Monday, September 12, 2005
'Dogs Looked Good, Await Ducks
From whatever point view, Saturday's win over Weber State, had its highs and lows. Weber State was an alternate replacement for any BCS team that would have played Fresno State this past Saturday or the week before. The Wildcats were sought out because of head coach Ron McBride's smash mouth style of football. Weber State, as well, was looking for a good Division I-A team to measure themselves against. It did not work out for either team.
Everything worked perfect for Fresno State in the first half. The Bulldogs scored on five of six possessions, the only shortfall was Clint Stitser's 53 yard missed field goal. Weber State, on the other hand, faced a 21-0 deficient before obtaining a first down, and gaining only three yards of total offense. The Wildcats had to abandon the run game, and were forced to pass to keep up.
Fresno State had a 42-10 halftime lead, and the second string defense was already getting a majority of reps by the second quarter. The outcome was never in doubt, and Pat Hill could have laid 100 on Weber State if he wanted to. Paul Pinegar was amazing. He only missed on four passes and is currently third in the nation in passing efficiency. But, there are those that are going to say Fresno State let up, and better improve or Oregon is going to wax them.
What is Pat Hill suppose to do? The run game seemed rather pedestrian? That is because the passing game was open and Pinegar was hot.
The pass defense gave up too many yards? And, there was no pressure on Weber's quarterback Ian Pizzaro? Fresno State ran base zone defense for most of the night, and rushed only the front four 95% of the time.
Clifton Smith did not line up once at tailback, let alone have a carry. Last year's starter Bryson Sumlin gained all of his 68 yards in the second half with the second team offense. Wendell Mathis had only 14 carries for a decent 77 yards, but matched a career high with three touchdowns. Bulldogs ran basic formations against Weber State, and had remarkable success finding open receivers. Especially, tight end Devyn McDonald who doubled his career receptions Saturday night with his 4 grabs for 67 yards.
Tyrone Culver intercepted Pizzaro on Weber State's first play from scrimmage. The first team defense gave up only three yards before the second string starting getting reps. The first and second team defensive line forced Pizzaro outside the pocket all night long. Pizzaro's scrappy play kept the defense from getting more sacks than only Jon Monga's, early in the fourth quarter. Josh Sherley looked every bit as good as James Sanders in run support. Awan Diles, despite being clocked by Wildcat receiver Terry Larsen on a block, was impressive in pass situations. Fresno State played a very loose zone after the 'Dogs posted a 21-0 lead. It was apparent Pat Hill did not want to show anything did not have to in a sure win. The puzzling issue, what was Garrett McIntyre doing in the game late in the third, when he went down with a sprain?
Now, what should concern Bulldog fans? One, if Fresno State had trouble containing Pizzaro, Oregon's Kellen Clemens is a much better runner and scrambler. Two, if Fresno State scores as quickly as they did against Weber State, the defense could tire, and allow Oregon to find holes in the pass defense. Finally, Fresno State did not really get the power run attack from the Wildcats as they had hoped. The Bulldog's run defense is still untested, however, Oregon's run game is still unproven, too.
The Bulldogs will be tested next week against Oregon, and that is when the Bulldogs will really open it up. If you are Oregon, what do you take away from Fresno State's romp over Weber State? One, Paul Pinegar is healthy, and the passing game must be respected. Two, although, Fresno State did not dominate Weber State with the run, Mathis and Sumlin are two distinct backs that come right at you. Three, how do we attack the Fresno State defense? Run or Pass? Finally, who in the hell is Clifton Smith? Batman? Batman Returns, punts for touchdowns? He will line up at tailback, too? One down, eleven to go.
Senior All-WAC defensive end Garrett McIntyre will likely miss Saturday's tilt at Oregon, with a high ankle sprain. Without McIntyre, Fresno State will be without its best pass rusher against the new "Oregon" offense. New Duck offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, former head coach of BYU, installed the offense this year. It is a hybrid of his old offense from BYU and the spread run by Florida's Urban Meyer, with some elements of the pro style traditionally used by Oregon. McIntyre's absence will be huge break for Oregon and a tough one for the Bulldogs.
Complete Oregon preview later this week.....check out my top 25 at MDG CFB .