Ronnie Rivers is back at practice and expected to play Saturday against Boise State before a sellout crowd at Bulldog Stadium.
“When Bulldog stadium is full, I promise you, a full house at the Super Bowl doesn’t compare.” — former Bulldog and Super Bowl champion David Carr
The leading rusher for Fresno State has not played since his 64-yard TD run versus Nevada, leaving with a foot injury. Despite his return, his foot was still taped up.
In his place, running back Jordan Mims has had the games of his life, rushing for 134 and 186 yards the last two weeks. Both were career highs for the senior and earned him consecutive Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors.
So, who will start on Saturday?
Who cares, said head coach Kalen DeBoer.
“I don’t even know if they really care because it’s not about starting anymore. It’s about who’s out there when it matters most. And I think both of them care so much about each other. I don’t think it’s even about who starts,” DeBoer said.
Who Will Get the Ball?
DeBoer said the game situation will dictate who gets used more.
“Hopefully that’s what we can do is get both of them their chances and their opportunities and come off the sideline, get a breather in the next guy’s back out there. I don’t think either one of them would care if one guy had one more touch or three more touches,” DeBoer said.
Both running backs agreed.
“It hasn’t been that talk yet, but you know, we complement each other well and once he’s in, he’s going to do his thing. And once I’m in, I’m going to do mine,” Mims said. “As long as we get the job done with a win, nobody can be mad.”
Rivers said he is concentrating on his health.
“I’m just focused on getting back out there on Saturday and making sure that I’ll be good to go,” Rivers said.
Rivers leads the team in overall rushing yards with 573. Mims has 504 yards and a better average at 6.1 yards per carry.
Cheering for Each Other
“We have our differences how we run the ball, but we complement each other pretty well,” Mims said. “It just showed in the past few years. So I think we’re excited to take on a challenge.”
Rivers praised his teammate.
“He’s a great dude. We came in freshman year and we have this great competitive spirit between each other. I knew he was meant for these moments. He’s always in the bill for this, and I’m happy to see him succeed,” Rivers said.
“Just us being here over the time, creating that relationship, we feed off each other and we want the best for each other. So that’s really that,” Mims said.
First Sellout in Seven Years
The Bulldogs and Broncos resume their rivalry, meeting for the first time since the 2018 MWC title game — won by the Bulldogs.
Fresno State announced a sell-out for Saturday. It will be the first full house since 2014 versus Nebraska.
— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) November 4, 2021
DeBoer said a full stadium means a loud stadium, and a benefit for the home team.
“It forces the opponent in that week of preparation to have play crowd noise when their offense is on the field. And I’m just telling you from experience, every rep that you take with crowd noise isn’t as good of a rep in practice as when it’s nice and clean and you’re not having to worry about that. You’re just focused on execution,” DeBoer said.
Nothing Better Than Playing at a Full Bulldog Stadium
Former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion David Carr says that a full house at Bulldog Stadium gives players the feeling they’re “already up by two scores” — especially if they were raised in the Valley.
“Walking out of the locker room, down the sidewalk north of the Red Lot as fans start to see the team and the buzz starts is like the calm before the storm,” Carr said. “You give some high fives, you see kids in Bulldog gear with their families and remember what it was like when you were that child.
“As you turn the corner into the main gate that you jumped over when it was locked in the summer when you were young, you are greeted with the most awesome sight a Valley kid could ever imagine: friends and family line the ramp and top landing area as the buzz turns into a slightly louder energy that is just a precursor of what’s to come.
“This opponent doesn’t know what they are in for because these aren’t just fans. These are parents, friends, cousins, and teachers all vital in their role of the player that’s on the field and that’s what makes it so special. It’s family, it’s community.
“When Bulldog stadium is full, I promise you, a full house at the Super Bowl doesn’t compare.”
Scouting the Broncos
The Broncos’ 4-4 record doesn’t matter, said DeBoer, whose 25th-ranked Bulldogs are 7-2 overall.
“We already know that you throw the records out the door for this game, no matter what,” DeBoer said. “We expect everything and anything coming at us on Saturday.”
DeBoer said the Broncos are the most balanced team they’ve faced this season.
“Balance is the ability to (pass and run), not what the stat sheet shows,” DeBoer said.
Fresno State will be keeping their eyes on Broncos receiver Khalil Shakir. He leads the team with 49 catches for 777 yards.
“You have to know where he’s at, 24/7,” Bulldogs defensive coordinator William Inge said.