What we learned:
Boise State is one of the nation’s elite, and Fresno State just happened to be in the way of the Broncos’ run at BCS madness. Not a lot can be taken away from losing by a half-hundred, but a lot will be learned in how the ‘Dogs react the next two weeks. Fresno State can still finish the regular season 8-4 if it takes care of business at home against Idaho and Illinois. A lone bright spot for the Bulldogs in Boise was their run defense. Hill’s defense gave opponents a little bit of a blueprint of how to slow down Boise State’s one-two punch of Jeremy Avery and Doug Martin. The Broncos rushed for just 125 yards, a season-low.
The Bulldog offense finally had its shot at an elite defense this season, and things didn’t go so well. In its worst offensive game in Pat Hill’s tenure as head coach, the ‘Dogs could do little of anything against a Bronco defense that came in giving up just 75 rushing yards per game and 166 passing yards per game. In recent weeks, Hill stressed his team’s need to convert first downs, but the ‘Dogs were horrible in third down situations converting just 1-of-12 third-down situations. Quarterback Ryan Colburn was out of sync from start to finish and turned in his worst performance of his career. Due to trailing Boise State early, the run game never had a chance to get going. Robbie Rouse ran for 70 yards on 17 carries and eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season, giving Fresno State a little bit to hang its hat on after the first shutout in 12 seasons.
Although the defense got terrorized for 51 points by the Broncos, head coach Pat hill said after the game that unit played well at times, especially against the power inside running game. For the first time this season, the Boise State offense was held to just three points through the first quarter. With a game plan that concentrated on attacking Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore and the backfield, the Bulldog defense harassed Moore early on, forcing Moore to throw an errant pass that safety Phillip Thomas picked off. But after a strong showing in the first quarter, the defense dropped off due to the offense’s miscues. The secondary was torched by Moore for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
Game-changing moment: Kellen Moore to Titus Young, 42-yard score
Being down 10-0 on the road, especially at Boise State, is a scary position, but managable. But on the Broncos’ second drive of the second quarter, it took all of two plays for Boise State to make the lead insurmountable. Kellen Moore heaved up a 42-yard scoring strike to Titus Young to go up 17-0. Falling behind by three scores in 35-degree weather at perhaps the hardest place to win in the country is disheartening for a visiting team.
Unsung hero: Phillip Thomas, free safety
Intercepting Kellen Moore isn’t easy. Only three other teams have managed to do so. Thomas picked off Moore in the first quarter, and although it didn’t amount to much for the Bulldog offense, it kept Boise State from possibly winning 58-0. Thomas also finished with seven tackles and two pass breakups.
Boise State sealed the deal when…
…it shook off some early-game offensive struggles to route the ‘Dogs in the final three quarters. The floodgates really opened when the Broncos dropped 34 points in the second and third quarters combined. Fresno State had little chance once falling behind by three scores in the second quarter.
Interesting stat of the game: Converting a first down
Ryan Colburn and the Fresno State offense did not gain a fresh set of downs until there was less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. The offense opened the game with three straight three-and-outs until RB Robbie Rouse gave the ‘Dogs their first, first down of the game with a 23-yard scamper.
Call of the game: Austin Pettis reverse pass
Talk about adding insult to injury. Already up big 30-0 in the third quarter, Pettis hauled in a reverse pitch and threw a severely underthrown ball to Tyler Shoemaker. The receiver came back to the pass, caught it, shook off a tackle and took the Broncos down to the Fresno State six-yard line. The very next play, Pettis caught a pass of his own, a six-yard touchdown to put his team up 37-0.
Dog bone giveaway: Coach Pat Hill
There was no beating around the bush for Hill in his post-game news conference. The 14-year head coach spoke his mind and for Bulldog fans that left Bronco Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouths, Hill’s brutal honesty made the 51-0 beat down a little more bearable. Hill described the loss as “dominating” and “manhandling” and the sad thing was, he was right. It was no time to be politically correct.