The unvarnished truth? Fresno State played a pretty decent game, in the first half. In the second half? Pretty crappy.
In the first half, FS scored 30 points, while holding the Aggies to 3. In the second, the Bulldogs scored 3 points, while allowing the Aggies 7. That was not a stellar performance against, literally, one of the worst teams in the country.
We all know that a lot of this disparity can be blamed on the play calling - Pat Hill clearly wanted to run the clock after halftime - so we saw a lot of running the football up the middle - usually for little gain.
2. The offense, even when it works, continues to sputter and misfire
The Bulldog offense, the last couple of games, reminds me of a guy who lived across the street, when I was a kid.
He had an old Chevy (I think it was a '53) and he always had trouble, getting it to start. He used to raise the hood and pour raw gasoline into the carburetor while his brother cranked the starter. There would be a huge bang, flames would shoot out, and the car would roar to life, briefly, only to die again.
That's Fresno State...!
Just seems the ‘Dogs always have trouble getting the O started. Then, suddenly, there is a bang and some fireworks, but soon the action dies down, the offense sputters, pops, and misfires again.
Not a reliable, smooth running machine. Needs work.
3. Robbie Rouse was a splash of gasoline
Rouse has caught some flack, this year, some of it fired by this column, but he certainly won over some skeptics with his performance Saturday night –150 yards on 16 carries, for a 9.4 average per carry. He also had two huge touchdown runs, of 57 yards and 38 yards, respectively. Sweet.
Robbie seems to have recovered some of the zip he lost, from last year. He is quicker to hit the hole and seemed more determined, breaking through the line and shrugging off arm tackles. Excellent play.
4. Chris Carter
Speaking of excellence, how about the performance of Mr. Carter, he is surely one of the best defensive ends ever to play at Fresno State.
Carter was phenomenal, racking up amazing numbers and garnering national recognition, in the process. He was named the National Defensive Lineman of the Week by College Football Performance.com.
Carter had nine tackles, to lead the team. He also had four tackles for loss, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. I am quite sure the two quarterbacks that played for NMSU are less than eager to see No. 43 - ever again. Equally depressed are those opposing offensive linemen who just were BEATEN on play after play, all night long.
I was pretty shocked, when I looked up the latest NCAA stats, to see that the No. 4 and No. 5 sack masters, in the nation, are Fresno's own Logan Harrell (7.5 sacks) and Chris Carter (7 sacks). One thing is for sure. If you play Fresno State, you can be certain their D linemen are going to be coming after your quarterback!
5. Two freshman lightning bolts
I am speaking, now, of Isaiah Burse and Jalen Saunders. These two young men, both true freshmen, are now a huge part of the Bulldog offense. Their speed and skill is something to behold. Saunders is a first class D1 kickoff returner who could play for any team in the country. He is also a superb wide receiver and general purpose WR/back/slash/slot/punt returner, etc. Ditto Isaiah Burse. That double reverse play with the highlight-reel dive into the end zone - well, that was "eye-pooping", indeed.
Some players, when they go down to injury, although they may not be irreplaceable, they certainly leave a huge hole, and the team's potency is lessened because they are gone. Here are three examples:
A. RG Andrew Jackson - How do you replace a bona fide All-American candidate and the best guard in the WAC? You don't. Truth be told, the o-line has suffered a huge loss because of his absence. Hope to see you soon, big guy!
B. WR Devon Wylie - Yeah, yeah, I know the drill. He's fragile, he's always hurt, yada, yada, yada...But the question remains, how do you replace the fastest guy to ever wear a Bulldog uniform? A guy who was a feared and highly dangerous weapon when healthy? Not easily - but Saunders, Burse, Evans, et al are doing a pretty nice job filling in.
C. SS Philip Thomas - I know he was only out one game (so far), but I am not interested in losing him for any more! That guy is a leader by example, on the field. One of the surest tacklers Fresno State has ever had. Very hard to replace.
7. Ryan Colburn
The Bulldog quarterback only had a mediocre night, in this writer's opinion. We have certainly seen better from him – 12-of-20 for 132 yards... really? That's 60% and he averaged three throws completed per quarter during the game. Is that enough? In addition, there were at least three passes that were rather poorly thrown - i.e., WAY too high, or way behind, etc. It wasn't pretty.
Hope we see more fireworks versus San Jose. Go Dogs!
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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