WSU

Mims, Haener lead Fresno State past WSU 29-6 in LA Bowl

Dec 17, 2022, 4:14 PM | Updated: 9:03 pm
WSU LA Bowl Cam Ward...
WSU quarterback Cameron Ward is chased by Fresno State's Leonard Payne Jr. in the LA Bowl. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Jordan Mims rushed for a career-high 205 yards and two scores, Jake Haener threw two TD passes and Fresno State completed the biggest in-season turnaround in Football Bowl Subdivision history with a 29-6 victory over WSU in the LA Bowl on Saturday.

LA Bowl — Fresno State 29, WSU 6: Box score

Fresno State — which won the Mountain West Conference title — is the first team to get to 10 wins after dropping four of the first five. The Bulldogs (10-4) were 1-4 in early October before winning their final nine games.

Mims accounted for 232 all-purpose yards and outgained Washington State, which had 182 offensive yards. Both of Mims’ touchdowns were on direct snaps out of the Wildcat formation.

“It felt surreal. I knew I had a pretty solid game. Our line did their thing and I followed them,” Mims said. “We always want to stick with the run game and pound the ball first. It was good for us to make plays on the ground and we can dish out here and there and throw shots.”

Early in the second quarter, the senior went 4 yards around left end to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 advantage. In the fourth quarter, he carried it 2 yards up the middle to make it 29-6.

Haener completed 24 of 36 passes for 284 yards in his final game for Fresno State. The senior connected with Zane Pope on a 22-yard touchdown to complete the Bulldogs’ opening possession. He added an 11-yard score to Nikko Remigio late in the third quarter to extend the lead to 22-6.

“We set history today. Every guy in that locker room day in and day out has been resilient and positive,” said Haener.

Cameron Ward was 22 of 32 for 137 yards for WSU (7-6).

Nakia Watson rushed for 33 yards and had the Cougars’ only touchdown in the third quarter, when he scored from 1 yard to bring Washington State within 16-6.

“I don’t think we ever got in a rhythm. We never established running the football which is a key piece to what we always want to do,” WSU coach Jake Dickert said. “Those are some things as we watch the tape that we’ll kind of hopefully lean into and learn.”

GETTING DEFENSIVE

Fresno State made it 16-0 on Washington State’s ensuing possession with a safety. On third-and-14 from the Cougars’ 3-yard line, Ward was pressured by Bulldogs’ defensive lineman Leonard Payne Jr. and stepped on the end line in the back of the end zone.

It was the second time in the last three games the Bulldogs have scored on a safety.

THE TAKEAWAY

Fresno State: The Bulldogs have won four straight bowl games and have their second consecutive season with double-digit victories. It also completes a great first year for Jeff Tedford, who is in his second stint at Fresno State after Kalen DeBoer left for Washington.

WSU: The Cougars have dropped their last three bowl games but were short-handed after both coordinators left for other positions. Washington State also was impacted at wide receiver and linebacker with players opting out of the game or putting their name in the transfer portal.

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Mims, Haener lead Fresno State past WSU 29-6 in LA Bowl