Fullerton Penalizes Itself in a 33-19 Loss

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cal State Fullerton added a chapter to a growing legacy of bungled chances and self-inflicted pain Saturday.

Playing against Fresno State, which hasn't lost in its past 14 games, the Titans led by three points after a quarter, trailed by 23 early in the third, cut the lead to seven in the fourth, and killed their chances with a penalty-ridden defensive series that ended in a Fresno touchdown and a 33-19 Big West Conference loss.

Fresno (7-0) stretched its winning streak to 14 games in front of 32,135 in Bulldog Stadium.

The Bulldogs broke the school record for consecutive victories set in 1960-62, and Coach Jim Sweeney got his 150th career victory.

Trailing, 26-3, Fullerton scored 16 straight points with two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions, cutting the lead to 26-19 with 9:21 left in the game.

The Titans forced Fresno to punt, but then were held on four downs themselves.

On the next possession, Fullerton backed Fresno into a fourth-and-three situation, and the Bulldogs set up to punt.

But Fullerton's Darrell Bruce ran into the punter, giving Fresno an automatic first down. As if that weren't enough, Titan Nuygen Pendleton was penalized for signaling a fair catch and then returning the kick, adding five yards to Fresno's windfall.

Fresno State, with continued help from Fullerton put the game out of reach on Aaron Craver's 14-yard run with 2:25 remaining.

It was a game that figured to be high-scoring. Fresno State came into the game averaging 42 points a game, with Fullerton at 27.

Oddly enough, Fullerton had a 3-0 lead after the first quarter.

For the fifth game in a row, the Titans scored on their first possession, this time settling for a 42-yard field goal by Phil Nevin. The drive was stopped--as many others would be--on a sack by Ron Cox, the Fresno State outside linebacker who is one of 14 finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.

Fullerton (3-4-1, 2-2) had other chances in the first half, many of them served up by Fresno State. Bulldog quarterback Mark Barsotti threw three interceptions in the first half, but the Titans could not convert them into points.

By the second quarter, Fresno State gathered itself, scoring three touchdowns for a 20-3 lead.

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