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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Fresno State football heads to San Diego for final conference game

Bulldog+defensive+back+Camryn+Bracha+runs+on+the+field+at+Valley+Childrens+Stadium+against+New+Mexico+on+Nov.+18.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Bulldog defensive back Camryn Bracha runs on the field at Valley Children’s Stadium against New Mexico on Nov. 18.

Fresno State Football will travel to Southern California this Saturday, Nov. 25, to face off against Mountain West opponent and rival San Diego State for the battle of the Old Oil Can Trophy

Both teams are coming off of losing streaks. Fresno State lost its last two games to San Jose State and New Mexico. San Diego State has lost its last four games to The University of Nevada, Utah State University, Colorado State University and San Jose State University

San Diego State enters the matchup ranked last in the Mountain West Conference with a 1-6 conference record and 3-8 overall record. Fresno State ranks sixth with a 4-3 conference record and an 8-3 overall record. Both teams are out of contention for a Mountain West title. 

San Diego State is ineligible for a bowl game this postseason due to its 3-8 record. Fresno State is playing with a hope of a better bowl game bid in the postseason. 

Saturday night’s game will be the final game for SDSU’s Head Coach Brady Hoke after he announced his retirement on Nov. 13. Hoke has been the head coach of three different programs throughout his coaching career: at his alma mater Ball State University (2003–08), The University of Michigan (2011–14) and the Aztecs (2009–10, 2020–23). Hoke has a 104–90 (.536) career record.

San Diego State’s season is practically over, which can be a problem for Fresno State. The Aztecs are going to try their hardest to win Hoke’s last game and take back the Oil Can Trophy to end their season on a high note. 

Fresno State’s defense is looking to improve after allowing New Mexico to rush for over 200 yards in last week’s loss

Fresno State enters with the fifth ranked defense in the Mountain West, allowing an average of 382.4 total yards per game, 219.5 passing yards per game, 162.9 rushing yards per game and 23.8 points per game (PPG) 

Fresno State’s defense entered the year with a goal of forcing 25 turnovers this season, which is still a goal within reach. The ‘Dogs currently have forced 22 turnovers this season, 16 interceptions and six fumble recoveries. They need three more turnovers in the next two games to achieve their season goal. 

San Diego is ranked 11th in defense in the Mountain West, allowing 27.5 PPG, 245.8 passing yards per game, 167.1 rushing yards per game and a total 412.9 yards of total offensive yards per game. 

On the other hand, the ‘Dogs offense is ranked seventh in the conference, averaging 31.1 PPG, 281 passing yards per game and 100 rushing yards per game. The Aztecs’ offense rank is tenth, averaging 19.4 PPG, 170 passing yards per game and 147 rushing yards per game according to ESPN.com 

The offense will also look to have quarterback Mikey Keene back in the starting lineup. Keene was unable to start last week because he was in concussion protocol all week, but was ultimately cleared to play. Backup QB Logan Fife started the game against New Mexico, but was benched in the 4th quarter for Keene. Keene leads the ‘Dogs offense with 2,406 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 66.9% completion percentage. 

SDSU’s offense is led by QB Jalen Mayden, who has thrown for 1,842 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions thus far. Mayden has a 63.2% completion percentage with 182 compilations on 288 passing attempts this season. Mayden is also the Aztecs’ leading rusher with 432 rushing yards on 114 attempts, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. 

Fresno State is looking to have a third-straight 10-win season for the first time in program history. Fresno State still needs to win this weekend against SDSU and have a bowl game victory in order to make this goal possible. 

The over/under for the matchup is 46.5. Fresno State enters as a -5.5 point favorite. 

The game will be televised on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. 

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