In front of the largest crowd ever to witness a Fresno State sporting event, the Bulldogs fell to 12th-ranked Tennessee 24-6, snapping a five-game winning streak dating back to the 2002 season. The Volunteers dominated defensively, limiting Fresno State to just 117 yards and no offensive touchdowns. The Bulldogs’ lone score came when Richard Marshall picked off a pass and returned it 81 yards for a TD. The attendance of 103,810 was the largest crowd ever to watch a Fresno State sporting event. Football Downed by No. 12 Tennessee in Opener
Picked to finish first in their conference by most major publications. Receiving votes in the ESPN/USA coaches and Associated Press poll with 21 and 22 votes putting the at #35 and #37.
This Friday, the fifth of September, the Beavers will make a trip to Fresno, California to face the Fresno State Bulldogs. Is this just another game? Not at all. This is a big game for the Mike Riley led Beavers.
During the 2001 season the Beavers traveled to Fresno as the number 12 team in the country (number one according to Sports Illustrated, damn curse), only to be meet by an upstart, motivated Bulldog team. The Bulldogs took it to the Beavers winning the game 44-24, but that isn’t what most Beaver fans remember about that game. Stories have been told of getting cussed at, being drenched in beer, among other heinous acts. Not to mention, perhaps, the dirty play on the field by the Bulldogs.
While waiting to return a punt, OSU’s Terrell Roberts was drilled by a Fresno State’s Kendell Edwards before catching the ball, by the way, that hit put Roberts out of commission for three weeks with a broken wrist.
Fast-forward to September 21, 2002, Reser Stadium. The Beaver’s Aric Williams repays the favor on OSU’s first punt of the game. After that it was all down hill for the Bulldogs.
After having good field position following the Williams personal foul, Fresno quarterback Jeff Grady threw an interception that Richard Seigler ran back 65 yards for a touchdown, the first score in a game that would end 59-19 in favor of the Beavers.
This year Mike Riley leads a different Beaver team into Fresno. A Beaver team led by All-American candidate Steven Jackson. In last year’s game Jackson ran 25 times for 227 yards and two touchdowns.
This year Jackson is coming off a solid game one, with 23 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns. The Beavers won the game 40-7 over Division I-AA Sacramento State.
In the game OSU quarterback Derek Anderson completed 17 of 35 passes for 273 yards, in a solid yet unspectacular performance.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 24-6 loss to the Tennessee Volunteers in Neyland Stadium. The Fresno State offense managed only four first downs and 117 total net yards of offense. Grady completed 13 of 24 passes for 118 yard. The Bulldog defense allowed Cedric Houston 161 yards on only 19 carries.
Much like two years ago the Beavers could have problems in the hostile conditions of Bulldog Stadium. The OSU offensive line should have a good day opening holes for junior tailback Steven Jackson. The key to the game is pass protection. If Derek Anderson is able to plant his feet and hit his receivers, expect the Beavers to roll, much like last season. If not, we could see a game much like that 44-24 game two years ago.
My prediction: Beavers 34 Bulldogs 17.
Jake Schubert writes for the Barometer and covers Beaver football for the website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- QB Paul Pinegar: Pinegar is expected to miss this week’s
game due to a torn pectoral muscle suffered during practice two weeks ago.
Although he made the trip, he sat out last week’s contest at No. 12
Tennessee. He hopes to return to action against Louisiana Tech on Sept. 20.
- OT Logan Mankins: A member of the Outland Trophy committee’s
Watch List, Mankins tore the ACL in his right knee in an Aug. 12 scrimmage
and will miss the entire 2003 season. Prior to his injury, Mankins was a strong
candidate for many postseason awards.
- LG Dartagnon Shack: Shack missed the Tennessee game with
a high ankle sprain, which he suffered during an Aug. 12 scrimmage. He will
be re-evaluated on Monday, at which point his playing status for Friday’s
game will be determined.
- MLB Marc Dailey: A three-year starter at middle linebacker,
Dailey suffered an MCL sprain of his right knee in the second quarter against
Tennessee. He will miss this week’s game and is not expected to return
for a couple of weeks.
- WR Bernard Berrian: Will sit out at least the first quarter due to stomach flu.
- Friday's contest is the third year in a row a national television audience
will be watching a Bulldog vs. Beaver contest.
- Fresno State leads the series 7-5 with a perfect 5-0 home record against
Oregon State. But Pat Hill is 1-2 versus the Beavers.
- Pat Hill is 5-1 in home openers, including four in a row.
- Last year the Bulldogs played six games on days other than Saturday going
3-3. Each contest was carried by either ESPN or ESPN2. This Friday's games
is on of two for the 'Dawgs this season.
- Fresno State is 5-5 in its last 10 games against teams from the BCS Conferences.
Since Hill took over at FSU in 1997 the Bulldogs have played 19 games against
- The Bulldogs are 5-3 in its last eight games against ranked opponents. FSU's
last victory against a ranked opponent came against No. 22 Colorado State.
- Pat Hill is 5-8 all-time at Fresno State against nationally ranked opponents.
He is also 7-2 in non-conference home games with six straight wins.
- The Bulldogs are 29-5 (.853) overall under Hill at home.
- Fresno State special teams have scored 13 touchdowns, including three safeties,
since Hill took over in 1997. Special teams have also blocked 41 punts and
kicks since 1997.
- The Dawgs have not had a three game losing streak since 1998.
- Fresno State is 8-2 after losing to nationally ranked opponents.
- The Bulldogs have not been shutout in the last 136 home games dating back
to Oct. 25, 1980, vs. Utah State (14-0). Fresno State has scored in 160 of
the last 161 home games.
- Fresno State is 11-11 in its 22 national television appearances over the
last three seasons, including 0-1 this season. The Bulldogs are scheduled
to play three times on national TV in 2003.
- Fresno State is 20-4 in its last 24 games when the starting running back
scores a touchdown.
- The Bulldogs are 16-5 in their last 21 games when scoring first.
- The Bulldogs have returned an interception for a touchdown in three of the last five games. Last week, Richard Marshall scored Fresno State’s lone TD of the game against No. 12 Tennessee by picking off a pass and going 81 yards the other way for a score.
Opponent Score -------- ----- at Wisconsin L, 21-23 San Diego State W, 16-14 at Oregon L, 24-28 at Oregon State L, 19-59 at Rice W, 31-28 Colorado State W, 32-30 SMU W, 30-7 at Boise State L, 21-67 Hawaii L, 21-31 Tulsa W, 31-12 Nevada W, 38-30 at San Jose State W, 19-16 at Louisiana Tech W, 45-13 vs Georgia Tech W, 30-21