As all of you already know Fresno State and Nevada played an exciting football game Friday with the Bulldogs coming out on top 28-19. I have to say I was very surprised by how well Fresno State played. I said the Bulldogs would win by seven when in fact they won by nine, but it could have been a much different game if one play here or there were to be changed. If Dwayne Wright did not fumble on the first drive the Bulldogs would have had seven more points. If Paul Williams catch in the fourth quarter had been ruled a catch Fresno would have had at least three more points. If Nevada did not miss an extra point early in the game they would have scored at least two more points. I can say if, but, or and but the fact is Fresno State played a near perfect first game with their new quarerback at the helm. Here are the things that impressed me the most about the Bulldogs this past weekend.
1) Brandstater's decision making: I questioned Tom Brandstater more than anyone from Bulldog nation. I did not think he would be ready to play for us, and I was wrong. He made one questionable throw the entire game. Each deep ball he put up could only be caught by a Fresno State player. When he would make a bad throw it was too deep for anyone to catch. If he rolled out and could not find anyone he did not throw the ball into coverage but instead ran with it. Brandstater has good mobility and a cannon arm to the outside. He hit Fernandez countless times right in the chest on balls he had to throw 25 yards to the hashes. Overall Tom stayed away from making mistakes, and as a Fresno fan what more could you ask for out of a qb?
2) Dwayne Wright: Everything about this man was phenominal. On two different plays he carried five-six players on his back while acquiring key first downs in the game. There is no question Wright is back and ready to assume the role of starting running back. I was also impressed with Lonyae Miller in his debut. He looked confident and ran through holes with explosive speed. He is going to be a great back in the near future.
3) The Offensive Line: If no one noticed Brandstater was touched maybe three times the entire game. There were plays were Brandstate sat back and waited for seconds upon seconds to throw the ball. Our offensive line also opened up massive holes for Wright and Miller to run through. Without these guys our run game would not have been nearly as effective as it ended up being.
4) Clint Stitser/Robert Malone: Many will say why Clint Stitser? He didn't even attempt a field goal. While that may be true, Stitser kicked the ball through the end zone each time except two, with one of those leading to a Nevada player being tackeld at the eleven yard line. Robert Malone boomed punt after punt and because of these two men we won the field position battle which is always important in college football.
Of course being as analytical as I am I did find one thing that continually will piss me off if it isn't fixed. Our third quarter defense was attrocious. Now I am aware some of our d-line starters were not in but that is no excuse to allow Nevada to run every play in the third quarter aside five. We were beaten up in the third quarter and if Nevada had not fumbled we would have been outscored by at least two touchdowns. Next weekend we will not be able to go through our game with Oregon and have a down quarter. Oregon destroyed Stanford 48-10 and will be ready for all we have to offer. Overall the Bulldogs played amazingly well for their first game together. Jefferson (#28 on defense) was amazing in the corner spot, as was Chastin West (#6) as a receiver. The Bulldogs have a great team this year and high hopes should be in our minds as fans. Here is hoping they can bring the intensity next weekend against a very good Oregon team. By the way, 40,000 fans on a Friday night at 5pm, awesome turnout. The game would have been sold out had it started at 7. The student section was loud as was the stadium. Hope to see everyone next weekend. I will start my Oregon preview tomorrow, Go Dogs.