What we learned:
The image of Ryan Mathews in Bulldog red shredding opposing defenses has become a little bit more vague with a seemingly new-and-improved Robbie Rouse. Mathews never carried the ball 43 times like Rouse did Saturday, but the tiny back from San Diego put the offense on his back in the Bulldogs’ third straight conference win. The defense, however, is going to need to tighten some things up if it has any hope to slow down a Nevada squad this weekend that posted an astonishing 844 total yards on Idaho. The unit had its moments, and surrendered just 308 yards, but looked sloppy early on in Rustin. The defense is starting to create some turnovers, a promising sign for a team that ranks in the bottom-half of the WAC in turnovers.
The perennial run game that Fresno State football is so well known for is starting to emerge, and it could not come at a better time. The ‘Dogs never strayed away from putting the ball in Robbie Rouse’s hands, despite falling behind 14-0 early on. Rouse finished the night with career-highs in carries (43) and yards (283), and showed his toughness after taking a handful of big hits from the Louisiana Tech defense. Ryan Colburn and Jamel Hamler are stretching secondaries as the two hooked up for three scores and 118 yards. Center Joe Bernardi was inserted back into the starting lineup after missing the previous game at San Jose State with an ankle injury. With another week of rest under him, guard Andrew Jackson may see the field again when Fresno State takes on its first ranked opponent of the season in Nevada this Saturday.
Despite putting the Fresno State offense in a quick 14-0 hole, the defense stepped up when it counted. After allowing the second touchdown of the day on a trick play to Lousiana Tech, the defense shut the Tech offense out of the end zone until the 7:11 mark in the third quarter.Desia Dunn’s fourth-quarter interception all but sealed the game for Fresno State. Although the defense allowed four touchdowns through the air, the run defense proved it was more than capable of stopping the talented Lennon Creer, holding him to 56 yards. As a team, the ‘Dogs allowed just 89 yards rushing and 3.7 yards a carry. Defensive tackle Logan Harrell also added a sack.
Game-changing moment: Punt block leads to huge fourth quarter
Austin Raphael’s blocked punt set up the Fresno State offense deep inside Louisiana Tech territory. The seven-play drive started late in the third quarter and was finished off early in the fourth with Ryan Colburn’s one-yard touchdown plunge. The score gave Fresno State a lead it would never relinquish, ripping off 23 points in the fourth quarter as the ‘Dogs improved to 6-2 on the season.
Unsung hero: Jamel Hamler, receiver
Although overshadowed by Robbie Rouse’s record-setting day, Hamler proved that he is indeed the team’s No. 1 receiver. Playing healthy for the first time since the Ole Miss game, Hamler dominated opposing defensive backs for eight receptions for 118 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
Fresno State sealed the deal when…
…Robbie Rouse capped off his career day with a 51-yard touchdown romp with 2:20 remaining in the game. The one-play drive put a dagger into Louisiana Tech’s comeback hopes and gave Fresno State a 40-28 lead. Louisiana Tech would tack on another touchdown late, but Rouse’s huge run provided the ‘Dogs with just enough margin to wrap up another conference victory.
Interesting stat of the game: Time of possession difference
In every contest except the opening-season victory over Cincinnati, Fresno State has controlled the time of possession, but by no more than 11 minutes. In Saturday’s win over Louisiana Tech, Fresno State held the ball for 41:02, more than 22 minutes better than the opposition. The ‘Dogs haven’t had that big of possession difference since losing to Cincinnati last year on Sept. 26.
Call of the game: Rouse’s 51-yard run
After running power play after power play to the strong side of the formation, the Fresno State coaching staff finally dialed up a run play to the weak side. Results? It paid off as Robbie Rouse sprinted downfield untouched for the sophomore’s first touchdown of the game.
Dog bone giveaway: Robbie Rouse, running back
Three weeks ago fans all wondered how Fresno State would trek through the November schedule with no proven feature back behind Ryan Colburn. Robbie Rouse has answered the call with three straight huge games, including toting the rock for 283 yards on a school-record 43 carries