Fresno State Quarterback Jake Haener Finally on Heisman Boards

Jake Haener With Fresno State Bulldogs Background

  • Haener climbing quickly to the top of Heisman Trophy odds
  • Cincinnati’s Ridder joins Haener in Group of 5 march
  • Oddsmakers pushing Fresno State to top of Mountain West race

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener wasn’t even on the Heisman Trophy boards in August, and now the Bulldogs’ senior quarterback has moved from (+4000) to (+3500) on the Heisman boards.

Haener, who started his career as a Washington Husky, has a chance to not only move forward on the Heisman watch boards but potentially move the Bulldogs into contention for a New Year’s Day Bowl bid.

He had been spotted at (+5000) earlier, but his increasingly better play in the last two weeks in come-from-behind wins over UCLA and UNLV has put him in a position to contend for the Heisman Trophy.

Two weeks ago:
He had to rally the Bulldogs to a 40-37 win over the Bruins when he hit wide receiver Jalen Cropper with the go-ahead touchdown with 14 seconds remaining. This came after the Bruins had rallied from 13 points down to take a 37-33 lead with 54 seconds remaining when UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson hit Kyle Phillips with a 15-yard TD pass.

Then, last week, the Runnin’ Rebels took a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. He threw five touchdown passes, four to Cropper, as the last one put the Bulldogs ahead for good at 35-30 with 4:53 left.

Rarified Air

Haener has completed 73 percent of his passes for 368.4 yards while throwing 15 TD passes against only two picks in his 186 attempts and has proven he belongs with all of the FBS quarterbacks as his futures are like lava in a volcano.

At (+3500), he has already passed Georgia QB JT Daniels (+4000) and North Carolina’s Sam Howell (+4000) and is currently tied with Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson (+3500). Haener also has Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (+3000) and Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (+2500) in his crosshairs.

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (+160) and Alabama’s Bryce Young (+185) lead the race as the winner of Saturday’s game could provide the outcome of the Heisman race in the end.

Carrying the Mantra for the Group of Fives

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (+1600) is third in Heisman odds behind Corral and Young and is also seen at (+1500) on some odd boards.

Please Note:
He and Haener have staked a pair of solid programs in position to at least get into a New Year’s Day Bowl game where the stodgy BCS committee willingly looks the other way where a 13-0 or 12-1 Group of 5 team is in play. Haener had the Bulldogs on the cusp of an upset of No. 3 Oregon as they held a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter before losing 31-24. He threw for 298 yards in completing 30-of-43 passes. Fresno State easily covered the (+20.5) spread as the moneyline paid at (+800) while the UNDER (-110) was the play.

So far this season, Haener has outplayed Oregon QB Anthony Brown (+4000) and UCLA’s Dorian Thompson Robinson (+10000), who were sitting on the Heisman boards before he was even entered.

Cincinnati’s Ridder was on the board in the preseason with (+5000) odds and moved to (+2500) after the Bearcats’ win over Miami (Ohio). After he threw for 243 yards and two scores in Cincy’s 42-7 win over Murray State on and pushed to (+2000). Ridder, the quintessential dual-threat quarterback, has passed for 249.7 yards on average in the Bearcats’ 3-0 start with seven TD passes and two interceptions. He also has 72 yards on 20 carries with a pair of TD runs.

Cincy can stake itself deeper into the national championship picture if the Bearcats can win at Notre Dame on Saturday, where they are a (-2.5) favorite over the Fighting Irish and have a moneyline number cast at (-125).

Bark at the Park

Fresno State is currently running neck and neck with Boise State in odds to win the Mountain West as the Bulldogs are posted at (+210) while the Broncos are still favored at the online sportsbooks by a razor’s edge at (+190).

Nevada (+500), San Diego State (+800), Wyoming (+1000) and San Jose State (+1200) are all in the mix.

The Wolfpack and Aztecs have come up strong in the non-conference with wins over Cal and Utah, respectively.

  • Going into the season, Fresno State was listed as the sixth most likely team to win the Mountain West as the ‘Dogs are sitting at (+2000).
  • Before the season began, Boise State was the conference favorite at (-125) as Nevada checked in at (+333). San Jose State, the defending Mountain West champion, was at (+600) with Wyoming (+900), Hawaii at (+1200), and San Diego State (+1800).

The Bulldogs square off with Hawaii in Honolulu on Saturday evening as they are a 10-point favorite (-110), with the OVER/UNDER standing at 61.5. Fresno State is posting (-400) on the moneyline while the Rainbow Warriors are at (+300).

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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