Day Games Return To Bulldog Stadium For 2006 Football Season
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Feb. 23, 2006
FRESNO, Calif.- The 2006 Fresno State football schedule was announced today by Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh and it features six home games and five that will be nationally televised. The most significant change to the 2006 football schedule is the return of early afternoon home games at Bulldog Stadium. The final three games of the 2006 home schedule will begin at 2 p.m.
"As the Valley's team, I believe it's important to play our games at a time most convenient for all fans in the Valley," said Hill. "I believe this offers fans who live in the northern and southern parts of the Valley to come to Bulldog home games and enjoy the entire game day experience."
The Bulldogs kick-off the 2006 season against Nevada, the defending WAC co-champion, on Friday, Sept. 1. It marks the first time Fresno State has ever started a season with a WAC game. The game will be a rematch of last year's WAC championship game, won by the Wolf Pack 38-35 in Reno. WAC Coach of the Year Chris Ault returns several starters, including quarterback Jeff Rowe. The game will be live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.
In addition to the opener against Nevada, the Bulldog home schedule is arguably the finest in school history. It features two non-conference opponents that played in bowl games last season, Oregon and Colorado State.
The Ducks are coming off a 10-2 record and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the polls. This will be Oregon's first appearance at Bulldog Stadium since 1996, when the Ducks beat the Dogs 30-27 in overtime. Each of the last four meetings between Fresno State and Oregon have been decided by four points or less, including last year's game at Autzen Stadium, won by the Ducks 37-34. The game will be shown live on either ESPN or ESPN2.
The Rams, coached by Sonny Lubick, are making their first trip to Fresno in five years. The series between Fresno State and Colorado State is tied at five wins each. The Rams, which have won six league championships and been to nine bowl games under Lubick, finished second in the Mountain West Conference last season and lost to Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Fresno State's two other non-conference games will be on the road. The Dogs travel to Washington on Sept. 16. Fresno State last played at Husky Stadium in 2003, a 35-16 Bulldog victory. The Dogs are 1-1 in the all-time series against the Huskies.
The Dogs will travel to LSU on Oct. 21 in a game that will be televised on ESPN. LSU finished the 2005 season with an 11-2 record and a 40-3 win over Miami (Fla.) in the Peach Bowl. LSU was ranked No. 5 in the final USA Today Coaches poll. The Tigers are expected to be a preseason Top 5 team in 2006. It will be the first meeting between the two schools and just the third game for the Dogs against an opponent from the SEC.
Fresno State has designated the Hawaii game as Homecoming. The Dogs and the Warriors will play one of the WAC's top rivalries at Bulldog Stadium on Oct. 14. Fresno State beat the Warriors 27-13 last season at Aloha Stadium.
The Bulldogs will travel to Boise State Nov. 1 for a Wednesday night game against the Broncos. The game will be shown live on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. PT.
The Bulldogs will close out the 2006 home schedule in mid-November with back to back WAC games against two of the newest league members, New Mexico State and Idaho.
The Dogs will host the Aggies, coached by former Kentucky head coach Hal Mumme, for the first time since 1990. The Idaho game marks the return to Fresno State of former Bulldog assistant coach Dennis Erickson. Erickson, the former head coach of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, returns to college football and Idaho, where he began his head coaching career. Erickson had successful coaching stints at Idaho, Oregon State, Washington State and Miami (Fla.), where he won two national championships.
Fresno State closes the 2006 season with two WAC road games, at Louisiana Tech on Friday, Nov. 24, at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 and the season finale against rival San Jose State on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m.
"I'm very excited about the home schedule," Hill said. "The opening game against Nevada will be a big challenge but we are looking forward to it. Last year's game in Reno was a tough one. Having Oregon and Colorado State at home is very good for us. We are also happy to get several games on ESPN again this year. Being on national television has been great for our program and we have at least five more opportunities this season to showcase our program and the Valley to the rest of the nation."
The Bulldogs have been on regional or national television 41 times this decade, including 28 appearances on the ESPN/ESPN2. Fresno State will announce its local television package on the Bulldog Sports Network in the near future.