Dec. 31, 2012
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - In their first season in the Mountain West and first year under head coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldog football team winning the MW title is the No. 1 moment in Fresno State Athletics for the 2012 calendar year.
DeRuyter promised to bring Fresno a conference championship from the day he was hired and he accomplished that feat in his first season. It was Fresno State's first conference championship since 1999.
"I'm very, very proud of 22 exceptional seniors and the staff that came together a year ago to work as one unit and a team," DeRuyter said. "I'm very proud of what we were able to accomplish this season. We just tried to win a Mountain West championship, especially for these seniors."
Fresno State finished the year with a 9-4 record and made its 12th bowl appearance in the last 14 seasons.
The Bulldogs put on a show all year, but it was never more evident than in the season finale against Air Force.
In the 48-15 victory over the Falcons that clinched the title, the 'Dogs used a host of trick plays to entertain the biggest crowd of the season at Bulldog Stadium.
From a jump-pass touchdown by Robbie Rouse, to a triple-pass, a flea-flicker, the running of the fumblerooski and a host of other imaginary formations and plays involving defensive players - the fans got their money's-worth.
It wasn't just the season finale that marked the top game of the season. Fresno State went undefeated at home for the first time since 2000. In the six home victories, Fresno State averaged 48.8 points, 550 yards of offense and had an average margin of victory of nearly 32 points.
Outside of the home victories, Fresno State's work on the road made it possible to win the conference championship.
The Oct. 27, 49-32 victory at New Mexico was special. Fresno State overcame a 21-point first-half deficit to come back and win. That is the biggest deficit the Bulldogs have overcome in a victory since 1982.
The other road victory that stands out is the Nov. 10 game at Nevada. Fresno State scored three defensive touchdowns and Robbie Rouse willed his way to 261 yards rushing as the Bulldogs won 52-36 at Mackay Stadium when temperatures were in the low 30s.
For all their success, Fresno State cleaned up in the post-season awards. Quarterback Derek Carr was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, Phillip Thomas the Defensive Player of the Year and Davante Adams the Freshman of the Year. Those three players were all named All-Americans and in total, Fresno State had 15 players earn all-conference accolades in 2012.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" -- Check back every day to see the next Top Bulldog Moment of 2012 at gobulldogs.com
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