The Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the Utah State Aggies 24-17 to win the Mountain West Championship. The Bulldogs improved to 11-1, and the Aggies fell to 8-5.
In the first half, the Bulldog defense had five sacks, and did not give up any points. Utah State was about to be shutout when Bulldog RB Marteze Waller fumbled, and Aggie LB Jake Doughty returned the fumble 86-yards for a TD. With the score, Utah State grabbed some momentum, and went into halftime down 17-7.
In the second half, the Utah State defense gave the offense plenty of opportunities to score. Fresno State QB Derek Carr was intercepted twice by Aggie safety Brian Suite, but Utah State continued to be stalled on offense. Towards the end of the third, Derek Carr connected on a three-yard pass to WR Davante Adams, and the Bulldog’s lead climbed 24-7.
The Aggies came alive in the fourth quarter. Starting QB Darell Garretson was sacked deep in Fresno State territory by DB Dalen Jones, and had to leave the game due to injury. After a penalty on the next play, Utah State ran the wildcat with WR Bruce Natson scoring on a ten-yard TD rush. After the extra point, it was a ball game at 24-14 with 11:55 to go. On the ensuing kickoff, Jake Thompson delivered a perfect onside kick that was recovered by Utah State. The Aggies would settle for a field goal, and were down a single touchdown with nine minutes to play.
Late in the fourth, Fresno State’s offense was unable to convert on consecutive fourth downs, giving Utah State two chances to tie the game. Most likely, a combination of playing the back-up QB, Craig Harrison, and an amped up Fresno State defense, put a stop to any late comeback for the Aggies. The Fresno State defense finished with nine sacks in the game, and a key interception by DB Dalen Jones that secured the win.
It was a very exciting atmosphere in Fresno, CA. The crowd was into the game the entire time, and rushed the field to congratulate their Mountain West Conference Champs at the conclusion of play.
Link to box score.