Fresno State flew out to the rock and took on the Hawaii Warriors, Saturday, in their house. It was a sadly weakened Hawaii crew, however, with their best player (QB Bryant Moniz) out, and their best wide receiver coming off an injury. The Bulldogs survived a huge Warrior rally and squeaked out a win, 24-21. Good job, overall. A win was needed, badly. Good stuff.
1. The game, viewed strategically
Fresno State came out smoking. An early bomb, a long bomb, perfectly thrown, split two defenders and nailed Jalen Saunders for a touchdown. Then, the Bulldog defense took the field and shocked onlookers and the TV audience by playing with passion and excitement and determination. Hell, for several plays, the defensive backfield even looked competent.
New defensive coordinator Tim Skipper had clearly grabbed the defense’s attention and fired them up. Hawaii was quickly shut down. The ‘Dogs marched back down the field, two more times, mostly by aerial assault, with lots of deep throws to fleet footed FS receivers and the brilliant consistency of Robbie Rouse, toting the pigskin.
After the first quarter, just as they got into the second, Fresno State had racked up 220 yards of offense and the score was 17-0. Derek Carr passed for nearly 140 yards and Robbie Rouse had like 80 yards rushing – for the quarter! The last few plays in the last drive of the first quarter carried over into the beginning of the second.
Then, things changed, drastically.
For the next three quarters, Fresno State produced conservative, clock-grinding football.
Seven measly points and 270 total yards, in three quarters, while the defense allowed 21 points, mostly on three huge plays, through horribly blown coverage, missed assignments, and badly played defensive football.
The score stood at 21-17, Hawaii. Then Carr connected with Josh Harper (another beautiful throw) for the coffin nail, 24-21. The defense woke up, at the end, and staved off a last, desperate Hawaii surge.
2. Same old, same old
Get this, after the 220-yard first quarter, the next three quarters, the offense averaged 90 yards per quarter and seven total points!
The big difference?
Derek Carr was "unleashed" in the first, and was free to use that amazing, God-given arm, and some of the best wide receivers in the country to dismantle the Warriors. He ate Hawaii alive. Robbie Rouse was excellent, as well, no doubt.
In the next three quarters, Carr was shackled, manacled, handcuffed, and stifled. In my estimation, he was clearly told to run the clock out for the remaining three quarters of the game!
Yes, I am serious.
Haven't you seen that, before?
Pat Hill starts playing "not to lose.”
He somehow forgets how he got that big, 17-point lead, and he starts trying to hang on, run the clock - and - somehow, keep from losing.
Where I was raised, in West Texas, before we moved to Fresno in the 80's and I became a Bulldog fan, we used to say, about football strategy, "Ya gotta dance with the one that brung ya..." Pat forgot who brought him that 17-point lead... It was the golden arm of Derek Carr.
3. Robbie Rouse
At this point, the guy, except for Ryan Mathews, is maybe the best running back the ‘Dogs ever had.
4. Derek Carr
At this point in his career (11 games), Derek Carr is, quite definitely, the best quarterback the ‘Dogs ever had. Ever.
5. WAC TV coverage
May be the worst, hokiest, unprofessional, badly televised, horribly hosted, fuzzily filmed, ineptly staged, amateurishly produced, and moronically managed TV coverage in all of American College Football.
Just my humble opinion, and I am trying to be objective...
Tim Skipper deserves a chance. The defense DID play significantly better. If they improve as much by San Jose State as they did this week, fans might see another win.
7. With Apologies
Pat Hill still needs to go.
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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