Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grading The 'Dogs: Fresno State (6-3, 5-1) @ Idaho (7-3, 4-2)

Quarterbacks: A
Only thing keeping Ryan Colburn from an A+ is lack of yards (159). But he did everything the coaches allowed him too, completing 14 of 14 passes -- a new Fresno State record, besting Mark Barsotti's 15 of 18 performance. And they weren't all easy throws, he hit a streaking Seyi Ajirotutu in the front corner of the end zone and connected with Marlon Moore on a 41-yarder.

Running Backs: A-
The minus only comes on the heavily skewed Ryan Mathews Scale, which is a tougher grading curve than any other back in the country gets. Mathews started the game with a career-long 77-yard TD on the first play -- vacuuming the energy out of the Kibbie Dome. But his struggles for yardage in the second half led to a 5.5-yard-per-carry average (well under his season average).

Receivers: A
What more can you ask of a group that caught everything thrown its way? Literally. Everything. Jamel Hamler had two clutch third down catches, Seyi Ajirotutu had the highlight TD grab and Marlon Moore the big play 41-yarder.

Offensive Line: C+
The early injury to Andrew Jackson left a gaping hole in the Bulldogs' run blocking. Not that his replacement, Leslie Cooper, wasn't capable, but Jackson is a special talent. The running game averaged a season low 4.3 yards per carry. Richard Pacheco was beaten badly for a sack while starting in place of Joey Bernardi.

Defensive Line: D
Nonexistent pass rush inexcusable against a pocket passer. 'Dogs were burned by Idaho for 7.7 yards per carry.

Linebackers: C-
Quiet game by Ben Jacobs, lack of impact by Kyle Knox and Nico Herron. Shawn Plummer should have been credited with a forced fumble and recovery, but the call was inexplicably overturned.

Defensive Backs: B
Lorne Bell earned WAC player of the week honors for his hard hitting and team-high nine tackles. 'Dogs weren't hurt by the pass until late, and held Idaho under 50% completions.

Special Teams: B
The good? Kevin Goessling hit a 52-yard field goal -- his second 50-plus-yarder in as many weeks. But the Bulldogs failed to recover a late onside kick, and still got nothing in the return game from A.J. Jefferson and Co.

Coaching: C-
Why was Marvin Haynes logging so many minutes late in the game when he was being exposed in the secondary? Why wasn't Bernardi playing? Why do the 'Dogs refuse to adjust out of the base 4-3 defense?

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