FRESNO - Gaining bowl eligibility for the first time since 2014, the Fresno State Bulldogs picked up its sixth win of the season, defeating BYU 20-13, on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium. "It is nice," Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford said of being bowl eligible. "That was one of our goals we set going into the year, getting into a bowl game. We still have a lot of work to do, but it is nice to get that sixth win. The players deserve it, they work really hard. The staff has done a phenomenal job. It is always gratifying to see hard work pay off, especially in a game like tonight where it could have gone either way. We found a way to get that sixth win and I am very proud of our players and our staff."
Fresno State (6-3), who improved to 4-1 at home this season, totaled 310 yards of offense as junior quarterback Marcus McMaryion went 14-of-20 through the air for 174 yards while spreading it out to five different Bulldog pass catchers. Leading the way was senior Da'Mari Scott with 61 yards on four receptions while junior KeeSean Johnson added 47 yards on a team-high five receptions.
On the ground, the Bulldogs gained 136 yards on 40 carries (4.5 yards/carry) as the duo of Josh Hokit and Jordan Mims churned out 113 yards in the backfield. Hokit led the way with 59 yards on 13 carries while Mims added 54 yards on a team-high 20 carries and had his second consecutive multi-touchdown game with two scores.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jeffrey Allison tied his career-high with 14 tackles (10 at halftime) making six solo stops and added a sack and a fumble recovery. Sophomore free safety Mike Bell had his second double-figure tackle contest with 10 tackles, seven solo, and added a fumble recovery.
The Bulldog defense added two sacks, 10 pass breakups, two quarterback hits and created its 15th turnover of the season with Bell's forced fumble in the fourth quarter.
How It Happened
After the Bulldog defense forced a BYU three-and-out to start the game, the 'Dogs took over at their opponents' 25-yard line and proceeding to score on its opening drive for the second-straight game - a 43-yard field goal by senior kicker Jimmy Camacho to give the 'Dogs a quick 3-0 lead.
Scoring first for the seventh time this season, the 'Dogs defense came up big on the next drive, stopping the Cougars short on a 4th-and-1. Fresno State took over at their own 43-yard line and went on a five-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a two-yard rushing touchdown by Mims for his fourth score of the season. A 50-yard pass from McMaryion to Jamire Jordan on third-and-10 set the score up, which gave the 'Dogs a 10-0 lead with 2:08 to play in the first quarter.
Leading in total yardage 115-83 after the opening 15 minutes, the Bulldogs were slowed down by the BYU defense in the second quarter as they were limited to 38 yards. The Cougars used a pair of field goals by redshirt junior kicker Rhett Almond to cut the Fresno State lead to 10-6 at halftime.
The 'Dogs started with the ball to open the second half and used a 10-play, 46-yard drive to add three more points behind a 42-yard kick from Camacho, his fourth field goal of 40-plus yards this season, putting the Bulldogs up 13-6.
BYU responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a four-yard touchdown score by running back Squally Canada to tie the game at 13-13 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs' offense answered with the eventual game-winning touchdown by putting together a 14-play, 88-yard drive that took 6:42 off the clock as Mims scored on a 2-yard plunge to Fresno State on top 20-13. The 'Dogs rode the back of Mims as he carried the ball seven times for 19 yards, including the final six plays of the drive.
With the Cougars attempting to tie the game in the fourth quarter, a batted ball by George Helmuth halted a fourth-down attempt and a forced fumble by Bell recovered by Allison sealed the game as the Cougars were held to 54 yards in the fourth quarter.
• Fresno State grabs ahold of the all-time series lead against BYU, 6-5, in its 11th all-time meeting.
• Fresno State is bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.
• Jeff Tedford becomes the third head coach in the history of the program to lead Fresno State to a bowl game in year one - joining Tim DeRuyter (2012) and Alvin Pierson (1945).
• KeeSean Johnson has made a reception in 31-straight games. The Fresno State all-time record is 34 games, set by Henry Ellard during his career (1979-82).
• Marcus McMaryion went without an INT on 20 attempts, upping his streak to 118-straight attempts without an interceptions. He now ranks No. 6 all-time for consecutive attempts without an INT, moving past Billy Volek's 1999 season when tossed 111-straight passes without an interception.
• The Bulldogs shut out its sixth opponent in the first quarter improving to 6-0 in such games. Fresno State's opponents have scored only three points combined in the first quarter during five games at Bulldog Stadium.
• Jimmy Camacho has made a field goal in every game this season and has made 16 this season.
• The 'Dogs have recorded six games this season with multiple rushing touchdowns.
• Marcus McMaryion now has four passes of 50-plus yards on the season with his toss to Jordan in the first quarter.
• With pass completions of 35 and 50 yards, respectively, Marcus McMaryion has 13 competitions this season that have gone for 30-plus yards, and 25 completions this season that have gone for 20-plus yards.
• KeeSean Johnson led the team in receptions six times out the nine contests this season.
• Fresno State increased its season record to 5-1 this season win winning the turnover battle (1-0).
• Fresno State has created a turnover in six of the last seven games.
• Jeffrey Allison's matched his career-high in tackles (14), originally set at Alabama.
The Bulldogs return to Mountain West play next week opening a two-game road swing at Hawai'i (3-6, 1-5 MW) next Saturday at 8 p.m. PT. The game will be carried locally in Fresno on KSEE 24-TV.