'Dogs Picked to Win MW West Division, Five Named Preseason All-Conference
July 22, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
LAS VEGAS - For the second consecutive season the Fresno State football team was selected to finish atop the West Division standings in the Mountain West conference, as revealed by the league Tuesday morning prior to kicking off the 2014 MW Media Days at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Additionally, the conference announced five Bulldogs to its 2014 Preseason All-MW football team, highlighted by senior free safety Derron Smith, who was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Joining Smith on the 25 member preseason all-conference team, were senior offensive lineman Cody Wichmann, senior defensive tackle Tyeler Davison, junior linebacker Ejiro Ederaine and junior punter Garrett Swanson.
In total, 16 players named to the 2014 Preseason All-Conference team were either first or second-team All-MW selections for the 2013 season. Smith, Ederaine and Davison return as three of the 16, while Wichmann and Swanson are candidates to breakthrough a first time for the All-MW postseason award.
Smith, now a back-to-back Preseason Defensive Player of the Year selection, is a 2012 and 2013 All-MW first-team honoree. The Banning, Calif., native led the conference and was second in the nation with seven interceptions a season ago and now returns as the NCAA active leader in career interceptions with 14. (Video highlight reel of Smith's INT's).
Smith was named the Defensive MVP of the inaugural MW Championship Game following six tackles, one sack, one interception and one pass breakup to help lead the Bulldogs to a 24-17 win over Utah State for its second consecutive MW title, and its first outright conference championship since 1989.
Fresno State earned 15 first-place votes and 174 points to claim the top spot in the West Division poll, and will compete to be the second school to ever claim three consecutive MW titles - TCU (2009-11). The last time the Bulldogs won three-straight conference titles was back from 1958-61 when the `Dogs captured four-straight California Collegiate Athletic Association championships. The Bulldogs return 16 starters, including eight on defense that will aim to defend the preseason prediction.
The `Dogs narrowly topped San Diego State, who garnered 15 first-place votes and 172 points to earn second-place. Nevada finished third in the voting thanks to three first-place nods and 130 total points. UNLV (95 points), San José State (87 points) and Hawai`i (35 points) complete the West Division poll.
2014 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
2014 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
P - Garrett Swanson, Jr. - Fresno State
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Chuckie Keeton, Sr., QB, Utah State
* - member of the 2013 All-Mountain West first team.
All selections were voted upon by working members of the media.
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