Monday, December 26, 2005
It is the battle of the Pauls. Fresno State senior Paul Pinegar versus Tulsa sophomore Paul Smith. Each one is capable of taking control of the game and pulling out the win. Bulldog fans had a hard-on for Pinegar after his career performance at Oregon in a near win for the' Dogs back in September. However, Bulldog fans have been just as quick to throw the senior under the bus after his turnover fests at USC and against Louisiana Tech. Smith played sparingly as a true freshman in 2003 and redshirted last year during the Golden Hurricane's 4-7 year. He has calmly taken over for James Killian and led Tulsa to their first Conference USA title in 2005.
Pinegar would probably love nothing more than to win this game with his arm to show the Bulldog faithful he is not lacking talent. It won't happen. First, Pinegar is a team player. He has battled numerous injuries, dealt with unheard of fan hatred as a Bulldog starting quarterback and still became the best statistical quarterback in Fresno State history. Pinegar will probably not have to shine in his last game if Pat Hill sticks with a pounding ground game. But without fullback Roshon Vercher, the game could come down to how well Pinegar performs. It should be interesting to see if Hill and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti let Pinegar air it out one last time.
Smith, on the other hand, does not have so much pressure. Sure the Fresno State defense is the best he will have seen since Oklahoma, but he has the best safety net in all of college football, tight end Garrett Mills. To top it off, the vaunted Bulldog defense has hit rock bottom since about midway through the second quarter at the Coliseum. Smith could have a field day with the right game plan.
Paul Pinegar 12 149.73 386-246-13 63.7 3122 29 98 260.2
Smith, Paul 12 142.19 337-209-6 62.0 2613 19 66 217.8