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Fresno State Football: ‘Dogs Top ACU 34-13 in Season Opener Print E-mail
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Written by Josh Mitchell - Fresno State Athletics   
Friday, 04 September 2015 13:09

GOBULLDOGS.COM – Led by sophomore quarterback Zack Greenlee and senior running back Marteze Waller who combined for 321 yards of offense, the Fresno State football team opened the 2015 season with a 34-13 win over Abilene Christian on Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium.


Greenlee finished the night with 156 yards passing and three touchdowns, while Waller had 22 carries for 154 yards, an average of seven yards per attempt.  “I’m really pleased with how we played today,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “Had a great crowd out there today, ton of energy in the stadium. It’s been so long since we’ve played in the stadium. It felt great to be back out there.


“Our young guys are talented. They’re going to make some mistakes, but I think you saw some of the explosive ability that a lot of those guys played with. I thought our quarterbacks played well, in particular Zack [Greenlee]. He’s made a ton of growth from a year ago. We saw that at practice but until you go out on a Thursday night or a Saturday and do it against somebody else you don’t really know. I thought he did a nice job of stepping up to the challenge and really doing a great job of leading our team.”


Fresno State came out fast after holding ACU to a three-and-out, taking just four plays to cover 63 yards before recording their first touchdown of the season. On his second attempt of the game, Waller found an opening outside, got block from his receivers and broke loose for a 36-yard gain. Two plays later, Greenlee slipped away from an on-rusher, rolled to his right and lobbed a pass to Jamire Jordan along the sideline at the two. Jordan was able to tip-toe along the sideline and into the end zone for his first career catch and touchdown.


On their ensuing possession, the Bulldogs were pinned inside their 10-yard line led to a punt that gave the Wildcats the ball at the FS 49-yard line. Abilene Christian used an eight-play drive to tie the game as Sims punched in the ball from one-yard out.


On the following drive, Fresno State put together a 13-play drive, three shy of its longest from the 2014 season. The Bulldogs steadily moved the ball down the field before Greenlee dropped back and rifled a pass over the defensive back to Josiah Blandin. The junior college transfer pulled in the reception for his first career catch before crossing the goal line for his first career touchdown. The wide receiver finished the night as the Bulldogs leading receiver with 71 yards on four completions.


The shift in momentum continued as the Bulldog defense took the field. After two short runs from Sims, Sophomore linebacker Tobenna Okeke came up with a sack of Parker McKenzie to force ACU to punt.


Chason Virgil was then inserted into the lineup. The true freshman went 3-of-4 on the first drive of his career, completing a 21-yard pass on third-and-six to Blandin keep the drive alive. Virgil ended the drive with a four-yard touchdown to Chad Olsen to give the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead.


With the Wildcats driving early in the second half, and facing a second-and-10 from the Fresno State 24-yard line, sophomore linebacker Brandon Hughes pulled down McKenzie for a sack for a loss of seven yards. ACU only managed a four yards on the following play, setting up a fourth-and-13 which they were unable to convert.


After the ‘Dogs were unable to capitalize on a 38-yard run, senior defensive end Claudell Louis put heavy pressure on McKenzie on the Wildcats’ first play of the next possession, forcing an errant throw that Jeff Camilli made a diving catch on. It was the junior linebacker’s first career interception.


“Defensively, I was really impressed with how physical our defense played,” DeRuyter added. “We limited them. We basically took the run away from them. I thought our defensive backs did a terrific job being physical. It helped because we had a good rush up front. Their quarterback is a good player. He threw for 3,000 yards a year ago. He came back this year with a lot of confidence. I’m really pleased with our overall effort.”


Fresno State turned the interception into points with a 40-yard field goal from Kody Kroening to give the Bulldogs a 24-7 lead. Senior outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine ended ACU’s next possession with a sack to force another Abilene Christian three-and-out. Waller rushed five consecutive times on the on the ‘Dogs next drive before Greenlee found Olsen for a 31-yard touchdown pass, Olsen’s second touchdown grab of the night.


Jimmy Camacho added a 36-yard field goal with 7:02 remaining to give the ‘Dogs a 34-7 advantage. Abilene Christian scored with time expiring in the Dallas Sealey threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Byron Proctor to make the final score 34-13.


The Bulldogs will head to Oxford, Miss., on Sept. 12 to face No. 17 Ole Miss. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m., PT.


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