FRESNO, Calif. — It will be something of a reunion when Cal Poly visits Fresno State in the 2022 season opener for both football teams Thursday night at Valley Children’s (formerly Bulldog) Stadium.
Cal Poly ‘traded’ running backs coach James Montgomery to Fresno State for former standout running back Bulldog Robbie Rouse, who rushed for 4,647 yards and 37 touchdowns along with 794 receiving yards and five other scores. Rouse, who was the first Bulldog to compile three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, has coached the past two seasons at North Dakota.
Additionally, Cal Poly’s defensive line coach will plemons coached the same group at Fresno State for three training spells – 2004-05 and 2008-11 under Pat Hill and 2019 under Jeff Tedford. Saga Tuitele, offensive line coach at Cal Poly under Tim Walsh from 2009 to 2015, was named Fresno State offensive line coach and current play coordinator last December after two seasons in the Army and four in New Mexico.
Cal Poly also has several players on the Fresno and area roster, including wide receiver Bryson Allen (Tulare Union HS), tight end Tyrece Fairly-Diyem (Fresno Edison HS) and linebacker I’kob Jones (Fresno Central HS), all freshmen who made the travel roster for Thursday’s game.
In addition, wide receiver Chris Colman caught 16 passes in three seasons at Fresno State and also served as a cornerback before transferring to Cal Poly and enrolling in the two-year Masters in Public Policy program. Coleman was Mustang’s leading receiver a year ago with 43 receptions for 590 yards and four touchdowns, including a five-yard throw from Spencer Brasch one year ago.
The Central California State rivals kick off for the 46th time on Thursday night, with kickoff scheduled for 7:35 p.m.
ESPN Radio (1280 AM and 101.7 FM) and KRKC (1490 AM and 104.9 FM) will broadcast the game live with Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer (play-by-play) and Stephan Hodges (analyst) calling for action . The game will also be televised nationally on FS1 (Spectrum channels 69 and 422 in San Luis Obispo County) with Eric Collins (play-by-play announcer for the Charlotte Hornets) and Devin Gardner (quarterback for Michigan from 2010 to 14) at the microphone. . Links for audio (ESPN Radio 1280) and video (Fubo) streams as well as live stats can be found on the football schedule page on www.GoPoly.com.
It’s hot in the San Joaquin Valley, with the high predicted for Thursday being 108 degrees. The forecast temperature for kick-off is 95 degrees. It will do 113 in Fresno on Monday. In Cal Poly’s game at Arizona State in 2015, the temperature at kickoff was 98 degrees, and it was 93 at the kickoff of last year’s Cal Poly-Fresno State contest, won by the Bulldogs 63-10.
Jake Haener, who completed 17 of 22 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns against Cal Poly in 2021, is back this fall after briefly entering the transfer portal following the departure of head coach Kalen DeBoer to Washington. When Jeff Tedford was announced as Bulldogs head coach for the second time — he also coached at Fresno State from 2017 to 2019 but left for health reasons — Haener did an about-face and returned to Fresno State .
Fresno State is bringing back most of its offensive production from 2021, including Haener. A season ago, the Bulldogs finished No. 14 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense (464.8 yards per game), No. 9 in passing offense (326.7 yards per game) and No. 26 in scoring attack (33.4 points per game). ).
As a result, Fresno State was selected by the head coaches to win the Mountain West this fall. The Bulldogs were 10-3 overall a year ago, finishing second in the West Division with a 6-2 record. Fresno State’s next two opponents are from the Pac-12 — hosting Oregon State on Sept. 10 and visiting USC on Sept. 17.
Said Tedford of Thursday’s game, “Well, the focus has to be on ourselves. It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s not about the opponent, it’s about how we play. play and how we perform, prepare, train, how we take care of our bodies and rest, sleep and hydrate.
“Part of camp is educating the team on what it takes to be successful, all the little things that go into it,” Tedford added. “Cal Poly have great coaches. I don’t know much about their players yet, but I’m sure they’re like any other team that comes out of camp – it’s a new season and there has high hopes.
“We know we’re going to do our best. But it’s not about our opponent, it’s about us and how we prepare and perform. So that’s how we’re going to go into every game, just focusing on our opportunity to play, and how we focus on ourselves.”
Cal Poly will play its home opener of the 2022 season on Saturday, September 10 against San Diego at 2:02 p.m. inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Toreros open their campaign on Saturday at home against La Verne.
Cal Poly is 13-15 opening the season since moving to Division I in 1994… Handsome Baldwin is 1-1 in the Mustang season openers, beating San Diego 28-17 last year and falling to Southern Utah 34-24 in the abbreviated Spring 2021 campaign… Fresno State leads Cal Poly 33- 10-2 in the all-time series that began in 1922 and has won the last eight meetings, all at Fresno…the Mustangs have won seven of 10 games against the Bulldogs under head coach Joe Harper from 1968 to 1981 … In its 29th Division I campaign, Cal Poly is opening its season on a Thursday night for the fourth time … the previous Thursday season openers were in 1999 at Northern Arizona, 2002 at Toledo and 2014 at New Mexico State … Cal Poly was 2-9 against the fifth-toughest league football subdivision schedule last fall and those 11 foes compiled an 80-52 record (60.6 winning percentage) with five of them qualifying for the FCS playoffs and the State of Fresno winning the New Mexico Bowl en route to a 10-3 season… Cal Poly plays 10 of last year’s 11 foes in 2022, replacing Weber State with Eastern Washington.