If the Fresno State Bulldogs football team is going to go down this year, it is going to go down swinging.
For the fourth time this season, the Bulldogs emerged victorious from a battle that was decided by seven points or less. On Saturday night, Fresno State bested the San Diego State Aztecs in overtime, 35-28.
The win over the Aztecs was the second time this season that the Bulldogs have pulled of an overtime thriller. The first came in the season-opener against Rutgers.
In Saturday night’s game, Fresno State was able to establish a 28-14 lead with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter—but the Aztecs weren't ready to quit.
First, it was a 60-yard pass from quarterback Quinn Kaehler to Tim Vizzi that set the Aztecs up with a 1st-and-goal on the 1-yard line. One play later, Aaron Boesch punched it into the end zone.
The drive took San Diego State all of 57 seconds to complete.
Then, a prayer was answered when the Aztecs attempted—and succeed—at recovering an onside kick at Fresno State’s 49-yard line.
San Diego State calmly drove the ball down the field and completed the comeback thanks to a 27-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Chad Young.
In a matter of 3:36, the Aztecs had managed to tie the game at 28 points apiece.
It wasn’t over yet, though.
After a punt by Fresno State with just over four and a half minutes to play, the Aztecs had the chance to put the pressure on Fresno State by taking the lead for the first time all game. It almost happened, too.
After a lengthy drive, San Diego State found itself on Fresno State’s 20-yard line with three seconds remaining in the game. The only thing that stood between the Aztecs and the feeling of ruining the Bulldogs’ perfect season was a 37-yard field goal.
Well, that and senior tight end Marcel Jensen.
The 6’6”, 270-pound Jensen became an instant star in the San Joaquin Valley by blocking Seamus McMorrow’s kick and sending the game into overtime.
From there, the Bulldogs offense took charge.
After a 15-yard personal foul penalty pushed Fresno State back to the San Diego State 40-yard line, Derek Carr led his team down to the 1-yard line, where sophomore running back Marteze Waller ran it in on 1st-and-goal.
Fresno State’s defense was able to stop the Aztecs on fourth down, and the game was over. The Bulldogs had survived.
It hadn’t even been one week since the first BCS rankings of the season had been released, and the Bulldogs almost blew their chance at receiving a BCS bid.
But Fresno State knows these kinds of games will be the norm going forward. Everyone in the Mountain West Conference will give the Bulldogs their best.
It may not have be pretty, but a win is a win.
Most importantly, the BCS dream is still alive for Fresno State.