) — Jeff Tedford’s
revitalization of Fresno State’s program is complete. After that 1-11 season in 2016 led to the ouster of Tim DeRuyter
, the Bulldogs have won 22 games in Tedford’s two seasons and surpassed Boise State in the Mountain West — for one year, at least.
Consider that Tedford is a former Bulldogs quarterback — and a good one at that. Tedford’s final game in a Fresno State uniform came in the 1982 California Bowl, when he commanded a 21-point fourth quarter comeback to beat Bowling Green 29-28. Tedford tossed the winning touchdown with mere seconds left, fans mobbed players in the end zone and the Bulldogs finished 11-1.
“The proud tradition of Bulldog football was already ingrained in me when I took the job, having worked under Coach (Jim) Sweeney and Coach (Pat) Hill,” Tedford said. “I have a lot of passion for this program because of all the people I’ve known for a long time. Relationships and friendships dating back to the ’78 and ’79 teams are still in town. Friends through so many eras of Bulldog football.”
“Going down and beating SC in the opener would really light the fuse,” Hill said of igniting fan enthusiasm in the Valley.
Fresno State has come close to winning in the Coliseum before, of course. In 2005, Hill’s No. 16 Bulldogs pulled the No. 1-ranked Trojans into deep water before falling 50-42; that was the Reggie Bush-cutback game. It came 13 years after Fresno State beat USC 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl, notching one of the most famous victories in school history.
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