Waller helps No. 15 Fresno St. beat SDSU in OT
SAN DIEGO (AP)
Fresno State knows it isn't easy to go undefeated.
The 15th-ranked Bulldogs won by seven points or fewer for the fourth time this season, outlasting San Diego State 35-28 in overtime on Saturday night.
''If you were to tell me we would come out score and 60 points, then that is easy like a video game,'' Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr said. ''But nothing is promised on a football field. I guess this makes for good memories and for a good talk 20 years down the road.''
Marteze Waller's 1-yard touchdown run on Fresno State's first possession in overtime lifted the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 Mountain West).
Earlier this year the Bulldogs defeated Rutgers 52-51 in overtime and edged Boise State 41-40.
''You couldn't write this in a script any better,'' said Marcel Jensen, who blocked the potential game-winning field goal as time expired in regulation. ''We've won three games now down to the wire. That locker room is full of competitors and when it is crunch time, we are going to compete.
Fresno State also held on for a 42-37 win at Hawaii last month after the Bulldogs led by 39.
Fresno State, which kept its BCS bowl hopes alive, held on for the win when San Diego State quarterback Quinn Kaehler's fourth-down pass to Dylan Denso was knocked away by Derron Smith.
Carr finished 35 of 57 for 298 yards passing and two touchdowns - both in the second half. The Bulldogs were stymied in part to the various blitzes the Aztecs were employing.
''It was a wake-up call for us,'' Carr said. ''Once we got the stunts and coverages down in second half, we could get more into a rhythm.
The Aztecs (3-4, 2-1) trailed 28-14 in the fourth quarter before Aaron Boesch scored on a 1-yard run with 9:37 to go. Tim Vizzi recovered the ensuing onside kick and Chad Young's 27-yard scoring run tied it at 28-all with 7 minutes remaining.
The Aztecs quickly got the ball back when Fresno State went three-and-out. SDSU converted at the Fresno State 27-yard line on fourth down with 47 seconds left on Adam Muema's three-yard run. The Aztecs advanced the ball to the 20 before Seamus McMorrow came on for the potential game-winning kick.
McMorrow, who earlier missed from 40 yards, had his 37-yard field-goal attempt blocked by Jensen as time expired in regulation.
''You expect guys that practice all day long every day of the week, you expect them to make a 30-some yard field goal,'' Aztecs coach Rocky Long said. ''The kick was low. It shouldn't have been blocked if he had gotten the ball up.''
Long didn't make his players available for comment.
The Bulldogs earlier extended their lead with a key defensive play. With San Diego State trailing 21-14, Kaehler completed a pass to Ezell Ruffin to the Fresno State 21-yard line. However, Jonathan Norton forced a fumble and Ejiro Ederaine returned it 78 yards to extend the lead to 14 points with about 10 minutes to go.
The touchdown stood after a long review.
''I was pretty certain I got it out but wasn't sure if he called it down,'' Ederaine said. ''When I picked it up, I looked at the side official and he threw down the beanie and I thought he was blowing the whistle. But I was showing him the ball and he was just looking at me and it was kind of akward and my teammates were saying, `Go, go, go.' So I started running.''
Long wasn't sure the call was correct.
''If you stand on the sidelines you know the officials don't blow the whistle a lot of times,'' he said. ''Everybody just assumes the play is over and they do that on purpose. They don't blow the whistle a lot of times and the ball is still counted as dead. I think everybody out there thought it was a dead ball, including them.''
Ruffin finished with 10 catches for 181 yards.
Carr got off to a slow start, missing 11 of his first 15 pass attempts. Then, as he lined up split to the left side as wide receiver Isaiah Burse took a direct snap and scored on a 10-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 8:40 to go in the first quarter.
Muema scored twice to put the Aztecs ahead. His 10-yard TD run tied the score with 8:43 remaining in the second quarter, and the go-ahead score came on a 1-yard run with 6 1/2 minutes to go in the third.
Davante Adams tied the score on an 11-yard scoring reception about 4 minutes later. His 16-yard reception put the Bulldogs ahead 21-14 with 12 1/2 minutes left in the fourth.
Carr struggled in the first half, completing 15 of 30 passes for 98 yards and no touchdowns. Thanks to his rough half, San Diego State outgained Fresno State over the first 30 minutes, 233-111. The Aztecs had more yards rushing (50-13), yards passing (183-98) and first downs (11-8).
Kaehler wasn't much better, completing just 12 of his 24 pass attempts. He finished 21 for 39 for 337 yards and no TDs.