No. 21 Fresno State Outlasts Arizona State 31-20 in Las Vegas Bowl

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 16, 2018

Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion (6) looks to hand the ball off to running back Ronnie Rivers (20) against Boise State during the first half of an NCAA college football game for the Mountain West championship, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)
Steve Conner/Associated Press

Ronnie Rivers had 245 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns as No. 21 Fresno State beat Arizona State 31-20 in the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday.

A 68-yard Rivers touchdown run with 1:00 left in the third quarter proved to be the game-winning score:

Rivers, whose father (also named Ronnie) is the school's second all-time leading rusher, followed that up with a five-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give Fresno State a 30-20 lead. The ensuing extra point would close the scoring.

Arizona State dominated the first half as the Sun Devils outgained the Bulldogs 230-155 and won the time-of-possession battle by nearly five minutes.

However, the game was tied 17-all heading into halftime in part because of a Anthoula Kelly pick-six, which gave the Bulldogs an early 10-0 lead:

ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins then bounced back by leading his team to two straight touchdown drives. After Fresno State responded with a Marcus McMaryion touchdown run, ASU closed the first half on a 17-play, 72-yard field-goal drive.

The second half started out horribly for Fresno State. Dejonte O'Neal fumbled through the end zone after diving for the goal line, and then McMaryion threw interceptions on two consecutive drives. ASU only scored three points during that span, however, and the Rivers touchdown run gave the Bulldogs momentum once again.

The 12-2 Bulldogs won 12 games for the first time in school history. Arizona State finishes 7-6 in its first year under ex-NFL head coach Herm Edwards.

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