2018 Las Vegas: Arizona State vs. Fresno State Preview
Bulldogs are hoping for a better Las Vegas Bowl is better this time around.
Bulldogs vs. the Pac-12
The moment finally happened. Which moment? A victory in Boise against Boise. Now the Fresno State Bulldogs are conference champions and bring an 11-2 record to the Las Vegas Bowl this upcoming Saturday. Jeff Tedford’s team is going for their 12th victory of 2018, and one that would set the school record for most wins in a season. Number 21 in the nation, MWC champions, 11-2, and a phenomenal season for Fresno State.
Their opponent? The Arizona State Sun Devils, coached by the famous Herm Edwards. The Sun Devils won four of their last five games to finish in 2nd place in the Pac-12 South but will be without their top star N’Keal Harry, as he prepares for the upcoming NFL draft. Of course, we all remember the last time Fresno State played a PAC-12 team in Vegas.
Keys for a Bulldogs Victory
No Championship Hangover
Last time the Bulldogs won the conference, they went on to get destroyed by USC in the same Las Vegas Bowl. That wasn’t a pretty sight by any means (yes, I was at that game). That can’t happen this time. Coming off perhaps the biggest victory in school history on the Blue Turf, Fresno State needs to finish this out: for the fans, for the school, for Tedford, and for all the seniors KeeSean Johnson and Marcus McMaryion specifically.
The past four seasons have been a whirlwind, going from 1-11 two years ago to back-to-back MWC championship game appearances, and 10-plus win seasons. What a turnaround and a 12-2 season would be the icing on the cake.
Stop Eno Benjamin
Arizona State will be without Harry for this one, but they still have running back Eno Benjamin. Eno has been ridiculous this season and has arguably been one of the best backs in the entire NCAA. He has 1524 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2018, and we all know what Alexander Mattison did to this Bulldogs defense a few weeks back. Herm Edwards and his squad will most likely hand the ball to Eno a ton, but not quite as much as the 40 carries Mattison had in the title game two weeks ago. If they can stop Eno Benjamin, they shouldn’t have too many problems.
Defense (surprise, surprise)
The Bulldogs have lived and died by their defense all year. Why should this game be any different? That MWC title game was an absolute grind, and the snow didn’t seem to help either team. The defense contained Mattison, stopped Rypien, and got a stop when it was all said and done. The Bulldogs have a lot of talent returning next season on the defensive side of the ball, that’s if Jeff Allison and Mike Bell don’t leave for the NFL draft. Regardless, one last game with this group will be fun to watch.
Analysis and prediction:
The adrenaline was pumping through the veins of everybody around the Fresno State team for days after that victory, but don’t think it’s going to stop there. Fresno State was mere minutes away from going to the Fiesta Bowl (thanks for that Memphis). The Bulldogs are going to come out ready for this one and absolutely dominate from start to finish.
Score: Fresno State Bulldogs 41, Arizona State Sun Devils 10.