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Column: Is a Mountain West title still feasible for the ‘Dogs?

Quarterback+Logan+Fife+throws+the+ball+against+the+Spartans+at+the+CEFCU+Stadium+on+Nov.+11.+
Carlos Rene Castro/The Collegian
Quarterback Logan Fife throws the ball against the Spartans at the CEFCU Stadium on Nov. 11.

It was a tough day in San Jose as the Fresno State football team took a massive loss against the Spartans, giving them an 8-2 record and losing the Battle of the Valley trophy. 

Coming into the game, Fresno State was the underdog. San Jose State was the one-point favorite to win, although Fresno State was coming off of a trophy win and a coaches poll ranking. 

Now, the question: Is a Mountain West title still feasible for the ‘Dogs? 

 The race to the Mountain West Championship just got much more complicated with lots of ties in the conference standings and only two more weeks of conference games to play. 

Air Force and the University of Las Vegas, Nevada are tied in first place with a 5-1 conference record. Fresno State, Boise State and San Jose State are tied for second place with a 4-2 record. 

There are a couple of different potential scenarios that can play out in order for Fresno State to get to the championship.

One of those scenarios is that Fresno State, Boise State and UNLV win both of their final games. Fresno State would have to beat New Mexico and San Diego State; Boise State would have to beat Utah State and Air Force; and UNLV would have to beat Air Force and San Jose State. 

Another way is that, again, the ‘Dogs win the next two games, and UNLV and San Jose State each lose one game, which would put Fresno State, UNLV and Boise as the 2-loss teams. 

Bulldog Phoenix Jackson tackles a Spartan player. (Carlos Rene Castro/The Collegian)

I think that the Bulldogs shouldn’t have lost that badly against the Spartans, but injuries, lack of coverage and a very good San Jose State team were all contributors to the 42-18 loss. 

Two of those injuries happened to quarterback Mikey Keene and left tackle Jacob Spomer. 

Keene took a while to get up after a hard hit from a scramble and then stood on the sideline for the rest of the half. Keene returned after the half out of his uniform and didn’t go back in, which opted Logan Fife to take on the spot. 

On one pass, Fife intended to get the ball to Josiah Freeman, but it instead made its way to Spartan Michael Dansby, who returned it all the way home for 98 yards and a touchdown.   

That was not a pretty look at all and dug a bigger hole for Fresno State to get out of. 

Being prepared to go in at any time is crucial in the job of a backup quarterback, and I think Fife adapted well but could’ve made better choices. 

Yet, not all the blame can be put on Fife. After Spomer’s injury, the offensive line allowed Fife to get sacked five times. That is five too many in just one half. 

I think that is something that definitely could’ve been adjusted during the game and had no reason to go on for that long. 

So, why wasn’t that adjusted? That’s only something the coaching staff can explain. 

The other side of the ball was also struggling as the Bulldog defense gave up 313 rushing yards. For comparison, the Spartans only gave up 83 rushing yards. 

Those numbers look absolutely ridiculous next to each other. 

Erik Brooks holds the ball on the field after a play. (Carlos Rene Castro/The Collegian)

Credit is given where credit is due and Head Coach Jeff Tedford shared some of those remarks in the post game conference. 

“They [San Jose State] were prepared. They did a great job in all phases of the game. It wasn’t our night. So, now it’s time to go back to work,” Tedford said. 

I think Corderio did a phenomenal job against the ‘Dogs. He effectively moved the ball down and spread out the field by rotating his passes to multiple players. He’s an experienced quarterback, now in his sixth collegiate season, and it definitely showed up next to Fresno State’s younger quarterbacks. 

Injuries are always unpredictable but are something that has to be adjusted to no matter what, especially this late into conference play. 

There are multiple ways the season’s end can play out. What is for sure is that Fresno State is definitely not out of the race. It just got much more crazy. 

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