FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno State pulled off the biggest win in the Kalen DeBoer era beating #13 UCLA 40-37 at the Rose Bowl. FS' last win against a #13 team was 45-21 at Kansas State in 2004.
The victory catapulted them into being ranked 22nd in the Associated Press college football poll. It's the first time the Bulldogs have been ranked since 2018. Meanwhile, after the loss, the Bruins fell to 24th place.
In a fourth quarter that saw four lead changes, Jake Haener connected with Jalen Cropper for the go ahead touchdown with 14 seconds to play. Haener, who took shot after shot in the pocket, finished throwing 39/53 for 455 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Ronnie Rivers was the leading rushed carrying the ball 21 times for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns.
It was a second chance for the Dogs to beat a top 15 ranked team from the PAC-12. Two weeks ago FS led #11 Oregon in the fourth quarter before falling 31-24 (Ducks now ranked #4 overall).
The Bulldogs opened the scoring. A one yard touchdown from Ronnie Rivers capped a 10 play, 55 yard drive that included a 3rd and 24 conversion between Jake Haener and Ty Jones.
After a failed 2-point conversion, FS trailed 7-6 after a five play 73 yard drive that took just 1:49. It was capped by a 6 yard run from Zach Charbonnet.
Another methodical FS drive ended with a touchdown at the 1 yard line, this time it was run in by Jalen Cropper. On the ensuing kickoff, Tulare Union grad Kazmeir Allen took the return 66 yards and would've scored if not for a tackle from behind by Mac Dalena (SJM).
After holding the Bruins to a field goal, Rivers broke free for a 36 yard touchdown to make it 20-10 FS.
Haener was intercepted for the first time this season but on the first play of UCLA's ensuing drive senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumbled and Dogs junior defensive tackle Leonard Payne Jr. fell on the ball for a fumble recovery. Abe Montano would hit a 21 yard field goal to give the Dogs a 23-10 lead at the break.
UCLA responded with a 39 yard touchdown From Thompson-Robinson to Kam Brown to start the second half to cut the FS lead to 23-17.
Dogs were up 26-17 to start the fourth quarter and were driving for more before Haener fumbled a botched snap giving the Bruins back the ball. Thompson-Robinson connected with Kyle Philips for a quick 42 yard strike to cut the lead to 26-24 with 8:10 to play.
Ensuing Dogs drive brought another fumble. At the end of a Josh Kelly catch, the SJM grad had the ball stripped away and another quick TD, this time from Zach Charbonnet gave the Bruins a 30-26 lead with 7:27 to play.
Next up for FS is the start of Mountain West play. Conference play kicks off against UNLV Friday at 7:00 PM with the game broadcast on CBS Sports Network.