In what was another strong defensive victory, Fresno State defeated the Rams of Colorado State 28-7.
Safety Phillip Thomas was again at the helm of another solid outing by the Bulldogs. Amazingly, Fresno State held the Rams scoreless for almost the entire game.
“We come out every week with the mindset that we’re going to win the game for us,” Thomas said.
“I think our defense understood what they (Colorado State) were trying to do,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said.
Although the Bulldogs were strong on offense, collecting a team total 408 yards and four passing touchdowns, Fresno State’s defense really shined. The Bulldogs limited Colorado State’s offense to 249 total yards and only 55 rushing yards.
“I thought our third down defense was good and we were getting off the field quickly,” DeRuyter said. “I thought our defense did a good job stopping the run and getting them into where it was tough for them on third down.”
The first half of the game was riddled with penalties on both sides of the ball. Fresno State was held by the Rams for only one touchdown in the first quarter, which accounted for the ’Dogs’ lowest scoring output this season.
“We had a bunch of first-and-long situations and we have got to get rid of them,” DeRuyter said.
Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr and running back Robbie Rouse were held to subpar performances during the first half of Saturday’s game. However, Fresno State was still able to slowly pull away entering the second half.
“I think it was good that he (Carr) threw through this,” DeRuyter said. “But I think when guys start making plays it gets us in a rhythm.”
Late in the second quarter, Carr was able to widen the ’Dogs’ lead. On third down and five, Carr threw to his left and hooked up with wide receiver Josh Harper for a 20-yard touchdown.
“We have so many weapons, so many guys that are really good at what they do,” Carr said. “Defenses can’t double-team one guy and leave one guy one-on-one.”
This score put Fresno State up by 14-0 at the end of the half and was a momentum-changing play for the ’Dogs.
“I trust and believe in our offense, and they’re doing exactly what they need to do,” Thomas said.
Entering the final quarter of play, Fresno State was able to strike early and potentially put the game away. On another passing play from Carr, receiver Isaiah Burse caught a 15-yard touchdown to put the ’Dogs up 21-0.
“They do a great job on winning routes. And they make my job a lot easier,” Carr said.
On Colorado State’s ensuing possession, the Rams were able to convert a fourth-and-long to continue their drive. However, safety Thomas flashed his ball-hawking skills and intercepted the pass from Rams running back Donn Alexander.
“We’re out there to force turnovers and make big plays. And that’s what this defense is all about,” Thomas said. “It was the running back and he was going to throw it. And it came right to me.”
Fresno State was then able to march down one final time and score on another Carr touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams. This score put the ’Dogs up by 28 points and all but ended the game. With 42 seconds left in the game, Colorado State was able to get a touchdown to thwart the Bulldogs’ bid at a shutout.
“I was proud of our guys for handling adversity like this because we’re used to getting 58 points,” Carr said.
The ’Dogs continue on the road next week in conference play facing Boise State. The Broncos lead 10-4 in the series against Fresno State, which dates back to 1977. DeRuyter, Carr and the Bulldogs will look to continue their recent road success as they face an excellent Broncos team in their home stadium.
“To finally get a road win, that’s huge,” Carr said. “We can take that off so that’s now done. Now we just got to play football and limit mistakes and just go.”
DeRuyter added, “We know we’ve got a challenge against a team that we haven’t beaten in while this week. So we better have a good week of practice because we’re going to play a team that has won a heck of a lot of ball games.”