Ryan Mathews had 157 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Oct. 24, 2009
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -
The Fresno State football team improved to 4-3 and 3-1 in WAC after beating New Mexico State 34-3 on Saturday evening. Bulldog running back Ryan Mathews ran for 157 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns. He continues to lead the nation in rushing as he went over 1,000. He currently has 1,131 yards, good for an average of 161.6 yards a game.
The win was highlighted by several big plays from the special teams and defense as Lorne Bell had a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown, Ben Jacobs blocked a field goal and Chastin West had an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The offense racked up 410 yards of total offense and Jamel Hamler had a career night as he had 63 yards receiving on three receptions. Seyi Ajirotutu led the receiving corp with 64 yards on three receptions.
The Bulldog defense held the Aggies to 283 total yards. Ben Jacobs had 13 tackles, two being for loss. Lorne Bell had five tackles.
Saturday was the first time in three years that this game has been decided by more than a touchdown. The Bulldogs now lead the overall series 16-0.
The Bulldogs return to Bulldog Stadium on Saturday to host Utah State at 2 p.m.
POSTGAME NOTES AND QUOTES
BULLDOG NOTES:Early in the second quarter Ryan Mathews surpassed the 1,000-yard mark, becoming the ninth back in the Pat Hill era to accomplish that feat. He's the first since 2006 when Dwayne Wright rushed for 1,462 yards. Mathews leads the NCAA with 1,132 yards, an average of 161.7 per game.
Mathews had a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, giving in a nation leading seven 50-plus rushing plays this season. He's had runs of 69, 68, 68, 60, 60, 59 and 55 yards. All but the 55-yard run, which was against Wisconsin, were for touchdowns. He's scored nine touchdowns this season.
Mathews moved into fourth place on the Bulldog career rushing list with 2,603 yards passing Dean Philpott (1954-57), who had 2,533 yards. With two tonight, he has 29 career rushing touchdowns, tied for second most in school history with Michael Pittman, Bryson Sumlin and Philpott. He needs six more rushing touchdown for the all-time record of 35 set by Anthony Daigle.
Lorne Bell's second quarter 17-yard interception for a touchdown was the second by the Dogs this season. It was the first interception of Bell's career. Nico Herron had a 94-yard interception return for a score against UC Davis.
Marlon Moore had a 36-yard punt return in the second quarter, which set up a Bulldog field goal to give a 10-3 lead. It was the longest return by the Dogs this season.
Fresno State's next opponent Utah State earned a big win at home against Louisiana Tech Saturday, one week after losing a heart-breaking game to Nevada last weekend 35-32.
Bulldog Ben Jacobs picked up his fourth career blocked kick in the second quarter. Fresno State has 83 blocks in the Pat Hill era and 48 since 2002, most in the NCAA. It was the fourth blocked kick of the season for the Dogs, and third straight week. Fresno State had a school record 10 blocks in the 1999 season.
Chastin West's 88-yard punt return for a score was his third on a return in his career. He had a punt return for a touchdown last season vs. San Jose State and kickoff return for a touchdown against Boise State in 2007. His return was 4 yards shy of the Bulldog school record of 92 yards set by Clifton Smith in 2005 vs. Weber State. The return was Fresno State's 39th return for a score on special teams in the Pat Hill era, the 20th punt return for a touchdown.
Derek Carr completed four passes on six attempts for 57 yards on Saturday. All the numbers were season and career bests. He had a season long pass of 29 yards to Seyi Ajirotutu.
Fresno State Quotes
Head Coach Pat Hill
"Our defense and special teams played great tonight. It was a tough night running the ball. Give New Mexico State credit. They had a great game plan and really loaded the box. It was tough sledding early. Our coaches made some great adjustments in the second half and it opened up a little bit. We are able to take the pressure off by hitting some big plays in the passing game. It wasn't Ryan's (Colburn) best night. Some night's a pitcher is not going to have his best stuff, but he really hit some big passes when we needed, and managed the game well."
"I can't say enough about our defense. They played great. I loved the goal line stands we had, especially with the young guys in there at the end of the game. There was some big-time hitting going on. It's good to get them experience in those situations."
"The special teams keep getting better. They didn't bring a kickoff out past the 20 (yard line) and we had some big plays with the blocked field goal and the big returns by Chastin (West) and Marlon (Moore)."
"We played at a high level tonight like we have all season. It was a good win. We've won three in a row and everyone got to play for the third game in a row. We are looking forward to coming back home next week for Utah State. They are playing very well right now. I hope we have a big crowd. The fans only have two more chances to see us play at home this season."
Quarterback Ryan Colburn
"They (NMSU) did a good job tonight. They gave us some looks we hadn't seen on film and really stacked the box in ways we weren't expecting. We made some adjustments though and finally got the running game going."
"We didn't play our best offensive game but the defense and special teams really picked us up. They played great and kept their offense off the field. The guys on defense really deserve a lot of credit."
"We Are Your Team" - Spend your Halloween with the Bulldogs when they take on the Utah State Aggies. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. It will also be Youth Football Day at Bulldog Stadium. For special youth ticket deals, be sure to check out GoBulldogs.com or call the Bulldog Ticket Office at 278-DOGS.