Fresno State was soundly whipped by a team it should have beaten. Objectively speaking – let me ask: Is Hawaii bigger than the Bulldogs? Faster? More experienced? More talented? Lets see... uhhh, no, no, no, and no. So, what happened? Well, let's take a look at that…
1. A decent first half
A review of the game shows that, defensively, the ‘Dogs hung with Hawaii for the first half – what was it, 14-10 at the half?
The pass rush mostly took away Hawaii's passing game, for two quarters. Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz was hounded, hurried, and harassed – and he had difficulty connecting with his receivers. Meanwhile, the FS offense sputtered and spasmed. The Bulldogs looked confused and distracted. They were the opposite of a "well-oiled machine.” The running game was hit and miss and the passing game was inconsistent – but still, the ‘Dogs hung in there.
2. A disastrous second half
After the half, the Bulldogs simply collapsed.
Several team units basically failed to perform – including the COACHING unit!
The offensive line was... well, it was offensive. There was very little pass protection and the running game was weak and ineffective.
The Dogs' run defense in the second half was reminiscent of last year's team – close to being the worst run defense in the nation.
As to coaching, it appears undeniable that the adjustments Hawaii made at the half were far more effective than the adjustments the Bulldogs made. Hawaii only outscored FS by four points in the 1st half. In the 2nd? They outscored the ‘Dogs by 18 points. So, they beat FS in the first half, and whipped them in the second.
3. The numbers don't lie
Hawaii's offense produced 472 yards and six touchdowns. 376 of those yards were in the form of passing from Bryant Moniz. The Bulldogs just couldn't stop their offensive game plan. They had no effective answers to their attack.
Meanwhile, Ryan Colburn was having a miserable evening. He completed 19-of-37 for 258 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. That's a deplorable 51% of his passes and constituted his worst performance (by far) this year. He was sacked at least three times, although it looked a lot worse than that, as he was hurried and chased and pressured all night long.
The running game was puny.
Yes, Robbie Rouse did have 43 yards on nine carries, for a 4.8 yd per carry average. However, he had one (admittedly spectacular) run for 25 yards. The rest of his night was 18 yards on eight carries...! That's a miserable 2.2 yards per carry.
The passing game was OK – about half the time. It sputtered badly, however and was not consistently effective. Jalen Saunders and Rashad Evans and Jamel Hamler were bright spots in an otherwise dismal team performance.
4. A depressing outlook
Things don't bode well for the Bulldogs’ immediate future, given that performance. Yes, they play New Mexico State next, followed by San Jose and those may well be considered games they should win, but those are followed by Louisiana Tech (in Ruston), Nevada, and Boise on the blue rug, three games they now appear likely to lose. In addition, the ‘Dogs end up the season against Illinois, a team that just beat Penn State, on the Nittany Lions' home field, 33-13. So, they face the realistic possibility of losing six games this year, and ending up 6-6 for the year. Depressing, indeed.
5. The Mountain West won't be any easier
Just sayin'...... If Fresno State struggles with conference games in the WAC, is it going to dominate in the MWC? That conference adds nationally ranked TCU and Air Force to ranked Nevada and Boise. Does that mean the Bulldogs can aim for fifth place, if they play well...? Oh, goody.
Sorry if I sound discouraged... 'cause I am.
Redroadster is highly regarded attorney in the Central Valley, a loyal Bulldog fan, and a regular poster/contributor on BarkBoard.com. Check in time to time for his take on games and other Bulldog athletic events in his View from the Roadster.
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