Monday, October 18, 2010

Grading the 'Dogs (4-2, 2-1) vs. New Mexico State (1-5, 0-2)

FRESNO STATE 33, New Mexico State 10

Quarterback: C-
After wowing fans through the first four games, Ryan Colburn looks to have regressed in the past two. Hopefully that trend ends next week, because 12 of 20 for 132 yards doesn't cut it -- certainly not when he's struggling with accuracy. Colburn missed a wide-open Rashad Evans behind the entire defense for a would-be TD, threw nowhere near a wide-open Vince Pascoe squatting in between coverage and was late in his progressions on numerous other throws. He's better than that. And coaches didn't help him by sitting on the ball much of the second half.

Running Backs: B+
Mighty Mouse Robbie Rouse returned to a form we hadn't seen since last year en route to 150 yards and 2 TDs on 16 carries. But the fact the team struggled to overpower New Mexico State in the second half was disappointing, as were Michael Harris' 1.3 yards per carry.

Receivers: B
The wideouts just didn't really get a chance to do much. The highlight was a double "reBurse" to Isaiah Burse for a 30-yard TD. Another true freshman, Jalen Saunders, led the team with 64 yards receiving on 3 catches. Tight end Tapa (I won't attempt spelling the last name) had the only TD catch.

Offensive Line: B
The first half was flatout impressive -- the second half was far from it. Granted, the Aggies knew the run was coming when the 'Dogs were being overly nice to not run up the score, but this unit should have been able to manhandle its counterpart. Overall, it was still a very strong performance with the backs averaging 6 yards per carry as a team. Also good to see Matt Hunt and Richard Helepiko get valuable time. Unfortunately, Helepiko's time came after an injury to C Joey Bernardi.

Defensive Line: A
On Chris Carter's performance alone, this group deserves an A. Carter earned national defensive lineman of the week honors with 9 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles. Beastly. Logan Harrell and Chris Lewis also teamed up on a sack, as the 'Dogs deployed constant pressure on the young, inexperienced Aggies QBs.

Linebackers: A-
The unit helped hold New Mexico State to 30-something yards rushing in the first three quarters before the reserves entered. Kyle Knox turned in a stud performance before an injury cut his night short. Still, he finished with 7 tackles and 1 for loss. The Aggies averaged 3.1 yards per carry as a team.

Defensive Backs: A-
Starting QB Andrew Manley had just 1 yard passing, while backup Matt Christian, the former Fresno State walk-on, had 155 (most in garbage time). In his first career start, in place of safety Phil Thomas, true freshman Derron Smith was tied for second on the team with 7 tackles and 1 for loss. His development will be a big plus as the season continues.

Special Teams: B-
Against a good team, Rashad Evans' first quarter botch of a punt, when he fumbled the ball away, could have been far more costly. Luckily, the Aggies couldn't capitalize. Andrew Shapiro was money on all but one punt, which took a favorable Aggies bounce. He's quietly having a heck of a season.

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