Fresno State and UNLV entered Saturday’s game each at 2-0 in conference play, but the game went as expected with the Bulldogs coming away with a convincing win.
Fresno State saw man coverage across the board for the first time this season, and the Bulldogs looked to take advantage early and often. On the game’s first play, receiver Davante Adams beat his man on a vertical streak in one-on-one coverage as he and Derek Carr connected on a 75 yard touchdown pass. Adams’ big day did not stop there. The sophomore wide receiver totaled 8 receptions, 221 yards and tied a school record with 4 touchdown receptions.
"Teams are not double covering him,” quarterback Derek Carr said of Adams. “When they do we get to Burse and the other guys. Our mindset is if anyone is going to play us man we treat it like they are disrespecting us. Davante loves one on one coverage, so hopefully we continue to see it."
It was Adams’ second big game in a row, coming off a 16 reception, 185 yard, 3 touchdown performance against Idaho.
The Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their first four possessions of the game and their defense allowed just one big play, a 73 yard touchdown run, leading to a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter.
A series of plays at the end of the second quarter opened the door for UNLV to get back in the game. A trick play by the Bulldogs resulted in receiver Isaiah Burse throwing an interception. UNLV took advantage of the mistake and cut the lead to 14 points with a 13 yard touchdown pass from Caleb Herring to Marcus Sullivan with just over 1 minute remaining in the half. Fresno State drove quickly into the red zone, but failed to come away with any points due to poor time management.
“We got into a little bit of a lull in the second quarter and got a little sloppy, but you got to give UNLV some credit,” Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “They stiffened up when we tried to land some knockout punches which is a tribute to them.”
Down by 14 points, UNLV opened the first drive of the second half in Bulldog territory at the 45 yard line. The Bulldogs prevented UNLV from cutting the lead to one possession by forcing a three and out. The Rebels’ opening shut immediately as Derek Carr led the offense 84 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown, pushing the lead back to three possessions as the Bulldogs cruised the rest of the way to their sixth straight win.
The Bulldogs didn’t force a turnover for the first time in the Tim DeRuyter era, but the Bulldogs held a strong UNLV offense to just 293 yards. The Rebels had just one sustained drive that resulted in points. Fresno State kept the pressure coming with blitzes from the secondary as safeties Charles Washington and Derron Smith each had a sack. UNLV had just five second half possessions, punting three times and turning over on downs twice in difficult fourth down situations.
Fresno State improves to 6-0 on the season and next plays at San Diego State on October 26 at 7:30 pm PST.