Fresno State Bulldogs football: Wikis

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Fresno State Bulldogs football
Fresnostatelogo.png
First season 1921
Athletic director Thomas Boeh
Head coach Pat Hill
13th year, 100–66  (.602)
Home stadium Bulldog Stadium
Field Jim Sweeney Field
Year built 1980
Stadium capacity 41,031
Stadium surface natural grass
Location Fresno, California
Conference WAC
Past conferences California Coast Conference (1922–1924)
Northern California Athletic Conference (1925–1940)
California Collegiate Athletic Association (1939–1950, 1953–1968)
Big West Conference (1969–1991)
All-time record 546–369–28 (.594)
Postseason bowl record 10–9
Claimed national titles 0
Conference titles 23
Colors Cardinal red and Blue            
Fight song Fight Varsity
Troopers Battle Hymn
Mascot Timeout
Marching band Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band
Outfitter Nike
Rivals Hawaiʻi Warriors
Boise State Broncos
San Jose State Spartans
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Website GoBulldogs.com

The Fresno State Bulldogs football team represents California State University, Fresno and the California Central Valley, especially the San Joaquin Valley, in NCAA Division I FBS college football. The Bulldogs proudly display a green “V” on their helmets, uniforms, and on the field symbolizing the agricultural valley from which they draw their support. The current head coach is Pat Hill, who began his tenure in 1997.

Contents

History

Football was first played on the Fresno campus in 1921, and for its first year it played as an independent. The Bulldogs joined the California Coast Conference which included several regional opponents the next year, and moved to the Northern California Athletic Conference of which it was among the charter schools in 1925. These early years laid the foundations of rivalries to come, with games against San Jose State and Pacific in the first year, and adding UC Davis, Nevada, and San Diego State in the following years of NCAC play. The NCAA began classifying schools into University Division and College Division groups in 1937, and the Bulldogs, along with the other major college schools in the conference, broke off into the California Collegiate Athletic Association in 1939, a conference it remained in until joining the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, later known as the Big West Conference, in 1969. Notable coaches during this period include Cecil Coleman, who during his five years at Fresno State had a .76 winning percentage, and took the 1961 team to an undefeated season caped by a 36-6 Mercy Bowl victory over Bowling Green. Fresno State football experienced a stretch of seasons hovering around the .500 mark during the later 1960s and 70s. Yet despite also having a number of winning seasons, including two where the Bulldogs went undefeated, they only participated in two university division bowl games before the 1980s.

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The Sweeney era

In 1976, Jim Sweeney took over a Bulldog squad that had had 8 winning seasons since its last bowl bid, and promptly took the 1977 squad to a 9-2 record in his second year as head coach. The Sweeney era bristled with confidence as the Bulldogs became, along with rival San Jose State, the class of the Big West, earning postseason bowl berths four times in the 1980s. Sweeney’s 1985 squad is particularly memorable for Bulldog fans, as the team finished as the only unbeaten Division I-A team in the country, ranked 16th in the coaches poll. The 1985 squad did not, however, finish untied, after a 24-24 tie at home against the Rainbow clad Warriors of Hawaii. The lone blemish to a perfect season, coupled with the difficulty either team has had in winning in the other’s home stadium, has led the Warriors and Bulldogs to contend for one of the WAC’s fiercest rivalries.

The face of Fresno State football changed with the construction of a university football stadium for the team for the 1980 season. Before then, the Bulldogs played their home games in Fresno City College’s Ratcliffe Stadium, which seated approximately 13,000 fans. The construction of a modern new stadium which held over 30,000 in attendance was an outstanding improvement for the Bulldogs, who saw drastic increases in attendance and alumni support. The new stadium brought with it a renewed success for the football team, as they enjoyed four Big West championships in the new stadium which took them to five California Bowl appearances against opponents from the Mid-American Conference. During the Sweeney era, the Bulldogs posted nine consecutive winning seasons, a run which included five double-digit win seasons. 1994, however, marked the beginning of three consecutive losing seasons which ended the Sweeney era and brought in Pat Hill, who had worked both in the NFL and colleges for the past several decades.

The Hill era

Fresno State began a renaissance under Hill, who continued the advances the program had made during the Sweeney era. Noted for playing particularly difficult non-conference schedules, Hill’s teams routinely play elite, highly-ranked teams. The Bulldogs have also been the only non-BCS school to record three consecutive bowl victories over schools from BCS conferences.

