1. Kudos to the Bulldog D.
The second half was solid. Utah State did not score a point in the last half of that game, at all. The Aggies ran up over 300 yards of total offense in the first half, but they were held to less than 150, and zero points, in the second half! Fresno State played its best defensive half of the season. And it came at a time when it was desperately needed. Nice.
2. Derek Carr.
This young man continues to develop into a stellar D1 quarterback. His numbers for the game were solid – 23-of-39 for 248 yards and NO interceptions. That's about a 60% completion rate... decent performance. I was more impressed, however, with his "trickery" and game-awareness. I also LOVED that fake handoff to Rouse, where Derek kept the ball and took off around the left end for a nice gain.
Carr also has an unquenchable, infectious enthusiasm for the game. He obviously loves playing college football. There was one hilarious moment where he was so pumped, he tried to hug Pat Hill and Hill staved him off, in order to make a serious point for Carr to consider... funny stuff.
3. Robbie Rouse.
Is it possible that Fresno fans tend to take Rouse for granted. That would be sad, if true. Robbie Rouse is a HUGE part of any success the Bulldogs have enjoyed. He is rapidly becoming one of the best running backs in school history (now No. 6, all time). And, on Saturday night, Utah State just couldn't handle him! Rouse ran over the Aggies for 140 yards (5.8 yards per carry).
There are many things to enjoy about Rouse. His quickness, his low center of gravity, his amazing strength for a man his size... But my favorite Robbie Rouse attribute, by far, is his second and third effort. The guy never gives up! Just when it looks like he is stopped and is going down, he wiggles, pops, and shoves and fights for that extra two or three yards. Love it. He is a keeper. Yes, he does get the lion's share of the carries, but he deserves it.
4. Zak Hill.
Hill has taken a lot of grief, in his career at Fresno. I've dished him a good bit of it, myself. Saturday night, however, Zak Hill played the best game I have ever seen him play in a Bulldog uniform. Solid. Not perfect, but solid. That was a competent performance at safety. He made a significant contribution to the defensive victory over the Aggies. If he keeps playing at that level, he will shut a lot of mouths.
5. Jalen Saunders.
Best play of the game. Thought he was stopped for a five, six-yard gain on a 3rd-and-14 play, early in the fourth. Looked like a little screen to the right, where Carr sliced a side-arm throw to Saunders. Not going to make it. Then, all of a sudden, Saunders stopped, juked a couple guys, ran back to his left, ran all the way around the left side and took off for a 23-yard footrace down the left sideline for a touchdown. Sweet. Saunders could start for any team in America. He's that good.
6. Travis Brown.
Brown has been playing very well, this year. However, he had an extra-good game, Saturday – all over the field, making tackles, batting down passes, stopping the run. He is becoming the proto-typical Bulldog linebacker. Glad we've got him.
7. Tristan Okpalaugo.
I may not be able to say his name, but I can recognize the talent, with ease. Eight (8) tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble – super effort from an excited and exciting player at the defensive end position. His future looks bright.
Looking forward to Reno, come Saturday. See you then.
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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