Fresno State Bulldogs - Week 1 Opponent
Game Day: Saturday, September 2nd
Location: Ross Ade Stadium - West Lafayette, Indiana
Kick Time: Noon EST
Legal Name: California State University, Fresno
Location: Fresno, California
Type of School: Public Research University
Historical Football Facts
Seasons Played: 54 (1969 - 2022)
Overall Win/Loss/Tie Record: 380-266-4
PCAA (Pacific Coast Athletic Association) - 1969-1987
Big West - 1988-1991
WAC - 1992-2011
MWC - 2012-2022
Conference Championships: 12
Bowl Record: 13-12
Seasons Ranked in Final AP Poll: 4
Most Recent Appearance in Final AP Poll: 2022
Notable Former Athletes
Trent Dilfer - Football
Lane Kiffin - Football
David Carr - Football
Ryan Mathew - Football
Derek Carr - Football
Davante Adams - Football
Aaron Judge - Baseball
2022 Season Facts
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Overall Record: 10-4
Conference Record: 7-1 (MWC Champions)
Points Per Game: 30.6 (52 / 131)
Points Against Per Game: 19.4 (14th / 131)
Highest Ranking: 24 (Final Ranking)
Best Win: MWC Championship Game vs Boise State (28-16)
Worst Loss: @ Uconn (14-19)
Post Season: 29-6 win over Washington State in LA Bowl
Jeff Tedford Information
Head Coaching Experience: 15 Years
Career Record: 118-75
Bowl Record: 8-3
Head Coaching Experience:
California: 2002 - 2012 (82-57)
Fresno State: 2017 - 2019
Fresno State: 2022 - Current (36-18)
2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
2017 MWC Coach of the Year
Best Finish: 2004 Cal (10-2, AP 9)
Key Losses From 2022
QB - Jake Haener
As the starting QB for 10 out of 14 games, Haener led the Bulldogs to an 8-2 record. The two head scratching losses (20 point blow out @ Boise and the loss to UConn) both occurred with Haener on the bench due to injury. In total he threw for 2896 yards, 20 Tds, and 3 Ints.
RB - Jordan Mims
As the starting RB in every game last season, Mims carried the load on the ground putting up 1372 yards and 18 touchdowns on 261 carries. He ran for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 carries in their bowl win vs Washington State.
WR - Jalen Cropper
Cropper was the leading receiver by a wide margin. He hauled in 83 passes for 1086 yards and 5 touchdowns, averaging 13.1 yards a completion. Three big games (158 yards vs New Mexico, 164 yards vs UNLV, 136 yards vs Nevada) skew the numbers a bit. He lit up three bad teams but was held under 100 yards by everyone else.
WR - Nikko Remingio
The Cal transfer was the second leading receiver pulling down 74 receptions for 852 yards and 6 touchdowns, averaging 11.5 yards a reception. He led the Bulldogs in receiving in the MWC Championship Game with 5 receptions for 68 yards.
RT - Dontae Bull
The 6’7”, 320 man mountain started the first 7 games before suffering a season ending injury vs San Diego State. He played in 37 games over his 4 season career. The Victoria, British Columbia native was the first overall pick in the CFL (Canadian Football League) draft.
C - Bula Schmidt
All-Mountain West 2nd team, started 14 games at center. He appeared in 31 games over his career, and at one point or another, played every offensive line position.
DB - Evan Williams
The senior DB was named 2nd team All-Mountain West. He started 10 games was second on the team in tackles (69). He appeared in 32 games over his career, and accounted for 128 tackles, 16 passes defended and 4 interceptions.
DE - David Perales
Perales was named first team All-Mountain West after starting 13/14 games, registering 47 tackles and a team leading 16 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. He also contributed two forced fumbles and an interception. His 22.5 career sacks in just 24 games puts him 6th on the All-Time Fresno State sack leaderboard.
S - LJ Early
The 12 game started notched 40tackles, 1 interceptions and 7 passes defended. For his career he appeared in 23 games, registered 70 tackles, pulled in 2 interceptions, and knocked down 12 passes.
Key Additions For 2023
QB - Mikey Keene
The UCF transfer has the inside track to win the starting quarterback job. In 2021 the 5’11”, 180 pound true freshman quarterback out of Chandler Arizona started the final 10 games for the Knights completing 272 passes for 1730 yards, 17 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. More of a game manager than a play maker as a freshman, his most prolific passing game came against a woeful Temple team. He put up 229 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 int in a 49-7 beatdown of the Owls. The Golden Knights went 7-3 with Keene as the starting quarterback, including a 29-17 embarrassment of the Florida Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl.
