What should have been a relatively easy win against an underwhelming FCS opponent instead devolved into a sloppy Saturday night. The Bulldogs won, 31-3, but didn't win over many skeptics with their performance.
After Dejonte O’Neal sparked the offense with a nifty touchdown run late in the first quarter, the Fresno State offense ran into trouble sustaining long drives for much of the first half and most of the second, with just one drive (for a Kody Kroening field goal) covering more than 28 yards into the fourth quarter. The running game eventually found more holes as the game progressed — Dontel James earned his first 100-yard effort, finishing with 121 on 27 carries — but some inconsistency remained in the offensive line’s ability to create space.
Additionally, Chason Virgil never looked quite as sharp as he did in last week’s first half against Nebraska, though he was allowed to work through his mistakes and finished 22-42-274-2-1 on the night. The offense showed a willingness to take shots down the field, but Virgil wasted a few opportunities by continually overthrowing his receivers.
If there’s a bright spot to be found, it’s that the defense put forth its best overall performance in recent memory. Sacramento State had just 185 yards of total offense , which represents the lowest total allowed by Fresno State since November 2008 (against New Mexico State), and the Hornets were forced into eight three-and-outs.
Tyquwan Glass and Jamal Ellis finally showed the ballhawking capabilities many fans had waited for, as well, grabbing an interception each. Outside linebacker James Bailey had a fine performance, as well, leading the ‘Dogs with 8 tackles.
All things considered, though, the offensive slumber, through the better part of the sixty minutes they were afforded, represents some cause for concern as the schedule gets tougher once more. Toledo isn’t Sacramento State. Tulsa isn’t Sacramento State. The Bulldogs didn’t commit any glaring errors as they did against the Cornhuskers last Saturday, but the little things need righting.
Fresno State (1-1) hits the road next Saturday to face Toledo in the Glass Bowl, while Sacramento State (0-2) continue their three-game road trip at Weber State.