People say “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. Well, Arizona State had a chance to take their eighth victory of the year with them. Fresno State had a chance to continue the most successful season in school history by finishing with 12 wins.
Arizona State was missing some players due to injury. The Sun Devils were also missing standout wide receiver, N’Keal Harry, due to him turning pro and starting his preparation for the 2019 NFL Draft. With these injury losses and Harry being gone it created a thought that the Sun Devils would be in for a long day.
Fresno State came into the game with a ton of motivation. The Bulldogs had already won 11 games, were ranked #21 in the country, and wanted to complete the most successful season in school history with a win.
The Bulldogs drew first blood and went up 3-0 first on a 39 yard field goal Asa Fuller.
The Sun Devils got off to bad start. Arizona State’s couldn’t get anything going. There was no rhythm to the offense and Manny Wilkins didn’t seem comfortable. Wilkins exacerbated things for the Sun Devils by throwing a interception that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown by the Bulldogs Anthoula Kelly.
Fresno State was up 10-0 and had all the momentum.
The Sun Devils had to respond or the game was in jeopardy of getting out of hand.
Manny Wilkins and the offense did exactly what they needed to do. The Sun Devil offense dug deep and engineered a nine play, 65 yard drive that ended with a three yard pass from Manny Wilkins to Kyle Williams for a touchdown.
Fresno State’s lead was now down to 10-7. Arizona State had grabbed back some of the momentum in the game.
The Sun Devils scored again early in the second quarter when Eno Benjamin scampered 17 yards. Arizona State was feeling good, in rhythm, and had the lead at 14-10.
Now that the momentum in the game had change, it was Fresno State’s turn to come up with a response to the Sun Devil surge.
Fresno State quarterback, Marcus McMaryion, got the Bulldog defense down the field on a nine play, 75 yard drive that ended with McMaryion running the ball in from 10 yards out for the touchdown.
Fresno State took the lead back at 17-14.
A field goal by Brandon Ruiz of 20 yards tied the game up going into halftime.
Football is a game of adjustments as we all know, so which team was going to make the necessary adjustments to take home the victory.
With Marcus McMaryion throwing two picks the offense of the Bulldogs was a bit out of sync. The Sun Devils could not take real advantage of it. All the Sun Devils could muster off of the turnovers was a field goal by Brandon Ruiz of 44 yards. It gave Arizona State the lead at 20-17.
Bulldog running back, Ronnie Rivers, scored on a spectacular 68 yard run right up the middle of the Sun Devil defense.
Fresno State lead 24-20 heading to the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter is where you earn the game.
Fresno State made enough plays in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory. The was a quiet confidence about this Bulldog to help them through to the 31-20 win on Saturday afternoon.
Fresno State’s senior class came in as a group that has dealt with some down times. Dealing with those not so good times as a team forged the mindset that these Bulldog players had this season.
The toughness that Jeff Tedford has brought to the team showed on Saturday afternoon.
“We lost to a good team today. There’s a reason why they had won 11 games.” Sun Devil head coach Herm Edwards said after the game.
Yes, there is a reason why Fresno State has the record they do. They are a good, disciplined football team. A 12-2 record looks pretty good on the resume.