Let’s go again! Thank you to everyone that made this happen but the joy is in the work! Go Dogs! pic.twitter.com/I4X3defach
— CoachJohnBaxter (@CoachJohnBaxter) January 10, 2023
The Bulldogs defeated Washington State, 29-6, in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Dec. 17.
Monday night, Georgia — another university claiming the Bulldogs monicker and also playing at SoFi Stadium — concluded the college football season with a 65-7 thrashing of TCU in the College Football Playoff championship game.
Fresno State was one of three “Group of 5” teams in the final Top 25 rankings — Tulane finished 9th in both polls; Troy finished 19th in the AP poll and 20th in the coaches poll.
The Bulldogs’ last previous final AP Top 25 came after their 12-2 season in 2018 earned them a No. 18 ranking.
A Roller Coaster 2022
The Bulldogs’ season seemed to be in jeopardy after back-to-back losses versus Oregon State and at USC. The latter saw the loss to injury to star QB Jake Haener and safety Evan Williams.
The low point came a week later, losing to an unproven UConn team on the road.
A loss to Boise State was the fourth loss in a row, and at 1-4, Fresno State seemed destined for a disappointing year. Things turned around with wins against San Jose State and New Mexico.
Haener returned to face San Diego State. He led the Bulldogs to an incredible last-minute victory, returning the spark and optimism from the Red Wave fan base.
Fresno State never lost again. The team concluded the year with nine straight victories, including a Mountain West title game victory on the road, avenging the loss to Boise State.
And, that made Fresno State the first FBS team to get to 10 wins after dropping four of the first five.
The Road Ahead
After losing many of their key contributors, particularly on offense, the Bulldogs have reloaded by signing a big class of recruits with an emphasis on community college transfers.