Fresno State falls to New Mexico, 49-39
Offensive line, defense fails Bulldogs.
Bowl game is out the window.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and the Bulldogs sure will ride that motto 400 miles back to Fresno.
The 2020 season is over for the Bulldogs- unless they somehow get a bowl bid- and Saturday night was by far the worst game of the season.
After traveling to Las Vegas to take on New Mexico, and without star running back Ronnie Rivers, the Bulldogs fell apart in their final game of 2020.
New Mexico was ready to play in all facets, and embarrassed Fresno State, 49-39 in the Lobos first victory over the Bulldogs since 1994.
Ronnie Rivers was listed as day-to-day all week by Kalen DaBoer with a leg injury, but warmed up and stood on the sidelines in full uniform. Rivers did come in for a few plays, as he sits just one touchdown shy of the school record.
So, what exactly happened Saturday night in Vegas?
For starters, the defense gave up 49 points. To put that into perspective, the Lobos scored 44 points total in the last three games combined. Fresno State just couldn’t make any stop on defense at all.
New Mexico running back Bobby Cole had 18 carries for 138 yards and three scores- including two in the fourth quarter.
Walk-on freshman signal caller Isaiah Chavez finished with 15 carries for 95 yards with a rushing score and a 14-18 clip for 196 yards through the air with a touchdown. Freshman running back Nathaniel Jones added a pair of rushing touchdowns on the night as the Lobos notched just their second victory of the season.
While the Bulldogs defense couldn’t get any stops, that might not even be the worst aspect of the game on Saturday evening for DaBoer’s team.
How is that, you ask?
The Bulldogs gave up EIGHT sacks in the game. That is not a typo.
New Mexico had six sacks coming into the game, and somehow, someway, the Fresno State offensive line gave up eight in one game.
Jake Haener finished 26-43 with 350 yards and three touchdowns. Haener got beat up all game and had a bad leg injury late in the fourth quarter. Haener would come back in and finish the game out, but looked in significant pain for the rest of the contest.
Jordan Mims had an 84-yard rushing score, and Jalen Cropper once again led the way for Bulldogs pass catchers with 12 catches for 134 yards and a score.
Mac Dalena had four catches for 88 yards and his first career touchdown- just a week after kicking for the Bulldogs.
It came down to this: eight sacks and 49 points.
With that being said, the fact the Bulldogs only lost by ten is a miracle. Not to mention Fresno State was without their best player in Ronnie Rivers, who made a brief appearance in the red zone on a play where Jake Haener ran in it for a score.
Unfortunately, Fresno State finished the year 3-3 after dropping their final two games of the year, and will have to wait to see if they are invited to a bowl game. New Mexico finished the year 2-5 and looks like they have a lot to build on heading into the 2021 season.
With more and more bowl games being cancelled due to the ongoing and endless pandemic, the chances are slim for Fresno State.
Ronnie Rivers will go down in Fresno State history, and unfortunately didn’t get a chance to set the record tonight. Rivers will likely finish his career with 42 total scores in Bulldogs red, white and blue, and if this is the last time we see Ronnie Rivers in a Bulldogs uniform, he will always be remembered as one of the best and toughest players to sport the uniform. Ronnie, thank you.