FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Joe Fernandez caught two touchdown passes
from Paul Pinegar, and Fresno State erased an early deficit with 46
consecutive points to defeat Utah State 53-21 on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (4-1, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) also took
advantage of four Aggies turnovers, scoring 19 points off miscues
while controlling the clock and limiting Utah State to 44 yards
Fresno State's run-heavy offense produced 193 yards rushing,
including 97 for Wendell Mathis and 63 for Bryson Sumlin. Both also
ran for second-half scores.
Pinegar was 10-of-17 for 138 yards, improving to 28-9 in his
career as a starter. The senior also ran for a touchdown, a 1-yard
plunge that put the Bulldogs ahead 46-7 with 15 seconds left in the
Fernandez finished with five catches for 56 yards, including
touchdowns of 7 and 12 yards.
Utah State (2-3, 1-2) dropped its eighth straight road game in
the Aggies' first visit to Bulldog Stadium as a WAC member.
Leon Jackson was 12-of-19 for 128 yards, but his first-quarter
fumble and interception both resulted in Fresno State touchdowns.
The Aggies added two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including Kevin
Robinson's 27-yard pass from backup quarterback Jerod Walker.
Robinson, who attended high school in Fresno, finished with four
catches for 99 yards.
Fresno State led 23-7 at halftime thanks to three Utah State
turnovers and an offense that held the ball for nearly 19 minutes.
The Bulldogs got their first touchdown after Jackson fumbled at
his own 1. The second came following Richard Marshall's
interception at the Aggies 35.
Clint Stitser kicked field goals of 26, 22 and 44 yards in the
first half for Fresno State.
Utah State led 7-0 after Terrance Washington intercepted
Pinegar's first pass of the game, leading to 1-yard TD run by Chris
Forbes, who later went to a hospital for X-rays on his neck.
Fresno State responded with fullback Roshon Vercher's 1-yard TD
run and Pinegar's 7-yard scoring pass to Fernandez with 45 seconds
left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs held the ball for nearly 19 minutes in the first
half, then put the game away by outscoring the Aggies 23-0 in the
third quarter, including a safety from a bad snap that sailed over
punter Justin Hamblin's head and through the end zone.
The Bulldogs entered the game averaging 42.5 points per game,
which ranked seventh in the nation. The announced crowd of 42,701
was Fresno State's first sellout of the season.