FRESNO — He was heralded in TV promotions as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. But Cal State Long Beach's Jeff Graham was ineffective for the third straight week Thursday night.
"I had another poor game," Graham admitted after Fresno State rolled over the 49ers, 30-7, in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game before 32,215 fans at Bulldog Stadium and a national ESPN audience.
It was the 49ers' third straight loss.
While Graham completed only 5 of 12 passes for 101 yards, the other quarterback--Fresno's Dave Telford--turned out to be the star.
Telford completed 18 of 26 for 209 yards and guided the Bulldogs on four long touchdown drives.
"Telford played one of the best games I've seen for a kid without a lot of game experience," Fresno State Coach Jim Sweeney said.
The Bulldogs also ran for 257 yards, displaying the balanced attack Long Beach desired but couldn't attain.
"When we went to our drop-back, Jeff didn't get too much time," said 49er Coach Larry Reisbig. "That's why we went to our ball-control game."
Graham was sacked seven times.
Long Beach, 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the PCAA, has scored only 19 points in those three defeats after scoring 81 in victories over Division I-AA teams.
Fresno, which improved to 2-2 and 1-0, has beaten Long Beach seven straight times.
The 49ers didn't make a first down--they had only 7 for the game to Fresno's 24--until the last play of the first quarter.
Fresno took a 6-0 lead when tailback Kelly Skipper scored from a yard out, completing a 57-yard drive.
After the 49ers had to punt a third straight time, Fresno drove 76 yards in 12 plays.
Telford completed three passes during that march before flanker Anthony Williams fooled the 49ers by taking a handoff on a reverse and running 12 yards for a touchdown.
Skipper ran for a two-point conversion, and the Bulldogs led, 14-0.
The 49er offense, deep in its own territory late in the first half, awoke spectacularly.
Tailback Michael Roberts ran 42 yards to the Fresno 48. Then, with 13 seconds left, Graham threw long down the left sideline to freshman wide receiver Mark Seay, who made an over-the-shoulder catch on the three and went in for a touchdown to make the halftime score 14-7.
"We went into the second half fired up," Graham said.
But the 49ers had another one first-down quarter in the third period, during which they rarely had the ball.
Barry Belli kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 17-7.
A Bulldog drive late in the third period was in danger of aborting on the Long Beach 20, but on third and six, Telford hit Williams on an 18-yard pass to the two.
That set up Skipper, who dove for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The 49ers had no answer. On one series, Graham was sacked on two straight plays, and Long Beach once again had to punt.
The Bulldogs ran off a quick 48-yard drive, scoring their last touchdown on a 10-yard run by Courtney Griffin.
"I don't think we played very good as a team anywhere," Reisbig said.
And as Graham walked off the field, he said, "It's time to see who has character on this team.'