Fresno State Bulldogs Upsets Purdue
Image: Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK
By Shawn Stewart
Mikey Keene threw for four touchdowns Saturday to lead Fresno State to a 39-35 win over Purdue in the season opener for both teams.
Keene, a transfer from Central Florida, threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Erik Brooks with 58 seconds left for the game winner. Keene connected on 31 of 44 passes for 366 yards. Brooks had nine catches for 170 yards.
“He lit us up,” Purdue first-year coach Ryan Walters said of Keene.
Fresno State had a 13-minute edge in time of possession. While Fresno State converted 11 of 17 third downs, Purdue was 3 of 12 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth-down conversions.
“We have to do a better job on third downs on both sides of the ball,” Walters said.
Purdue, which led 28-17 early in the third quarter, managed to regain the lead at 35-32 on Devin Mockabee’s 11-yard TD run with 4:36 to go.
Malik Sherrod went wide from 1-yard out early in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs a 32-28 lead. Mockobee was stopped on fourth-and-goal at the Fresno State 1 with 8:13 left.
Fresno State’s Dylan Lynch missed a 20-yard field goal but redeemed himself by hitting a 52-yarder as time expired in the first half to narrow the Bulldogs’ halftime deficit to 21-17.
The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 28-25 with 6:44 remaining in the third quarter when Keene connected with Jaelen Gill for an 18-yard TD pass and the conversion pass to Jalen Moss.
“We had very few penalties,” Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford said. “I thought we played a clean game. The offensive line did a good job. That’s a tough, physical team we played.”
The Bulldogs were penalized four times for 35 yards.
In his Purdue debut, Hudson Card, a Texas transfer, completed 17 of 30 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, including an 84-yard TD pass to Deion Burks.
“There are some plays I wish I had back along with some decision-making,” Card said. “We’ll have to look at film and learn from it. Give credit to Fresno State, they came ready to play. Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us.”
Walters echoed that opinion.
“It’s game one with new staff and a new scheme. We’ll evaluate everything. I’m confident we’ll get better in game 2,” said Walters, who replaced Jeff Brohm after he left to take the job at Louisville, his alma mater.
Purdue’s one bright spot defensively was an interception by freshman defensive back Dillon Thieneman in the fourth quarter.