Paul Stone Sports College Play

Fresno State-Houston Under 49 

Eight games into last season’s disastrous 1-11 showing far removed from the glory days of former boss Pat Hill, the Fresno State Bulldogs gave Tim DeRuyter his walking papers. Summoned to the Central Valley was former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford.

In one of the top coaching jobs in college football in 2017, Tedford paid immediate dividends, leading the Bulldogs to nine wins; an appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game; and a trip to the Hawaii Bowl. Fresno’s calling card was clearly its defense which held nine of its final 10 opponents to 21 points or less. Opponents averaged just 13.5 points during that stretch. Fresno State played Boise State in its last two games, limiting the Broncos to an average of just 5.6 yards per play in those contests. While the Bulldogs were rock solid on defense, they were mostly serviceable on offense, averaging 2.8 points fewer than their opponents’ season average.
Houston sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who won this season’s Outland Trophy, is perhaps the most disruptive defensive force in college football and could cause a middling Fresno offense a boatload of problems on Christmas Eve. Look for defense to rule the day in the Hawaii Bowl.
Take the game to remain under the total of 49.

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