It seems that every year Fresno State cannot get over the hump that is known as the Oregon Ducks. Last night time and time again Fresno State had a chance to take a game from the Ducks. Unfortunately as fate would have it the Bulldogs were not going to end up the victors on this beautiful night of football.
Most people are going to look back on this game as the game that our special teams lost. However, I do not percieve this game that way at all. Fresno State had many chances to stop Oregon on defense far before the special teams even came into play. Countless times third and long turned into a first down as Oregon smartly threw to Jenkins and Simmons side continuously. From time to time Oregon tried to go to MCauley's side only to fail. Last night Marcus McCauley played one of the better games in his Fresno State career. If McCauley weren't knocking down passes he would be drilling Oregon Ducks play after play and this all happened after he endured a helmet to helmet hit from a Duck in the first quarter. McCauley's absence was noticeable as Oregon drove down the field easily without him in the game and scored a touchdown.
One thing that should come from this game is the promise of Tom Brandstater. Brandstater played with poise and toughness that we haven't seen in a Fresno State quarterback since the days of Trent Dilfer. Brandstater was punished play after play by the blitzing Oregon defense, but would get up and take Fresno State down field giving them a chance to win. I know most people in Fresno are going to take this loss hard because the Bulldogs had a chance to win, but do realize we are a young team. Our skilled positions are young (with most of them being sophomores or younger) and full of promise. Lonyae Miller filled in admirably for Dwayne Wright at running back. Although both Jenkins and Simmons were continually picked on at the corner opposite McCauley, they are gaining valuable experience while out there. Brandstater is a sophomore, and we have four freshman receivers with Chastin West already making an impact.
Overall I was very pleased with the Bulldogs effort last night. Most believe that the season is now lost but I feel that is far from true. Although the road is tough Fresno can rebound next week against a much improved Washington team. Look for Fresno to come out firing on all cylinders next week after a loss like this. I will say it now, the Bulldogs will begin a four game winning streak next weekend at Washington leading into our game at LSU. The fan support last night was unreal. Keep up the great fan support and hopefully down the line the Bulldogs will repay the fans for the great support they are giving them this season.
Other WAC Games
1) San Jose State 35 Stanford 34 - In an upset San Jose State came back to beat the Cardinal after trailing 34-14. Give the Spartans credit. They are much improved and will give many teams in the WAC much more of a game than they are ready for.
2) Arizona State 52 Nevada 21
3) Washington State 56 Idaho 10
4) Arkansas 20 Utah State 0
5) New Mexico 34 New Mexico State 28