The Four Quarter Requirement
Saturday night Fresno State mounted a comeback against Hawaii that many Bulldog fans did not believe was possible. Fresno State's offense had left many of us wondering what would happen if we fell behind a good offensive team by a large amount early in the game. Oregon jumped out to a insurmountable lead in the first half earlier this season and Hawaii looked as if they were on their way to doing the very same to Fresno State this past weekend. However, the 2007 Fresno State Bulldogs showed us that they are nothing like the team from last season. We all know last season a game such as the one vs.Hawaii would have ended with Fresno State losing by forty. In 2007 the Dogs fought back and lost by seven. While the comeback can be used as a great motivational tool in the locker room what the Dogs should learn from this experience is that it takes four solid quarters of football to win a game. Up until this point in the season you would be hard pressed to find a game that Fresno State played a solid four quarters in. Let's take a look at the season and see where exactly the Dogs may be able to make improvements to play a complete game.
The Bulldogs first challenge this season came from Texas A&M where the Dogs played a horrendous first half only to mount an impressive second half comeback. If the Dogs played a solid first half they walk away from the A&M game with a win. The following week the Dogs started slow once again against Oregon. Fresno State played a decent second half but found themselves too far behind to mount any kind of comeback. The three games after all told the same story. La. Tech showed us that the Dogs can play defense but they did not come out on offense until the second half. Against Nevada Fresno State opened up strong but played a shaky second half. The Dogs did the very same thing against Idaho and we all know what happened against Boise. Utah State brought the Dogs a very strong first half but the second half was a disappointment to say the least. Leading into Hawaii the Dogs had not put one complete game together and after the Dogs left Hawaii they still have not put one complete game together. The first half against Hawaii went as so many games do with the Warriors. The Warriors scored three touchdowns before Fresno State had even settled on to the football field. The Dogs mine as well have begun the game down 21-0, at least they would have had more time to come back in the game. My point is if Fresno State can come out with that instinct to take care of business right from the first snap they will win games more frequently.
Fresno State could have beaten Hawaii. Fresno State should have beaten Hawaii. Yes, with 22 injured players and Pascoe and Matthews on the sidelines Fresno State still should have walked out of that stadium with a victory. Unfortunately Fresno State did not win the game and they need to learn from this experience. Every Bulldog fan is tired of hearing how our team is young and will be great next year. The saying "Wait till next year" has been used by countless Dogs fans for the past five seasons. There is no more waiting, the time needs to be now for the Bulldogs. Fresno State has to learn and grow from this experience against Hawaii. Aside the Bulldogs game against Oregon this season they have been close in every game they have played. This team is a few plays from being 8-2, but they are not 8-2. However, Fresno State does have 2 games remaining. If the Dogs play a full four quarters in both of these games I fully expect them to end the season 8-4, one game better than I had predicted at the beginning of the season. An 8-4 record will lead the Dogs into the bowl season once again and will give them momentum heading into off-season recruiting. In other words the Bulldogs have an opportunity in front of them. If they handle their business in the final two games of the season they very well may be rewarded with a West coast bowl game that Bulldog fans will travel to in large numbers. But if the Bulldogs once again find a way to play incomplete games they will spend the bowl season watching from home, something seniors like Marcus Riley and Tyler Clutts do not want to experience again.