Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Sports - Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada

nuba), De­jonte O’Neal (Fresno), Justin Allen (Los An­ge­les), Brian Burt (East We­natchee, Wash.), Markus Boyer (Hunt­ing­ton Beach), Chris­tian Cronk (Ocean­side), Lo­gan Hughes (Hen­der­son, Nev.) Micah St. An­drew (Rialto), Gun­ner Jav­er­nick (Canon City, Colo.), Delvon Har­d­away (Los An­ge­les), An­thony Grayson (Red­lands), Nanami Parker (Ro­seville), David Tangipa (Sacra­mento), Kyle Rid­der­ing (Fresno).

De­fense: Emeka Ndoh (Han­ford), Tank Kelly (Galena Park, Texas), James Bai­ley (Austin, Texas), Ke­somi Mafi (Oak­land), Trent Soecht­ing (Katy, Texas), Sher­man Cole­man Jr. (Hous­ton) Matt Boateng (Toronto), Ge­orge Hel­muth (Fresno), Maa­maloa Mafi (Oak­land), Pa­trick Belony (North Mi­ami Beach, Fla.).

128 TO GO

Wide­out KeeSean John­son needs 128 re­ceiv­ing yards to pass Rod­ney Wright and then Char­lie Jones to be­come the pro­gram’s leader in ca­reer re­ceiv­ing yards.

The Top 5:

Char­lie Jones (199295) 3,344.

Rod­ney Wright (1998-2001) 3,274.

KeeSean John­son (2015-present) 3,217.

Da­vante Adams (2012-13) 3,030.

Brian Rober­son (1993-96) 2,956.

San Jose State has al­lowed a re­ceiver to gain more than 100 yards in just two of its past six games with Romeo Doubs (Ne­vada) catch­ing five passes for 105 yards and Tyleek Collins (UNLV) catch­ing nine for 170 yards and four touch­downs.

But that might not be as solid a streak as it sounds.

In the four games the Spar­tans did not al­low a wide­out 100 or more yards, it played Army, which threw the ball just five times; San Diego State, which threw the ball 11 times; and Wyoming,

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

which threw the ball eight times. They also played Utah State, which did not have a wide­out with 100 or more re­ceiv­ing yards, but it did have a run­ning back, Dar­win Thomp­son, who had four re­cep­tions for 115 yards and two touch­downs.


So, the Spar­tans have played three teams that have thrown the foot­ball at them 11 times or less and, in­cred­i­bly, they still are ranked last in the Moun­tain West in pass­ing de­fense.

San Jose State is al­low­ing an av­er­age of 280.9 pass­ing yards per game even with Army rack­ing up just 54 pass­ing yards, San Diego State 86 and Wyoming 51.

That means the other eight teams are av­er­ag­ing 362.4 pass­ing yards per game.


De­fen­sive tack­les Keiti Iakopo and Pa­trick Belony each played more than 30 snaps in the Bull­dogs’ vic­tory over San Diego State last week, which might not sound like a lot, but it was a good por­tion of the 48 plays that the Aztecs ran.

They could be in for an­other long — and pro­duc­tive — day against the Spar­tans be­cause of some ques­tions in the Fresno State de­fen­sive line group due to in­juries.

But they will be ready. “I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be,” Iakopo said. “They’re run heavy. It’s a good thing I like my job —

to stop the run. That was fun.”


There were 36,123 at Bull­dog Sta­dium last week for a 23-14 vic­tory over San Diego State and the crowd got loud, at times.

“I thought it was a great crowd,” Ted­ford said. “I thought they made it hard on the op­po­nent be­ing loud, and that’s what a home field ad­van­tage should be.”

The Aztecs were called for a false start twice, which is the most for a Fresno State op­po­nent play­ing at Bull­dog Sta­dium this sea­son.


Eleven of the Bull­dogs ● se­niors play­ing in their fi­nal game were signed in the past two sea­sons, which points to the ros­ter re­pair done by coach Jeff Ted­ford and the coach­ing staff.

San Jose State is 5-2 in ● its past seven games to end a reg­u­lar sea­son — and three of those wins have come against Fresno State: 27-24 at Fresno State in 2011; 62-52 in San Jose in 2013; and 16-13 in Fresno in 2016.

The Spar­tans are 0-12 ● on the road since that 2016 win at Bull­dog Sta­dium and have been outscored 41.5 to 15.3 in those games.

The Bull­dogs have

● scored 93 points off their 22 turnovers gained, just seven away from hit­ting 100 for the first time since 2012 when they scored 172 points off 35 turnovers.

The past five years: 61 points in 2017, 38 in 2016, 58 in 2015, 89 in 2014, 96 in 2013.

Fresno State has

● outscored its op­po­nents 133-21 in the third quar­ter of its games, it most points scored and fewest points al­lowed in any quar­ter. Its de­fense could face a chal­lenge from the Spar­tans — they have scored 93 points in the third quar­ter, more than dou­ble the first (43) and fourth (46) quar­ters.

The Bull­dogs’ vic­tory ● over San Diego State, which put them in the Moun­tain West cham­pi­onship game, will al­low John­son to set a con­fer­ence record for con­sec­u­tive games with at least one re­cep­tion.

He has a catch in 47 games in a row, the long­est streak in the na­tion and tied with Casey Flair (UNLV, 2005-08) and Jovon Bouknight (Wyoming, 2002-05) for sec­ond in MW his­tory. The record is 49 by Do­minic Rufran (Wyoming, 2011-14), and John­son has three games left.

Fresno State has nine ● play­ers with at least one in­ter­cep­tion this sea­son led by cor­ner­back Tank Kelly and safeties Juju Hughes and Mike Bell, who each have three. The Bull­dogs have 16 to­tal. That is the most play­ers with an in­ter­cep­tion since Fresno State had nine in 2004 who to­taled 16.

The Bull­dogs also had three play­ers with three in­ter­cep­tions that sea­son: James San­ders, Richard Mar­shall and Mar­cus McCauley.

Fi­nally, this, from

McMaryion, one of those se­niors who ar­rived in the Ted­ford era: “I’m def­i­nitely thank­ful for the ex­pe­ri­ence that I’ve had here. It’s above and be­yond any­thing I would have imag­ined be­fore I came here, from the com­mu­nity sup­port to the team­mates, to ev­ery­thing in between.”


Fresno State line­backer James Bai­ley dis­lodges UNLV’s Tim Holt (43) from the foot­ball in 2016.

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