Fresno State Football: The Five Best Moments From The 2019 Season
It was a rough football season for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t without its highlights. What stands out from the 2019 campaign?
The ‘Dogs had some bright spots.
It’s tempting to take Fresno State football’s 2019 season and tuck it away into a dark corner of your memory banks, to rarely think about it ever again.
Last fall frustrated, to be sure, but it wasn’t a depressing slog like 2016 and, at the very least, features some signature plays from veterans in their final campaign and flashes of excitement from the next great Bulldogs. In short, some of those memories are worth remembering fondly.
Here are Fresno State’s top five moments from 2019.
5. Wylan Free buries New Mexico State with a long pick-six.
The game against the Aggies wasn’t really in doubt by the time the sophomore safety stepped in front of an errant Josh Adkins pass, but if you like cherries on top of a big win, it’s hard to do better than a 90-yard interception return.
4. Justin Rice’s scoop-and-score keeps UNLV at bay.
Replacing the entire linebacker unit was never going to be an easy task, but Rice acquitted himself pretty well, finishing the year as one of 15 FBS defenders to force at least four fumbles. The one fumble he managed to return, however, proved crucial.
UNLV had scored a long touchdown before halftime and ended their first drive of the second half with a field goal, then held in their red zone to force a missed goal from Cesar Silva. With a chance to make it a one-point game, though, Keiti Iakopo said “nah” and Rice took it from there. The Rebels never threatened again.
3. Extra point trickeration from Josh Hokit works like a charm vs. Minnesota.
Did it suck that the ‘Dogs came up agonizingly short against the Gophers two years in a row? Yes? You can’t say they weren’t willing to dive deep into the playbook to make it happen, though, as evidenced by this fancy extra point setup that gave Fresno State a seven-point lead late in the third quarter.
(video starts at 0:42)
2. Jalen Cropper says “hello, goodbye” for the first time vs. New Mexico State
Few recruits in recent years generated as much excitement as Cropper, a local product long noted for his speed, and his first college touchdown had every armchair quarterback in the Central Valley dreaming of how to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.
New Mexico State never had a chance, really, on the fly sweep that Cropper took 79 yards to the house. A pair of solid blocks from tight ends Jared Rice and Cam Sutton left the true freshman with only one man to beat and he did so easily (and not for the last time that fall, either).
1. Mykal Walker tackles Kedon Slovis and Vavae Malepeai, at the same time, on a crucial fourth down play vs. USC
There aren’t a lot of football plays where you can say “that was a man play”, but… this right here was a man play. The Bulldogs weren’t quite able to close the deal, but Walker gave them every chance to do so with this.