Group of five quarterbacks rarely get the love and recognition they deserve but one player might be better than most of the power five quarterbacks (Justin will appreciate this post). Fresno State’s Jake Haener is an excellent quarterback who has proven his ability on the field time and time again. Haener actually entered the transfer portal before deciding to stick with Fresno State. After Jeff Tedford was hired to replace Kalen DeBoer as the head coach he decided to return to Fresno State. Haener’s dedication to his program is one of the main reasons I have selected him to be part of today’s 99 Things.
Haener is entering his third season as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs. He owns a 16-6 record as the starting quarterback for Fresno State in his career. The 2021 campaign helped put Haener on the national stage and start to get recognition. He threw for 4,096 yards, 33 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Haener threw for at least 300 yards in seven of Fresno State’s 13 games last season. He passed for 298 yards in a 31-24 loss to Oregon in their second game of the season. Haener actually had Fresno State beating the Ducks in the fourth quarter before he fumbled where Oregon would take advantage of the turnover.
Fresno State was one of the best offenses in the nation last season. The Bulldogs averaged 33.4 points per game ranking them 26th in the country. The biggest issue for the offense was turnovers. Fresno State averaged just one turnover per game in their wins while they averaged four turnovers per game in their three losses. Haener threw four interceptions in their loss to Hawaii. The offense will need to focus on ball security if they want to have a chance at making a New Year’s Six bowl game this season.
The top two wide receivers for Fresno State last season were Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly. Both Cropper and Kelly are back this season to help lead the offense. Cropper led Fresno State in every receiving category last season finishing with 85 catches for 899 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was Haener’s go-to playmaker on a consistent basis last season. Kelly had a good year totaling 52 catches for 778 yards and four touchdowns. Haener having his two top receivers back this fall should help Fresno State continue to be one of the best teams in the Mountain West and one of the best offenses in the country.
Fresno State’s non-conference schedule is highlighted with a trip to USC. The Bulldogs will travel to Los Angeles in week three and face Lincoln Riley’s team. Fresno State will also play UConn, Oregon State and Cal Poly. The Bulldogs are the current favorite to win the West division in their conference. The East favorite is Boise State who the Bulldogs face on October 8th. Fresno State will travel to the famous blue turf in a potential conference championship preview. The Bulldogs have the offensive firepower to make a run for a New Year’s Six bowl game but will Haener be able to get them there?