FRESNO, Calif. – Despite the rough start and all the injuries, the Fresno State football team is still right in the hunt when it comes to the Mountain West conference title.
The Bulldogs (3-4 overall, 2-1 MW) are currently in a three-way tie atop the West division with San Jose State, and this week’s opponent at Valley Children’s Stadium, San Diego State.
“You know, what you play for is a chance to compete for the conference championship, and we are in that position, you know, with a lot of work to be done, a lot of games to be played,” said Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford Monday at his weekly press conference. “But we are in a position to compete for the conference championship.”
Tedford also saying at Monday’s presser that quarterback Jake Haener and safety Evan Williams remain week-to-week at this point, and aren’t expected to play again this week against the Aztecs.
Of course, in the last two games, sophomore Logan Fife has played better at quarterback, and defensively, the Bulldogs have only given up a single touchdown over those two games.
“I think some of our younger kids that are backups, that are just now starting to get playing time. “They’re starting to get a better feel for the game as well, and executing well, and I think our guys are playing really really hard and running to the ball,” said Tedford, about his improving defense. “We’ve done a nice job of holding people out of the end zone, cause it’s not like they haven’t been down there. They’ve been down there, but we’ve held ’em out of the end zone. We’ve held ’em out of the end zone, so we played some good defense in the red zone.”
On Monday, Tedford shared some more injury news about his ailing team. He announced middle linebacker Raymond Scott, a transfer from USC who began the year as a starter, and senior wide receiver Emoryie Edwards, who went to high school at Tulare Union, are out for the season because of hand and knee issues respectively.
Senior safety Elijah Gates meantime, was unable to finish Saturday’s win at New Mexico because of a leg injury, and the team will know more about his status going forward after an MRI on Monday.
Tedford said they are expecting athletic nickelback Justin Houston back this week.
Houston, who started 12 games last year as a sophomore, was ineligible for the first six games with an undisclosed issue. The Bulldogs were hoping to get him back for the New Mexico game, and Houston made the trip to Albuquerque on Saturday, but didn’t get the necessary clearance in time to play against the lobos. Tedford said Monday they expect to get that clearance this week, perhaps as soon as Monday.
Saturday’s matchup with the Aztecs, with control of the Old Oil Can on the line, will be the 61st meeting all-time between the California rivals.
The Aztecs are 4-3 overall, and are coming off a 23-7 win over Nevada in Reno.
As of Monday night, the Bulldogs were favored by 8.5 points.