— It’s been a hot-and-cold season in Fresno State football.
The Bulldogs, who have lost three straight games, are still battling to make the NCAA tournament.
But the Bulldogs are playing at a high level and the top five reasons why they’ve been so hot are a little more complicated.
The Bulldogs have won three straight over ranked opponents to go 5-0 in the Mountain West Conference, and are riding an 8-1 run to their third consecutive victory over the No. 4 team in conference, Fresno State.
The only time they’ve lost three in a row is to No. 6 Gonzaga.
FSU is 4-0 against ranked opponents and is 5-1 at home against teams ranked in the top 10.
The Golden Bulldogs also have won at least 20 games in seven straight games for the first time since 2011.
“They’ve got a lot of different reasons why it’s happening,” Fresno State coach Matt Campbell said.
“But the biggest reason is we have a lot more talent than anyone else in the conference.”
The Bulldogs, which are 8-2 in league play and 7-2 against ranked teams, are averaging 5.3 points per game this season.
Fresno State’s defense is playing better than expected and is holding teams to fewer than 30 points a game.
The defense is averaging 2.3 yards per carry and is averaging 11.2 yards per punt return.
The offense is scoring 17.4 points per contest.
Fresno St. is averaging a whopping 22.3.
The top scoring unit, which is led by receiver Rashard Higgins, is averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and is making 12.5 of his 19 passes.
Fournette is the best receiver in the country and Higgins is averaging 3.3 receptions for 34 yards a game, but FSU has struggled to generate much scoring, averaging just 17.3 first downs per game.
Fresno State has won six of the past seven games and has won three of the last four in the series.
Fresno has won five straight meetings with Fresno State dating to its first trip to Fresno State Stadium in 2008.
Fresno is 12-0 when leading at halftime and 7 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
The last time Fresno State trailed by more than six points was in the last meeting between the teams in 2013.
Fresno also has won seven straight at home and is 6-0 this season against opponents with losses to ranked opponents.
“It’s just the way they’ve got to play,” Campbell said of Fresno State.
“You’ve got two of the best defensive linemen in the league and a great pass-rush group, and they’ve played at a very high level.
When you look at their last two games, it’s not been pretty.
They haven’t really played at the same level.
They’ve just got to be more consistent, and if they keep winning, that will come naturally.
It’s going to come from within.
They’re the team that’s got the best defense in the NCAA.
They have the best receivers in the Pac-12 and they’re a really talented offense.”