The addition of Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee for the 2022 season relegated Keene to the bench. He appeared in 4 games in order to maintain his redshirt, throwing for 647 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He came up big in relief of Plumlee against #20 Cincinnati in a 25-21 UCF win. He came off the bench and threw for 176 yards on 21 attempts, competing 71.4% of his passes. Starting the next game against Memphis, he led UCF to a 35-28 victory, completing 78.6% of his passes for 219 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception on 28 attempts. After failing to lead a late game comeback in relief of Plumlee against Navy that saw the 17th ranked Golden Knights fall to a 4-7team, he once again took the field in relief of Plumlee against South Florida. Despite a game effort by an awful USF squad, Keene led his team to a 46-39 victory, completing 15/19 passes for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game winning touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the game.
Thus far in his career he’s been a winning, but unspectacular quarterback tasked with getting the ball out to playmakers as quickly as possible. He has limited physical upside, but sees the game well and plays his best when it matters most. It will be interested to see how a quarterback that averages 6.6 yards a completion in Gus Malzahn’s quick hitting offense fits into a Fresno State scheme that looks to attack down the field more often. However you look at it, the job of a quarterback is to win games, and Keene has shown a propensity for that during his time at UCF.
WR - Jaelen Gill
A member of the 2018 recruiting class, Gill originally signed with Ohio State out Westerville High School (OH). Considered an “all purpose back” as a recruit, the 4*, top 100 talent moved to wide receiver as a redshirt freshman, and then spent his next year of eligibility sitting on the bench for the Buckeyes. There is “buried on the depth chart” and then there is “buried on the Ohio State wide receiver depth chart” which is as buried as one can be in college football. Subsequently, Gill took his talents to Boston College.
His time in Chestnut Hill started with promise. In 2020 he brought in 29 passes for 435 yards and a touchdown in 11 games. Not earth shattering but better than the 7 passes he collected in 2 seasons at Ohio State. That promise never reached fruition. In 2021 he missed 3 games with injury and Zay Flowers, a fellow slot receiver, erupted onto the college football scene as one of the most electric players in the nation. 2022 was more of the same for Gill, he snapped 27 passes for 388 while Flowers pulled in 78 catches foe 1077 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Gill decided to use his extra Covid season and make a fresh start of things. Fresno State needs receivers and Gill needs opportunity. He’s got one last shot to live up to his lofty high school rankings and expectations. He reminds me a little of Charlie Jones in terms of career arc, but I hope he holds off on his redemption tour until after the first game. Look for Fresno to try and get the ball into his hands and let his running back skills take over.
S - Dean Clark
Clark, a 6’0”, 210 pound safety, had a star crossed career at Kent State. He saw limited time on the field as a freshman, appearing in 4 games and recording 6 tackles. Injury limited his sophomore season to only 4 games, but in those 4 games he recorded 28 tackles, an interception, 3 pass defenses, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick. Finally his breakout year came in 2021. He played in 14 games, recorded a team high 116 tackles, and knocked away 3 passes from his safety spot. Named a team captain, he was set to lead the Golden Flashes in 2022, but ruptured his Achilles tendon in winter workouts. He attempted to come back and play in 2022 but was limited to 4 games, and only managed 7 tackles.
He played 4 seasons at Kent State, in 3 of those seasons he managed to play 12 total games and make 41 tackles. In one of those seasons he played 14 games and made 116 tackles. Fresno State is hoping the healthy 2021 player made his way West and left the injuries behind him. Their 4-2-5 defense requires a solid tackling box safety, and Clark is a good one if he’s healthy.
Jeff Tedford is a long standing, well respected coach. They’re coming off 2 straight 10 win seasons and would like to extend that streak to 3. For that to happen, the rebuilt offense has to provide support to the veteran defense. I would say it’s good that Purdue catches them early before they get the offense figured out, but Purdue is working with a rebuilt offense and defense as well. As much as I love good football match-ups, both teams could probably use a warm up game, but you’ve got to play whoever is on your ridiculous schedule.
On paper, Purdue is the more talented team, but that same paper indicates that Fresno is the more experienced team. The Bulldogs have become accustomed to winning football games, and that’s the sort of confidence you need to win on the road. This should be one of the more intriguing week 1 match-ups. I think it’s a toss up and expect an ugly football game as both offenses try find what they do well.