The Fresno State Bulldogs contained the Washington State Cougars throughout the 2022 Jimmy Kimmel L.A. Bowl to secure a 29-6 victory. The Bulldogs made history by committing a nine-game winning streak after having a 1-4 start to their season.
Bulldogs running back Jordan Mims won L.A. Bowl offensive MVP after accumulating 210 rushing yards for two touchdowns and 27 receiving yards. Mims noted how the win was “surreal.”
“I knew I had a pretty solid game and the [offensive] line did their thing and I followed them,” Mims said. “It feels good to leave a mark like this on a ten-win season.”
Fresno State senior quarterback Jake Haener made 24 throws for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Washington State sophomore quarterback Cameron Ward made 22 throws for 137 yards. The Cougs struggled to ignite their rushing game, they only advanced 45 yards on the ground. Fresno State had 221 rushing yards.
Despite the tough loss, WSU head coach Jake Dickert noted that he was proud of his team.
“We took over a program this year that we had to establish a foundation,” Dickert said. “I’m proud of the foundation that they have started because it’s something that you can build on.”
The Bulldogs scored a touchdown on their first possession due to big gains by Mims and wide receiver Zane Pope. The Fresno State defense pestered the Cougars throughout the first quarter only allowing WSU to have 15 rushing and nine receiving yards in that phase.
The Cougars turned the ball over on downs on their own 23-yard line, which set Fresno State up for their second touchdown. A holding penalty would have the Washington State offense start on their own seven-yard line.
The Cougar offense struggled to advance, and Ward was sacked for a safety. Fresno led WSU 16-0 at halftime. The Bulldog defense held the WSU passing game to 43 yards in the first half.
“The biggest thing I learned as a quarterback … is that every possession matters,” Ward said. “You can’t have bad plays in certain situations, so just taking that, keeping that on to next year, that’s what I’m excited to do.”
Ward made a 21-yard passing play to Billy Riviere and maintained his passing rhythm, targeting freshman wideout Leyton Smithson, Tysoin Nunnally and Robert Ferrell. Junior running back Nakia Watson ran in the touchdown from one yard out. Their two-point conversion failed.
Fresno State scored a touchdown in their next possession and found the endzone again in the fourth quarter.
“It was a rough start, for sure. But we had guys that have been in this program for six years, and they wasn’t going to go out like that,” said Fresno State defensive tackle Devo Bridges. “So we really set a goal to turn our season around and that’s exactly what we did.”