Sept. 18, 2009
Fresno, Calif. (AP) - Junior Ryan Mathews sprinted for another breakout night with 234 rushing yards, the third highest single-game mark in school history, and three touchdowns of more than 60 yards in Fresno State's high-scoring battle with No. 10 Boise State that ended in a 51-34 defeat for the home team on Friday night.
The entertaining evening of explosive plays turned into a truly wild WAC shootout.
The nationally-ranked Broncos, only the third Top 10 school to play in Bulldog Stadium, jumped out to an early 24-3 midway through the second quarter, highlighted by an early 30-yard Winston Venable interception return for a touchdown and a 60-yard DJ Harper scamper.
But the Bulldogs, in front of a strong sea of white in Fresno State's first football "Wear White Night," relied on their powerful running game and talented offensive weapons to cut the deficit to 24-17 at halftime after Mathews recorded a pair of 60-plus yard runs to quickly jumpstart the Dogs' comeback bid.
Fresno State climbed back within a field goal with 11:39 left in the third quarter when the lightning-quick Devon Wylie grabbed a 21-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ryan Colburn in the corner of the endzone to cut Boise State's lead to 27-24.
But the Broncos highlight reel plays proved to be too much to overcome.
Boise State's Jeremy Avery led his Broncos with 186 yards, with the longest coming on a 74-yard dash that Fresno State's A.J. Jefferson jarred loose at the goal line. The ball bounced straight into the hands of a trailing Titus Young for a critical Boise State score on a two-play drive immediately following the Wylie touchdown.
Mathews added his third touchdown just over a minute and a half into the fourth quarter on a 68-yard run to keep the Bulldogs fighting late in the game to climb back within a possession at 41-34.
Avery then answered with a 67-yard screen pass that restored Boise State's 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter and ended the Bulldogs valiant threat on a 69-yard run that set up a field goal. Avery finished with 186 yards on 11 carries, with 83 more yards receiving.
Colburn finished the night with 187 passing yards and converted two key fourth down conversions.
Fresno State (1-2, 0-1 WAC) will next face the Big East's Cincinnati Bearcats on the road in Ohio. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Regional and can be viewed on the Bulldog Sports Network through KAIL-53 in Fresno.
"We Are Your Team" - The Bulldogs travel to Cincinnati to take on the Big East Champion Bearcats on Saturday, September 26th at 9 a.m. The game can be seen on the Bulldog Sports Network on KAIL MY53 (Comcast Cable, Channel 13). The Bulldogs return to Bulldog Stadium on Saturday, October 17 as the Dogs host San Jose State in their annual Homecoming game. The Community Food Bank along with the Bulldog Pantry will be hosting a food drive so be sure to bring canned food to help feed the hungry in the Central Valley. Tickets can be purchased at the Bulldog Ticket Office, by calling 278-DOGS or online at GoBulldogs.com.
POSTGAME NOTES AND QUOTES
HEAD COACH Pat Hill: "That was a heck of a football game. I'm really proud of our team. After being down 24-3 a lot of teams would have packed it in, but we battled back and made it a one-touchdown game at the half. We battled all night. We didn't get many breaks and every time we had a chance to tie the game they hit a big play."
"Give Boise (State) credit. They are a heck of a team. They have been dominating this league for years and the played very well tonight. They have some magic going on right now. They made big plays when they needed to. Avery is a fast guy, but so is Ryan Mathews. There was a lot of speed on the field tonight."
"For us to have 500 total yards against Boise State says a lot about the skill level of our team. Not many teams can put up those numbers against them."
"This is a young team and early in the season and we are going to get better and better. We will learn from this game. Ryan Colburn made some mistakes in the first half because they through some things at him that he hadn't seen before, but he made some adjustments and he played a whale of a second half. He's a real leader on this team."
"There are some guys in there (locker room) who are hurting, but I told them we will rebound and get ready for Cincinnati. We have a tough road ahead of us but we will get better. I still think we have a chance to have a very, very good football team this season."
Ryan Colburn: "You got to give Boise State credit, they're a heck of a football team, there's no question about it. Every time we'd battle back and we came up with some big plays, they'd come right back and answer. He (Ryan Mathews) is unbelievable. I've been saying it for a while, everyone knows he's talented, but that guy is very hungry. He's heartbroken right now. I guarantee if you could tell him that he could have only had 10 yards rushing and we would have won, he would have taken it in a second."
Ryan Mathews: "Our line was doing a really good job pressing their defensive line back and the running backs were doing a good job of running where the holes were. I just wanted to make it a point that I belong with the best. Our line did so good, I give all the credit to them. You just have to make one guy miss. I like making safeties miss, that's what a running back is supposed to do. You always got to make that one guy miss and then it's off to the races. I give all the credit to my linemen, they played their butts off. All I do is run, they're in the trenches working their butts off just trying to get me to the holes. My position coach, coach Wade was telling me, `You got to get us back in it, you got to get us back in it." After that first big run he said he had a feeling I was going to break that one, and all of a sudden, I'm off to the end zone. I just had my mind focused on `I got to just make one guy miss.'"
Chris Carter: "It's turned into a rivalry between us over the years. This is a game you don't want to give up. As a defensive player, as a pass rusher, you want to go in with the mind set of how am I going to go by him next play or how am I going to go through him or confuse him."
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