The Fresno State Bulldogs got their asses kicked by a superior team, the Toledo Rockets, by a wide margin on Saturday afternoon. 52-17. That sounds familiar, yeah?
I’ll spare you the flowery rhetoric and get straight to some truth.
This team sucks.
Chason Virgil (12-23-190-1-0) was mostly bad. The wide receivers might still be pretty good, as evidenced mostly by catches like Keesean Johnson’s tough touchdown grab and Jamire Jordan’s explosive 85-yard catch-and-run score in the fourth quarter, but it was hard to tell because Virgil was mostly bad.
Oh, yes, and Zach Kline saw the field again for a time, as well. He was okay, which means that, sadly, it might be inevitable that we in the Central Valley fire up the quarterback carousel again.
More significantly than Virgil, though, the offensive line sucked. They allowed Toledo’s defensive line to take their lunch money all afternoon, allowing five sacks and eleven tackles for loss. Dontel James looked like he might be fine, but he committed a couple of dumb blocking penalties in the second half and, as previously mentioned, the offensive line sucked, so it hardly mattered.
Also, the defensive line was bad. They allowed ten runs of more than ten yards, helped Toledo running back Kareem Hunt to his best effort of the year (19 carries, 123 yards, 1 TD), and let the Rockets rack up 318 rushing yards as a team.
The secondary regressed, allowing more blown coverages than in the first two weeks, and, even if the Rockets didn’t take advantage of every one, Logan Woodside (15-26-239-4-0) still connected on seven passing plays of 15 yards, four of which covered 30-plus yards. They were bad.
As a whole, the defense collapsed late. Again. Each of Toledo’s second half scoring drives was longer than the one which preceded it. 214 of UT’s 619 yards of total offense came in the fourth quarter.
Blake Cusick, the punter, might now be the team’s early season MVP. Just kidding... mostly. He was fine, though. The rest of the special teams was bad.
The entire team looked uncharacteristically undisciplined: Fresno State had more penalty yards than total offense through at least the midway point of the third quarter. They finished with 138 penalty yards overall, the most in the Tim DeRuyter era and the most since 2001.
They were bad at extending drives: The Bulldogs didn’t convert a single third-down situation, 0-for-13, which hadn’t happened since last year’s humiliation against San Diego State.
Long story short: This is a team, a coaching staff, that appears incapable of putting together a complete sixty minutes, with or without an NFL-caliber quarterback. I urge you: don’t be fooled by the fourth quarter surge. I want to defend Tim DeRuyter, I really do, but this kind of regression is inexcusable.
He might already be coaching for his job after this because, if this is all there is, there may not be more than another win or two on the schedule. That’s going to get him fired.
Next week, Fresno State (1-2) will host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-1) at Bulldog Stadium. Toledo (3-0) will hit the road to face BYU (1-1).