McIntyre’s brother makes Bulldogs’ debut |

McIntyre’s brother makes Bulldogs’ debut

Steve Yingling

When Justin McIntyre ran onto the field late in the third quarter to join the Fresno State defense on Tuesday night there were probably some Bulldogs’ fans who were questioning why Pat Hill was inserting his All-American candidate with the game already in hand.

Being mistaken for older brother Garrett goes with the territory of following “Big Mac” at South Tahoe High and now at Fresno State.

“The first month I was here I got mistaken for Garrett five to 10 times a day,” Justin said. “Sometimes I don’t want to explain it to them and I’ll go along with it and not make them look stupid and other times I’ll take the time to explain it to them.”

It’s a honest mistake. They look very similar and they each make things happen on the football field.

Justin saw his first action as a Bulldog on Tuesday night, making two tackles in Fresno State’s 44-14 romp over Toledo.

“I was more nervous than I’ve ever been in my life,” said the 245-pound defensive lineman whose last football game was the 2004 Sertoma Classic. “My heart was beating faster than it’s ever beaten before and I was exhaused by the 10th play.”

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Justin sucked it up for seven more plays and afterward was told by coaches that they were pleased with his effort.

“I anticipated that they’d play a lot harder than they did. I thought they were softer than what I had seen when I watched film,” said the redshirt freshman.

The Bulldogs’ coaching staff have moved Justin inside from end to nose guard this fall to take advantage of his upperbody strength.

As often as Justin is mistaken for Garrett on campus, the former fierce pass rush at STHS is creating his own identity in the team’s weight room. He recently set a record with a 400-pound hang clean and he’s nearing his brother’s mark for the power clean.

“I’m really undersized at my position, but I’m really strong so it really makes up for it,” he said. “I’m the fourth or fifth strongest on the team right now.”

Garrett missed his second straight game for the Bulldogs. Justin said Garrett would have played if Toledo had built on an early 7-0 lead.

“He didn’t feel 100 percent last night,” Justin said.

At some point this season Justin wants to play alongside his brother on the defensive front.

“I’d love to do that more than anything … I’d love to play next to him. It depends on how good I do in the next few games,” he said.