PASADENA — A big Saturday of eight upsets by Group of Five schools over Power Five teams includes a Red Wave.
Fresno State, which brought a large group of fans from Northern California to the Rose Bowl, dominated UCLA 38-14.
Marcus McMaryion ran for four touchdowns and passed for another as the Bulldogs (2-1) snapped a 10-game losing streak against Power Five teams.
It is the Bulldogs’ ninth victory over a Pac-12 program since 2000. Three of those have come against the Bruins, who are 0-3 for the first time since 1971.
Most of the Red Wave huddled in the south corner of the stadium. The announced attendance was 60,867. Among those cheering on the Bulldogs: NBA star Paul George.
— Justin Hutson (@CoachJHut) September 16, 2018
While this week’s major storyline nationally will be about the little schools standing tall, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford was trying to play that down.
“I never get caught up on Group of Five or Power Five. Typically, we go into games thinking we have a chance to win every game no matter who we play,” Tedford said. “This is obviously a nice win for our program. UCLA has great tradition and highly-recruited players. I thought our guys came out with a real focus.”
Bulldogs Get 17 Points Off Turnovers
Fresno State, which came into the game leading the FBS in takeaways with eight, scored 17 points off four Bruins turnovers.
UCLA freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 10 of 24 for 151 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a team-high 49 yards rushing on eight carries.
“No one feels sorry for you,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “We knew this was a really good football team coming in. We knew that it’s one of the best teams in the Mountain West and we had to be prepared to play, and obviously they did a better job.”
The Bulldogs (2-1) scored on their first three drives to take a 16-0 lead. McMaryion opened the scoring with 10:03 remaining in the first quarter with a 1-yard bootleg off left end. A Kyle Riddering 10-yard pass from McMaryion late in the first quarter and an Asa Fuller 28-yard field goal extended Fresno State’s lead to 16-0 with 14:17 remaining in the second quarter.
After UCLA’s Odua Isibor recovered a McMaryion fumble at the Fresno State 43, the Bruins got on the scoreboard when Theo Howard hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson. UCLA got within 16-14 with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Bolu Olorunfunmi.
Three Straight Bulldog Scoring Drives
Fresno State blew a fourth-quarter lead last Saturday at Minnesota, but that didn’t happen against the Bruins. The Bulldogs put the game away with three straight drives that ended with McMaryion touchdown runs. The last two scores were set up after Jeff Allison picked off Thompson-Robinson both times.
“It would have been really easy for it to go the other way (after the fumbled punt) but we were able to respond,” Tedford said. “We got turnovers and put drives together.”
Tedford out-tricked Kelly on a 2-point conversion during the third quarter. Using the gun monster formation, with four players lined up on the far hash on both sides and three players in the center, backup QB Jorge Reyna threw a pass to tight end Gunner Javernick to give the Bulldogs a 24-14 lead.
“There are a few of those things we have that we don’t pull out very often, but we practice them all the time,” Tedford said. “Really those things are there when you need them and at that point we needed to get up by 10. I’m happy it worked out.”
Fresno State: Tedford gets his first win over Kelly in five attempts and improves to 2-4 in games at the Rose Bowl. The Bulldogs also have something that no other Group of Five team can claim — a three-game winning streak over UCLA.
“It’s got nothing to do with me. I wasn’t playing Chip Kelly,” Tedford said. “The losses have something to do with me, the wins don’t.”
UCLA: The young Bruins continue to sabotage themselves with penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 96 yards in Saturday’s loss.
“Tonight, specifically, the penalties really hurt us,” Kelly said. “Too many times where we were inflicting lost yardage on ourselves. Those are things we have to clean up.”
Fresno State: The Bulldogs have next week off before they host Toledo on Sept. 29.
UCLA: The Bruins have their bye week before traveling to Colorado on Sept. 28.