The game was gratifying in several regards. Robbie Rouse, of course, was the hero of the day (more on him, below). The Fresno State defense also shined, in final analysis. Jamel Hamler re-emerged as the stud "go-to" receiver. The run D shut down an excellent, ex-SEC running back (I believe he came to Louisiana Tech from the Tennessee Volunteers) and the Bulldogs produced a respectable pass rush, with one sack and multiple tackles for loss. One of Bulldog defensive backs got a pick and special teams (Austin Raphael) blocked a punt. Nice.
2. The Bad
The number of poorly thrown passes, to wide-open receivers, from a QB that can do a lot better. I counted at least five (5) passes that were thrown WAY over the head of open receivers or BEHIND crossing receivers, or, on one throw, far AHEAD of a guy crossing the middle.
(BTW, the one pick Ryan Colburn did throw was not his fault. The WR fell down and the DB said, "Oh, look, an interception on a silver platter!")
I know he was 20-of-33 for over 200 yards and three touchdowns to Jamel Hamler. The numbers were... competent... (60% is sort of "meh"). But those inaccurate passes will cost the Dogs dearly against better opponents (like Nevada, Boise State, and Illinois - all coming up soon).
Don't misunderstand. I believe Ryan Colburn is a decent D1 QB. He is not a world-beater, but he is competent. He just didn't have his best game, yesterday. FS needs him to have a much better day, Saturday, or Nevada is going to beat Fresno State badly. After that it's Boise on the blue rug - and if Colburn has a perfect day the Dogs MIGHT stay within 14 points, otherwise it will be 61-10, all over again.
3. The Ugly
Open field tackling.
It was ugly.
At times, unwatchable. On one horrible example, Fresno State had six (6) consecutive guys grab and actually touch a La. Tech runner without wrapping him up. By the way, the Dogs had NO answer for the Swamp Dogs' scary kick returner, Philip Livas, who torched Fresno State all day.
Hate the broken record, but open field tackling like that versus Nevada, Boise State, and Illinois will bring three lopsided losses, very quickly.
4. Otherwise, a mostly solid Defensive effort
The defensive scheme worked. There were a few "spasms" at the outset, but the ‘Dogs D settled into a pretty impressive performance. Fresno State held the La. Tech's running back, Lennon Creer, to just 56 yards rushing, total, for the night. Just so you know, Creer had 149 yards and two touchdowns against Boise Oct. 26.
There was also significant pressure applied to the La. Tech QB Ross Jenkins, pretty much all night. Pass rush specialist DT Logan Harrell sacked Jenkins once and there were several "hurries", pressured throws, and "near sacks", as well. DE Chris Carter was well represented in all of these efforts.
Deeply disturbing were the possible injuries to two of the Bulldogs' best defenders, Phillip Thomas and Jermaine Thomas. Here's hoping it was nothing serious. We need BOTH those gentlemen to play on Saturday.
Let me praise CB Desia Dunn for a nice pick. Somewhat rare in Bulldog land, interceptions are occasions to be celebrated and trumpeted from the rooftops. More, please.
5. Robbie Rouse is getting famous
This young man is fired up, energetic, quicker than he looks, stronger than he looks and absolutely fearless.
A lot of my friends have been saying...
"He's too small."
"He'll never last."
"He is not an every-down back..."
They didn't really have too much to say, after last night's performance.
Rouse just ran roughshod over the La. Tech D. He juked, jittered, wiggled, and dodged and - on multiple occasions - broke free for surprising bursts of speed (and yardage) looking for pay dirt.
Rouse carried the ball a school record 43 times (!) for a total of 286 yards and scored one touchdown. The most amazing fact? How FRESH and energized he still looked, at the end of the game! The dude could have played another quarter! Seriously! He wore the La. Tech defense OUT. I am not sure Pat Hill needs to run Robbie 43 times a game (especially against Boise - the best run D Fresno will face, this year), but he certainly has held up, thus far.
Candidate for the epitome of a Bulldog footballer, Robbie Rouse has become the featured back on this football team.
6. Jamel Hamler
This is the Bulldogs best receiver. Period. He is an M6 BMW - kinda classy, reliable, and (one day) even more expensive.
Yeah, him. I worry. He obliterated Idaho, personally – 320 yards passing, five touchdowns, and no interceptions and no sacks. Also, Nevada had three backs with at least 100 yards rushing.
Hope the Bulldogs focus, this week. Hope Andrew Jackson gets healthy.
See you in seven days.
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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