In 2001, the Bulldogs, under Hill and quarterback David Carr, began their season with several remarkable upsets of ranked teams. The Bulldogs opened the season in Boulder against the Colorado Buffaloes, leaving with a 24-22 win over the eventual Big 12 champions. The next game of the 2001 season was at home against the Oregon State Beavers, the team that Sports Illustrated had picked as its preseason #1. In an electric game at Bulldog Stadium, the Bulldogs outplayed the Beavers in a 44-24 rout. Fresno State then headed to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers, winners of the Sun Bowl over UCLA the previous year. The Bulldogs also topped the Badgers by a score of 32-20. These victories, followed by wins over Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, and Colorado State led the Bulldogs to a ranking of #8 in the polls, the highest for a mid-major team since BYU won the national championship in 1984, and earned the Bulldogs a degree of prestige not usually afforded a mid-major program. This changed abruptly, however, when the Boise State Broncos upset the Bulldogs in Fresno to smash the Bulldogs’ hopes of playing in a BCS bowl. The defeat led the team instead the Silicon Valley Classic against Michigan State, a game which was taken by the Spartans by a score of 44-35. Nonetheless, the impressive performances of the regular season earned Fresno State its first number one overall NFL draft choice in David Carr, picked first by the expansion Houston Texans.

The 2002 squad, which had difficulty opening the season with a 1-3 record, finished strong to finish the regular season 8-5 and earning another bid to the Silicon Valley Classic against Georgia Tech. This resulted in a win for the Bulldogs, who beat the Yellow Jackets 30-21. The 2003 squad earned a spot in the Silicon Valley Classic for the third year in a row, this time facing UCLA in San Jose. The Bulldogs defeated the Bruins 17-9.

Spring 2007 Scrimmage in Visalia

The 2004 season began for the Bulldogs much as the 2001 season had, with surprising upsets over BCS opponents in their home stadiums. The Bulldogs opened in Seattle against the Washington Huskies, a team with high expectations in its second year with head coach Keith Gilbertson. The Bulldogs came away with the win by a score of 35-16. The second game was against the Big 12 champions, the Kansas State Wildcats, who had beaten the #1 ranked Oklahoma Sooners to finish the previous year. The Bulldogs walked out of Manhattan with an unexpected 45-21 win, again earning the squad national attention and a ranking in the polls. Again, similarly to the 2001 season, the Bulldogs unexpectedly lost to Louisiana Tech, followed by two more losses, including to newly cemented rival Boise State. However, the Bulldogs found their redemptive qualities pervading in five straight wins by 40 or more points, including a 70-14 home rout over rival Hawaiʻi, to earn a bid to the MPC Computers Bowl. In the MPC Bowl, the Bulldogs won their third straight bowl victory against a BCS conference team, beating the Virginia Cavaliers 37-34 in overtime.

The Bulldogs block a field goal against the Texas A&M Aggies in a 2007 trip to College Station, Texas

The 2005 season began with heady expectations which the Bulldogs largely lived up to for much of the season. The 2005 squad, after an early 3-point loss to Oregon in Eugene, rallied to win seven straight, including the first win at Hawaiʻi since 1994, and a redemptive home victory over Boise State, traveled to the Los Angeles Coliseum to face the #1 ranked USC Trojans, bringing with them an 8-1 record, a ranking of #16, and senior leadership and depth at key positions. The match up against USC turned out to be one for the ages as Fresno State quarterback Paul Pinegar continually drew against USC quarterback Matt Leinart, and Fresno State running backs Wendel Mathis and Bryson Sumlin exchanged touchdown runs with eventual Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. Despite taking a halftime lead and trading scores with the Trojans all night, at the end of regulation the Bulldogs trailed by a score of 42-50. The loss the Trojans changed the character of the team, who proceeded to lose their next four games, including the Liberty Bowl against Tulsa.

The 2006 squad, weakened by key senior losses at quarterback, running back and on the defense, struggled with the schedule, opening the year 1-7 before winning three straight, only to close the season with the first loss to San Jose State since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

After a disappointing season in 2006, the 2007 Fresno State Bulldogs bounced back, finishing 9-4. They started strong against a weak Sacramento State team before losing a close game at Texas A&M in triple overtime. After another loss to Oregon, they won 8 of their final 10 games, including a victory over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl.

On September 1, 2008, the Bulldogs opened their season with a 24-7 victory over Rutgers in a non-conference game.

Head coaching history

Coach Tenure Win Loss Tie Pct.
Arthur Jones 1921-1928 36 26 7 .572
Stanley E. Borleske 1929-1932 16 18 2 .472
Leo F. “Deed” Harris 1933-35 18 9 1 .661
Jimmy Bradshaw 1936-46 59 18 2 .750
Earl Wight 1944 0 6 0 .000
Alvin Pierson 1945-1949 7 14 2 .348
Ken Gleason 1947-1949 6 12 3 .357
Duke Jacobs 1950-1951 7 11 1 .395
Clark Van Galder 1952-1958 46 22 2 .671
Cecil Coleman 1959-1963 38 12 0 .760
Phil Krueger 1964-1965 10 10 0 .500
Darryl D. Rogers 1966-1972 42 32 1 .572
J.R. Boone 1973-1975 10 25 0 .286
Bob Padilla 1978-1979 7 15 0 .318
Jim Sweeney 1976-1977,1980-1996 143 75 3 .654
Pat Hill 1997-Current 100 65 0 .606

Bowl history

NFL players

Current

Former

References

External links


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