Jul 22, 2019

Bulldog Game Day

Juan Villa / The Collegian

Fresno State Bulldogs (7-5, 4-4 WAC) vs. Colorado State Rams (6-6, 4-4 MWC)

Breakdown: Bulldogs

The Fresno State Bulldogs started the season with high expectations and dreams of a BCS game.

The hopes of the team did not come to fruition and the season may end in uncertainty.

Coach Pat Hill will not take over as the next coach of the Washington Huskies, but many wonder whether or not his team will be lost.

While the season has been disappointing, the Bulldogs can answer a lot of questions and set the tone for the 2009 season with a bowl victory over the Colorado State Rams.

Fresno State has had an inordinate amount of injuries this season, especially at key positions.

Anthony Harding has been the only healthy running back all season and the ’Dogs will again rely on their run game to keep the chains moving.

On defense, Fresno State will need to have a defensive tackle play strong in the middle and stop the run without senior Jon Monga.

The New Mexico Bowl may not be the bowl that Fresno State hoped for at the beginning of the season, but a win can do a lot to get the team on track for 2009.

Breakdown: Rams

Colorado State head coach Steve Fairchild became the first coach in Rams history to lead his team to a bowl game in his first season at the helm.

The Rams are back in the postseason for the first time since 2005 after finishing the season with a 6-6 overall record and 4-4 mark in the Mountain West Conference.

The Rams are very similar to the Bulldogs in their makeup. Colorado State relies on its run game to set up the play-action pass and the defense is susceptible.

Rams’ running back Gartrell Johnson was a first team all-conference selection, amassing more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

In Colorado State’s last meeting against the Bulldogs in 2006, Johnson rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Billy Farris is third in the Mountain West in passing efficiency and has thrown 17 touchdown passes.

Defensively, the Rams have the worst pass defense in the conference and rank dead-last in the nation in sacks.

The Rams are riding a two-game winning streak into this game and are looking to improve to 7-5 against the Bulldogs.

Andrew Riggs / Collegian File Photo
Rocky Mountain high…

Colorado St. Player to Watch:

Gartrell Johnson, Tailback
Wins against: Sacramento State, Houston, UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico, Wyoming
Losses to: Colorado, California, TCU, Utah, BYU, Air Force
Head coach: Steve Fairchild (First Season)
Offense: Multiple
Defense: 4-3
Key players: QB Billy Farris, WR Rashaun Greer, LB Ricky Brewer
Series record: Colorado State leads 6-5
Last meeting: 2006 – Colorado State won 35-23 at Bulldog Stadium
Point Spread: Bulldogs favored by 3

Keys to Victory

1. 300 in the air for Tom.
This is Brandstater’s last game as a Bulldog. What a perfect time to have his first 300-yard game since last season against Kansas State.

2. Shut down Gartrell Johnson.

Colorado State’s offense relies on the efficiency of its star tailback. If the Bulldogs can hold him under 100 yards they could have a chance.

3. Keep the focus on the field.
With the controversy surrounding Pat Hill lately the Bulldogs need to focus on the task at hand. The team needs to play hard for their coach who says he’s here to stay.

Juan Villa / The Collegian
Position matchups

Fresno State Player to Watch:

Ben Jacobs, Linebacker

When Fresno State runs:

Advantage – Fresno State
The offense begins and ends with the running game. Anthony Harding will need a big game for the Bulldogs.

When Colorado State runs:
Advantage – Colorado State
Gartrell Johnson is the catalyst for the Rams. He averages 99 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry.

When Fresno State passes:

Advantage – Fresno State
The Rams’ pass defense is the worst in the Mountain West. Brandstater could go out with a bang.

When Colorado State passes:

Advantage – Colorado State
Fresno State’s pass defense has been spotty all year and has been hard pressed to cause turnovers this season.

Special teams:
Advantage – Fresno State
The Bulldogs’ return teams have been superb all season, but coverage on kicks has been an issue. Look for the Buldogs to put it all together in the season finale.

By Jimmy Graben and Logan Hopkins / The Collegian

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