FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State snatched victory from the jaws of defeat winning 32-28 over San Diego State (4-4, MW 2-2) keeping the Old Oil Can Trophy in the Valley and maintaining control of their own destiny in the chase for the West Division title.
Fresno State improves to 4-4 on the season and 3-1 in Mountain West play.
The team wore an all navy-blue uniform, including helmet, for the first time in program history.
The Bulldogs were led by senior quarterback Jake Haener who returned from injury for the first time since getting taken out on a cart in the second half vs. USC.
42 days since that game, Haener finished with 35/46 throwing for 402 yards, 3 touchdowns but also two interceptions in the Aztecs end zone.
Haener wasn't the only Bulldog to return.
He was joined by senior safety Evan Williams and wide receiver Josh Kelly who also missed the last 4 games.
Despite their return, FS' offensive line was hit with a litany of injuries headlined by preseason MW first-team lineman Dontae Bull who was carted off the field. As a result, Haener was frequently running to escape pressure and was sacked 7 times.
Opposing QB Jalen Mayden dominated much of the early game.
The converted safety was once the #2 dual-threat QB out of Texas before committing to Mississippi State and then transferring to SDSU.
The junior finished with 19/24 throwing for 291 yards & 4 total touchdowns.
The 'Dogs defense came away with 4 takeaways despite coming into the game with just 4 turnovers on the season.
Despite the turnover margin, the Bulldogs couldn't capitalize scoring just 17 points on 7 trips to the red zone.
The dagger seemingly coming when the Aztecs blocked a field goal that would've made it a one-score game with 4:53 to play.
But like he did at the Rose Bowl in 2021, Haener led an improbable comeback.
An 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 3-yard run from senior running back Jordan Mims made it a 28-25 game with 1:09 to play.
Fresno State returned the ensuing onside kick on a kick from true freshman Dylan Lynch and on the first play of the drive, Haener found Nikko Remigio for a 37-yard touchdown giving FS a 32-28 lead with 0:56 seconds left.
Mayden was picked off on the first play of the Aztecs next drive and FS held on for its 2nd straight win over SDSU.
The 'Dogs are back home next week to take on Hawaii. Kickoff from Valley Children's Stadium is set for Saturday, November 5th at 7:30 PM.