Jake Haener accelerates timeline to return, Dontae Bull out for the year

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Tuesday, November 1, 2022
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Fresno State (4-4, MW 3-1) caught lightning in a bottle to come back and win Saturday 32-28 over San Diego State.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State (4-4, MW 3-1) caught lightning in a bottle to come back and win Saturday 32-28 over San Diego State, keeping alive the Bulldogs' hopes of playing for the Mountain West Championship.

Trailing the Aztecs by 11, ESPN Analytics gave SDSU a 98.7 percent chance of winning the game after Abraham Montano's field goal try was blocked with 4:53 to play.

Instead, FS would rally for one of the most improbable wins in school history.

"Probability of that (comeback) probably isn't real high, but that's why you work at it," head coach Jeff Tedford said Monday.

RELATED: Full highlights of Bulldogs 15 points in 0:13

After burning their last two timeouts, FS junior defensive end Johnny Hudson chased the Aztecs QB Jaylen Mayden out of bounds to stop the clock, one of a number of key efforts that Tedford praised as going unnoticed.

The quick three-and-out got the ball back in the hands of the offense and a quarterback who had already led a miracle comeback.

"I was not going to let that night in September be the last game I ever played for Fresno State," said senior quarterback Jake Haener.

The senior quarterback said Monday that the initial diagnosis from the injury he suffered September 17th v. USC would have him out for 10-12 weeks. Instead, he got second & third opinions before sticking to a plan where he worked day and night to return in just six weeks.

Trailing 28-17, Haener led an 11-play, 80-yard drive, then converted the two-point conversion with Zane Pope, then watched special teams recover the onside kick, giving him a chance to lead another game winning drive.

"I just kept telling myself I needed to stay present in the moment and focus on everything I could to put that last drive together," Haener said of the final drive. "Obviously, it makes it easy when Nikko (Remigio) breaks a tackle and we score on one play."

Next up for the Dogs is a Hawaii team that has beaten FS each of the last two seasons -- games in which Haener combined to throw seven interceptions, four of which came last year.

"Going into that Hawaii game, there was a lot of hype, a lot of high points to the season," Haener said of the 27-24 loss. "I definitely felt like going into that game, I tried to do too much. I tried to make big plays. I tried to be the hero. Obviously, there's some things in the past that I want to make up for with this one."

Tedford said that he's learned not to overlook the Rainbow Warriors, who trail the all-time series 29-24-1.

"We've had some key matchups with them," Tedford said. "We've taken some really good teams to play them and come out on the wrong end of it a lot of times."

Senior offensive tackle Dontae Bull will miss the remainder of the season due to a broken leg he suffered in the first half against the Aztecs.

Kickoff from Valley Children's Stadium is set for 7:30PM on Saturday, November 5.