Fresno State captures Las Vegas Bowl XXVII trophy
The 27th edition of the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl took place on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. Held every December since 1992, Sam Boyd Stadium has been the site of the Las Vegas Bowl for the 13th year in a row. This year’s game featured the Arizona State Sun Devils of the Pac-12 Conference vs. Mountain West Conference champion Fresno State Bulldogs with Fresno State taking home the trophy after a 31-20 victory.
MITSUBISHI MOTORS LAS VEGAS BOWL XXVII GAME NOTES
- No. 21 Fresno State defeated Arizona State 31-20 to mark the Bulldogs’ first victory in three trips to the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (lost in 1999 and 2003). It marked the Bulldogs’ first victory in four all-time meetings with the Sun Devils as the teams faced off for the first time since 1941.
- ASU fell to 0-2 all-time in the #MMLVBowl after also losing to Boise State in the 2011 game.
- The Mountain West won its third consecutive #MMLVBowl, including the last two over Pac-12 Conference opponents, to improve to 12-7 in the event.
- The Pac-12 fell to 8-9 all-time in the #MMLVBowl.
- The crowd of 37,146 represented the ninth-largest in Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl history.
- Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford improved to 2-0 in #MMLVBowls after previously winning with a team from Cal over BYU in 2005.
- Tedford became the first head coach to win a #MMLVBowl at two different schools. He also joined Chris Peterson (3-0 with Boise State) and Ron McBride (2-0 with Utah) as the only head coaches with multiple appearances to be undefeated in the #MMLVBowl.
- Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers was voted the Rich Abajian Most Valuable Player for the 2018 #MMLVBowl. The sophomore rushed 24 times for 212 net yards and two touchdowns (68 and 5 yards).
- This marked the ninth time in 27 #MMLVBowls that a running back was voted MVP.
- Rivers’ rushing total of 212 yards ranked second in #MMLVBowl history, trailing only the 254 rolled up by Mike Anderson of Utah vs. Fresno State in 1999.
- Rivers finished second in #MMLVBowl history with 286 all-purpose yards, trailing only Boise State’s Doug Martin, who rolled up 301 vs. ASU in 2011.
- Rivers’ lone punt return went for 41 yards, which ranked third in #MMLVBowl history behind a 75-yarder by Craig Bragg of UCLA vs. New Mexico in 2002 and a 45-yard effort by Nevada’s Bryan Reeves vs. Bowling Green in 1992.
- ASU sophomore running back Eno Benjamin also broke the 100-yard mark with a net of 118 yards via 23 carries, including one touchdown from 17 yards out.
- This marked the first time in #MMLVBowl history that a player from each team boasted a 100-yard rusher.
- ASU WR Brandon Aiyuk returned five kickoffs, which tied three other players for third-most in a #MMLVBowl.
- Fresno State intercepted ASU QB Manny Wilkins in the first quarter and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown. It marked the third-longest INT return in #MMLVBowl history.
- The long play marked the fourth consecutive #MMLVBowl with at least one pick-six. Both Boise State (53 yards) and Oregon (100 yards) had one in 2017; San Diego State (54 yards) had one in 2016 vs. Houston; and Utah (28 and 46) had two of them vs. BYU in 2015.
- The two teams finished even in first downs gained with 18 apiece – each had exactly 11 rushing and seven passing with none coming on penalty.
- The six total penalties were the fewest in a #MMLVBowl as both teams tied for fourth with just three apiece.
- The marked the 12th time in the last 13 years that at least one of the teams in the #MMLVBowl entered the day ranked in one of the major polls.
- Fresno State improved to 14-15 in bowl games while ASU fell to 14-15-1.