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It's Still Early, but Fresno State Making Its Case

September 12, 2004|From Associated Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. — In 2001, Fresno State made a run at breaking into the bowl championship series by beating big-name teams.

The Bulldogs are at it again.

Fresno State's 45-21 upset of No. 13 Kansas State was its second victory over a team from a BCS conference in seven days -- and its seventh since the BCS was established in 1999.

With the big payday a BCS bowl guarantees, perhaps it's fitting that Coach Pat Hill used a poker metaphor to describe his team's situation.

"We are still at the main table," Hill said. "We were all in. We picked up all their chips, and now we've got a bigger pile -- and next week we'll go all in again."

Fresno State (2-0) didn't have to catch many breaks against the Wildcats.

After giving up an early touchdown on Bret Jones' 42-yard interception return, the Bulldogs dominated the defending Big 12 Conference champions.

Bulldog running back Dwayne Wright scored two touchdowns before tearing a tendon in his right knee in the fourth quarter, sidelining him for the season.

Bryson Sumlin was originally credited with Wright's second touchdown, but Kansas State officials gave the touchdown to Wright after reviewing the tape.

Paul Pinegar threw two touchdown passes to Matt Rivera and ran for another, and Sumlin had one touchdown run in Fresno State's biggest win over a ranked team -- and the Wildcats' worst regular-season nonconference loss in 13 years.

The Bulldogs' 45 points were the most given up by the Wildcats in a regular-season nonconference game since a 56-3 loss to Washington in 1991.

Fresno State's previous most decisive win over a ranked team was a 44-24 defeat of Oregon State, then ranked 10th, in 2001.

That season the Bulldogs, from the Western Athletic Conference, also knocked off Colorado and Wisconsin on the road.

Kansas State (1-1) led, 7-0, before it took a snap, but the Wildcats couldn't do much right after Jones' defensive touchdown less than 3 1/2 minutes into the game. They had only two yards of offense in the first quarter and trailed, 31-14, at the half.

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