Fresno State

Finishing teams Dogs' next step

Fresno State isn't trying to get too far ahead of itself.

The Bulldogs (4-2 overall, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference) still realize they are vulnerable to losing to any team.

But after three straight wins, including a 37-24 win over Idaho on Saturday, the Bulldogs' next immediate step appears to be how to develop a killer instinct.

For the second straight week, Fresno State was outscored in the fourth quarter, yielding a 10-6 advantage to Idaho a week after being outscored 21-7 in a 49-41 victory over Nevada.

"We're never going to have the kind of team that puts daggers in people,"

Fresno State coach Pat Hill said Sunday. "I know that's what a lot of people want to see. We probably could have done that against Nevada if we kept all of our starters in. We probably could have done that against Idaho.

"But both of those games were completely under our control. We expect our younger guys to come in and put out the fire and finish it. Everyone is going to play if we get leads."

Assistant coach Randy Stewart, who has been serving as the defensive coordinator this season, said it's more about the Bulldogs learning how to play with leads, and maintaining their energy and execution for four quarters.

"Game by game, we're doing things better," Stewart said. "But until you put all the parts together for four quarters, you're never going to get that big, big pay day. We're getting closer and closer, but not close enough to make as big a difference as we want."

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