San Jose State was whipped, 41-21 and it wasn't nearly as close as that score hints. Fresno State fans have a lot to be happy about in Bulldog land. Everything is not all roses and lollipops, of course, but the good stuff sure as hell outweighs the crap.
1. A Question of Focus
The first few minutes of the game were puzzling. The guys were not very fired up, coming onto the field, and there was a strange sense of "going through the motions", culminating in the first completed pass being caught and immediately fumbled away! The lack of focus continued until the ground game began to churn and people got "into" the flow of the action. After that, it was "Katie, bar the door..."
2. Ryan Mathews
I sit right behind the Bulldog bench, six rows up. I took my wife to the game, last night (instead of a client) and, before the game started, we watched Ryan walk over to the side fence, right in front of us, to sign a white Bulldog hat for a young fan. My wife had never seen Ryan up close and in person. She was impressed. Hell, so was I! The guy is chiseled, to say the least.
Fairly early, in the game, Mathews cut left and came racing to the sideline, where he met a Spartan defensive back. That poor guy. The stiff arm, right in front of us, was so fierce and effective (the guy went all the way to the ground and Ryan ran over him) that my wife gasped.
"Does he always do that?" she asked. "Pretty often..." I said.
Think about being one of the defensive backs for an opposing team when Mathews busts through the linebackers. Sound like fun, to you? As Dick Tomey said, "the sledgehammer".
Mathews is literally vaulting over tons of talent in American college football. Now far ahead, with over 160 yards per game, he is unchallenged as the top rusher in the country.
He is already closing fast on 1,000 yards, and he has played only about 19-20 quarters of D1 football, this year. Also, a lot of his yards have come against quality teams. He laid 234 on Boise and gaine over a hundred at Camp Randall and 148 at Cincinnati. He is an equal opportunity steamroller.
Is 2,000 yards rushing for 2009 a possibilty?
Yes. It appears, in fact, to be totally reasonable. Consider - If the ‘Dogs win 3 more games; they are bowl eligible that means a 13-game season. If Mathews averages 146 yards for those remaining seven games, he will reach 2,000 for the season. That, my friend, is doable.
It will also put him in select company. It will also put him in the NFL...
Oh, well, enjoy him while he's here. A bona fide All-American.
(There are only two home games, left. Why wouldn't you want to watch a Bulldog All-American in what may be his last two home games?)
3. Ebahn Feathers
It is pure Kool Aid fun, as a Bulldog fan, to look up and see No. 3, Ebahn Feathers, preparing to take a snap as QB - and right behind him, playing tailback, stands No. 8 – “Mighty Mouse” Robbie Rouse. That combo has to be a nightmare-come-to-life for opposing defensive coordinators.
He was pretty effective Saturday night that wild bolt for the left sideline, only to toss it into the end zone to a waiting Marlon Moore...
That was highlight reel material.
You know, when you think about it, not many quarterbacks could have made that play. The foot-speed to get that far, un-tackled, and the ability to toss it, while struggling with a defender all pretty impressive.
By the way, I would like to lobby for a few offensive plays that use Feathers as a pure tailback. I know he wants to be considered a QB, but just two or three times a game, I would like to see him running the ball. He has great moves, shocking acceleration and good size.
Just another weapon in the gun case...
4. The Offensive Line
Or, as I like to call 'em, the road graders. These guys are the supercharged engines that moves the Bulldog offense down the field. They are the turbo diesels that propel that Fresno State battle tank called the running game.
I know, I know – they were three sacks Saturday night, but some of that failed blocking was by "others", like the running backs and tight ends. The o-line does deserve to catch some of the blame, but their awesome run blocking MORE than makes up for the problems.
They are growing closer, as a unit. They hang out, on and off the field, a good bit. They are learning each other's moves, strengths and tendencies. They know what works and how to accomplish certain maneuvers that create holes - and Ryan Mathews doesn't need much of a hole.
5. Ryan Colburn
Colburn is doing what he is supposed to do. Completing passes and managing the scary-good ground game. More importantly, he has played two consecutive games without an interception. That is a very good thing.
Look, if fans bitch and moan when he throws 'em (and I do), fans should celebrate and brag on him when he doesn't (so, I am).
Colburn has passed for over 1,000 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. That is the first half of his first season and that is pretty damn good, if you ask me.
I feel comfortable, knowing Colburn is playing quarterback. He is solid. He is not an All-American, but still solid. FS can win ALL the rest of its games, this year, with him playing. That's good enough for me.
6. Desia Dunn
This young man, No. 24, has elevated his personal game. I believe he was a walk-on, a guy who has asserted himself and earned a starting role. He is rapidly becoming an aggressive, hard-hitting cornerback that has served notice on the entire WAC. He will be waiting for the ball (and potential wide receiver victims) to come his way. I like his attitude.
He also plays on special teams and competes with another head hunter, Travis Brown, to see who will get to the ball carrier first. We need him. Great development!
7. Robbie Rouse
Did you know that Lil’ Robbie (as Mathews calls him) already has four touchdowns? Did you know he is one of the best in the nation, with over eight yards per carry? He also seems to have a nose for the end zone.
It is no longer the exclusive domain of Mathews, Miller and Harding. Rouse might just get the ball if it is 3rd-and-goal from the seven. This guy is simply too good to leave on the bench. He has too much to contribute to be ignored.
8. No. 77
I have read some snide comments about the interior defensive line, so, I gotta tell you this. Sometimes I just watch one guy, for few plays. I happened to be watching No. 77, Logan Harrell, Saturday night.
FS had the Spartans backed up to about their 15, or 20. Here came the pass rush, with Logan blasting in from the left side. He had already started his leap at quarterback Jordan La Secla, when the throw was made. He went ahead and nailed him, only to be flagged for roughing the passer.
A questionable call? What is a pass rusher supposed to do, if a quarterback pump fakes? Stop rushing? Hold off tackling? Huh?
Good stuff, Logan. Get some...
Chris Lewis and Chris Carter and the rest are bringing the heat, as well. Upgrade to the defense, because of them.
9. Jeff Grady
Still loving that play calling, gotta do what works and use the weapons at hand. As Darrel Royal used to say, "You gotta dance with the one that brung ya..."
10. Ed Dilihunt
Usually don't talk about potential recruits, but this young man from Tulare is special. He just gave Coach Hill his verbal commitment Saturday night.
He is projected as an athlete/safety. At 5'11'' – 6-feet tall and 205 pounds, he is a hard, solid young man, sound tackler and hard hitter with great awareness and football sense. He is physically mature for his age, has good grades, and is a good person. He had multiple offers from Pac-10 schools. Fresno State fans are lucky to be getting him.
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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