific adjustment on the football in the air to make the interception.
This Fresno State defense is the star of the day so far.
First half stats
Fresno State is dominating this game on the scoreboard and in the stat column. The Bulldogs have outgained the Cougars 296 yards to 59 in the first half.
Here are some of the top performers for the Bulldogs:
QB Jake Haener: 16-24, 228 pass yds, TD
RB Jordan Mims: 8 rushes, 76 yds, TD
WR Nikko Remigio: 2 rec, 56 yds
WR Zane Pope: 3 rec, 55 yds, TD
WR Jalen Moreno-Cropper: 4 rec, 42 yds
Last play excitement
With :09 left in the first half and no timeouts left, Jake Haener nearly made an incredible play, scrambling to avoid pressure several times and finding Nikko Remigio down the right sideline. Unfortunately, Remigio was tackled about seven yards short of the goal line, and the game clock ran out on the play.
So, we go to halftime with the Bulldogs leading 16-0.
Williams third down sack
The Fresno State defensive stars have come up big in the second quarter. Senior safety Evan Williams, who has not made a decision yet on whether this will be his last game as a Bulldog or if he will come back for one more year, had a big third down sack with about one minute left in the first half, forcing a Washington State punt.
Still 16-0 Fresno State with 33 seconds left in the second quarter.
Perales big sack
Senior defensive end David Perales, playing in his last game as a Bulldog, comes around the edge on third and long and sacks Cameron Ward of Washington State to force a punt.
The Bulldogs then get a break as Nikko Remigio muffed the ensuing punt, but the officials ruled that the Cougars interfered with his ability to catch the punt, negating the fumble.
Still 16-0 Bulldogs, with 6:38 left in the second quarter now.
Safety makes it 16-0 Bulldogs
Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward stepped out of bounds in the back of the end zone on the Cougars’ last possession, giving Fresno State a safety to make it 16-0.
Senior defensive tackle Leonard Payne Jr. was credited with forcing the safety after he applied pressure on the play.
Mims TD, 14-0 Bulldogs
Washington State gambled on fourth down from its own 23-yard line early in the second quarter, and the Bulldogs got a stop.
They took advantage of it as Jordan Mims finished off a four-play, 23-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
It is now 14-0 Bulldogs early in the second quarter.
7-0 Fresno State after 1st quarter
The Bulldogs took the opening drive of the game, and they went right down the field. They traveled 75 yards in six plays, with Jake Haener finishing off the drive by hitting Zane Pope for a 22-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
Fresno State’s defense got a three-and-out on Washington State’s first possession.
On the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs again put a nice drive together. However, they were unable to add to their lead, when Abraham Montano missed a 36-yard field goal.
Neither team was able to do much more for the rest of the quarter offensively.
Red Wave well represented
I saw a lot of Fresno State fans on the road this morning heading down Highway 99 on the way to Los Angeles, so, not surprisingly, the Fresno State side of the stadium is a sea of red on the two lowest decks. There are three more decks above that, by the way. (Four, if you count the press box/suite level.)
SoFi Stadium impressive
Here is the view from the press box.
Here are some pregame shots I got from my phone showing how impressive this NFL stadium is.