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Bulldogs Take Care of Business, Prepare for Big One vs. UCLA



Jake Haener threw four TD passes in a 63-10 home victory over Cal Poly on Saturday. (GV Wire/Randy Reed)
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A disappointing loss behind them, the Fresno State Bulldogs have an opportunity to make a huge statement this Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

Playing at home, Fresno State did exactly what it was supposed to do, blasting Cal Poly, 63-10, as senior quarterback Jake Haener threw four touchdown passes.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ narrow 31-24 loss at Oregon the second week of the season took on added significance when the 12th-ranked Ducks stunned No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 on the Buckeyes’ home turf.

Bulldogs Have Three Straight Wins Against UCLA

Now, it’s on to Pasadena for the Bulldogs, who will face 13th-ranked UCLA (2-0) in a non-conference matchup. The Bruins beat Hawaii, 44-10, in their season opener and defeated then-No. 16 LSU, 38-27. UCLA had last Saturday off.

After taking care of Cal Poly to improve to 2-1, the Bulldogs instantly began focusing on the Bruins.

“Next week, I want to challenge the guys to start faster. We need to put the ball in the end zone on the first or second possession. When we give the ball over to the other team, we are just giving them more chances. I want to see us start faster.. … we need to come out and be physical,” Haener said.

And, senior defensive tackle Kevin Atkins said that the Bulldogs continue to embrace the toughness emphasized by former coach Pat Hill.

“We are showing that we are able to compete with anyone. Just like coach Pat Hill says, ‘Any time, any place, anywhere.’ ”

The Mountain West Bulldogs and Pac-12 Bruins have met seven times since 1987. UCLA won the first four, but Fresno State has taken the last three, including a 38-14 victory over Chip Kelly’s Bruins in 2018.

Fresno State tailback Ronnie Rivers (20) is the nation’s active career touchdown leader with 46. (GV Wire/Randy Reed)

Bulldogs Keep Throttle Down vs. Mustangs

Haener was 17-of-22 passing for 380 yards against the Mustangs, and two of his scoring throws were over 50 yards. He added touchdown runs of 2 yards and 1 yard.

Josh Kelly made three receptions for 128 yards with two touchdowns for Fresno State. Zane Pope, Jalen Cropper, and Keric Wheatfall also made TD catches.

Ronnie Rivers, the nation’s active leader in career touchdowns with 46, had a 6-yard touchdown run for Fresno State early in the third quarter.

“It was a great performance by our team all around, defense continues to be stingy, love the way they just play consistently through the course of the game,” said Bulldogs coach Kalen DeBoer.

How to Buy Tickets for UCLA Matchup

Tickets for the UCLA game can be purchased at this link.

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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