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Cal Poly vs. Fresno State Odds, Picks: Why to Back Jake Haener, Bulldogs

Cal Poly vs. Fresno State Odds, Picks: Why to Back Jake Haener, Bulldogs article feature image

Photo by Will Navarro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Haener (Fresno State)

  • The Cal Poly Mustangs step up to the FBS level to face the Fresno State Bulldogs on Thursday night.
  • The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Jake Haener, who's one of the top players in the Group of Five.
  • Read on to see how Kyle Remillard is betting Cal Poly vs. Fresno State.

Cal Poly vs. Fresno State Odds

Thursday, Sept. 1
10:30 p.m. ET
Cal Poly Odds
-109o / -112u
Fresno State Odds
-109o / -112u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

It’s officially Jake Haener season.

The redshirt senior quarterback returns to Fresno State. He led the Bulldogs to a 10-3 season last year, highlighted by a heroic game-winner on the road over UCLA.

Fresno State’s Jake Haener, who was dealing with hip pain all night, threw the game-winning TD against No. 13 UCLA with 14 seconds left.

He finished with 455 passing yards, two TDs and the W 😤

(via @MountainWest)

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 19, 2021

This year, Fresno State has bigger goals than a double-digit win season. If the Bulldogs can find victories over Oregon State and USC, they could find themselves in the same spotlight as Cincinnati last year.

They opened the season in Week 0 last season with a glorified scrimmage against Cal Poly. The Mustangs got destroyed on both sides of the ball last year. They were outscored by an average of 24 points and outgained by 260 yards per game.

It will be another long day for Cal Poly, which was defeated 63-10 in last year's matchup.

Cal Poly Mustangs

Cal Poly enters this season ranked 107th of 130 FCS programs, according to CollegeFootballPoll. That should tell you everything you need to know about the state of the Mustangs.

The program sat among the bottom of the barrel in the Big Sky last season, finishing with a 1-7 record in conference and a 2-9 overall record.

The offense was abysmal, averaging 15 points per game. The Mustangs present virtually no rushing threat, averaging only 2.6 yards per carry and 87 yards per game.

Five separate players had an opportunity under center last season. They combined to toss 12 touchdowns to 15 interceptions while averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.

Redshirt senior Spencer Brasch showed the most hope of the group, averaging 250 passing yards per game. The issue is it took 38 attempts per game to hit that number while owning a 54% completion rate.

Believe it or not, the Cal Poly defense is in worse shape than its offense. The unit allowed just shy of 40 points and 430 yards per matchup. It ranks at the bottom of the Big Sky in rushing defense, which will be pivotal in this matchup when Fresno State inevitably opens a big lead.

Last year, Haener torched the Mustangs' defense for 380 yards while averaging 17 yards per passing attempt. He completed 17 of his 22 attempts while tossing four touchdowns.

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Fresno State Bulldogs

Washington snatched head coach Kalen DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb from Fresno State in the offseason. For a week, it seemed like the Huskies would also be taking the golden arm of Haener with them.

But Fresno State hired back Jeff Tedford, who had to step down from his role of head coach in 2019 due to health reasons. It was then Haener made the decision to stay with Fresno State and play out his redshirt senior season.

Haener finished the regular season in the top 10 in the country, with over 3,200 passing yards and 32 touchdowns. He led the Bulldogs to the top total offense in the Mountain West and second-best scoring offense with 33 points per game.

The aerial attack ranked sixth in Success Rate on passing plays and 18th in points per attempt. This offense could be even more impressive this season with top receivers Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly returning to the program.

Fresno State’s defensive production was overshadowed by its prolific offense, but it was a solid unit. The group returns seven starters that allowed 20 points per game. It ranked sixth in the nation in creating Havoc and 11th in Success Rate.

The sky is the limit for this Fresno State program this season.

Cal Poly vs. Fresno State Betting Pick

With matchups with Oregon State and USC looming, this will be a tune-up game for Tedford’s return to Fresno State.

Tedford, who is an offensive guru, will want to make sure that this group is firing on all cylinders heading into its two biggest games.

Fresno State will inevitably open a big lead in the first half of this game.

Normally I’m concerned about it taking its foot off the gas pedal with a spread as large as this one, but Cal Poly has proven its incapable of slowing down an opponent’s rushing attack, allowing 216 yards on the ground against FCS opponents.

These two programs faced off last season and it was a day to forget for Cal Poly.

Fresno State steamrolled its FCS opponent 63-10. The Bulldogs out-gained the Mustangs by 400 yards of total offense and held the group to 53 rushing yards on 35 attempts. 

The matchup this year will be no different.

Pick: Fresno State -36 (Play to -38)

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