Fresno State vs. USC: Bulldogs Battered In 48-17 Loss To Trojans
The result of the Bulldogs latest trip to the Coliseum wasn’t a total shock, but the loss to the Trojans came with a high price.
A tough loss to one of the nation’s best.
The Fresno State Bulldogs got a rude awakening on Saturday night against the USC Trojans, falling on the road by a final score of 48-17.
Lincoln Riley’s men of Troy didn’t have much trouble moving the ball all game long, scoring on seven of their nine drives while averaging 6.9 yards per play en route to 517 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs did make them work for it here and there, posting three sacks and five tackles for loss, but the game was never really close.
That’s because, after USC quarterback Caleb Williams connected with Jordan Addison to open the game’s scoring and then called his own number to stake the Trojans to a 14-0 lead, the Bulldogs chose to settle for a field goal yet again facing 4th-and-goal at the USC five-yard line. That risk-averse approach didn’t pay any dividends at all when the Trojans promptly converted two fourth down opportunities on Fresno State’s side of the field on the following drive and Williams’s second rushing touchdown of the game put them up 21-3 midway through the second quarter.
The Bulldogs did battle back, answering with a 39-yard connection from Jake Haener to Erik Brooks which made it 21-10, but Haener’s night would get cut short by a scary looking injury that, in the post game, was described by head coach Jeff Tedford as a high ankle sprain. Before he was knocked out early in the third quarter, Haener completed 10-of-18 passes for 117 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His replacement, Logan Fife, would finish the game 11-of-12 for 140 yards.
That injury wasn’t the only significant blow the Bulldogs would absorb, either, as star safety Evan Williams would end up on the sideline in crutches, his status for the near future being significantly murkier.
The ground game would lead the way in Fresno State’s last attempt to close the gap, capped by a 32-yard third-quarter touchdown by Malik Sherrod and a 114-yard effort overall by Jordan Mims, but the Trojans would put the game away by scoring the last 17 points of the contest on a 25-yard Travis Dye run, a 10-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Malcolm Epps, and a 41-yard field goal by Denis Lynch.
In all, the Bulldogs struggled yet again in the red zone, coming away with three points in four total opportunities and, while they put up 421 yards of total offense at 6.8 yards per play, struggled to move the chains on third down, finishing 3-of-10. The offensive line also had a night to forget, as well, allowing five sacks and six tackles for loss.
Fresno State (1-2) will be off next week before hitting the road for a date with UConn on October 1. USC (3-0) will also travel and open Pac-12 play against Oregon State next Saturday.