That was a dominant effort Saturday.
The Fresno State Bulldogs football team annihilated the University of Toledo Rockets at home in in front of the Red Wave by a total of 49-27.
To be honest, it wasn’t even that close.
And the ‘Dogs had plenty of motivation to not just beat Toledo, but to embarrass them, to make them submit.
See, back in Sept. 2016, the ‘Dogs themselves were humiliated by the Rockets in Toledo, 52-17. And that wasn’t forgotten. Not by a long shot.
“Two years ago, it didn’t turn out so well for the Bulldogs at their place and so we had a chip on our shoulder coming into this game that we need to play a lot better and represent the proud tradition of Bulldog football,” Bulldogs head coach Jeff Tedford said.
The team was just flat out better than Toledo in every facet of the game. It was the type of effort that coaches allude to in a cliche-like fashion to the media before games.
But the thing about cliches is, they often are true.
Tedford and the coaching staff had the offense running like a well-oiled machine on that perfect fall evening.
Quarterback Marcus McMaryion had himself a day, like a career day. Something that he would probably tell his children and grandchildren about when gets older.
From literally the first snap of the game offensively, Fresno State seemed to be determined to get McMaryion in an early rhythm throwing the ball.
As such, they mixed up the play calling with plenty of short passes to the tight ends and running backs in the flats with stick routes and slants.
What that did was get the Toledo defense to play their defensive backs more aggressively against the Bulldogs receivers at the line of scrimmage, pressing them so they didn’t get a free release on their routes down the field.
Once the defense started to adjust, that is when the offense took deep shots down the field. Once Toledo adjusted back to that, McMaryion was able to hit his running backs for big gains.
On one such play, McMaryion hit running back Jordan Mims on a simple underneath hook route, but since they had been taking shots down the field, there was no one that was able to guard Mims and he took the ball 55 yards to the house.
McMaryion said after the game that was a play that they expected would be able to go for a big gain as they prepared for the game during the week.
“Right before the play, I think Jordan [Mims] will tell you I looked at him and said ‘this might be a touchdown, just go out there and you’re going to score’,” McMaryion said. “We practiced it all week and got the exact look that we thought that we were going to get and so it worked out well and so it’s just a credit to the coaches for putting the game plan together and seeing that on film.”
All this offensive success appeared to allow the defense to play with less pressure. It didn’t have to sell out by blitzing to get to the quarterback as much as if they were in a closer game.
‘Dogs defensive end Mykal Walker, who was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts, totaled 2.5 tackles for losses, including a sack on Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni.
“We pressured that passer, which was a big deal. We didn’t let [Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni] get loose too often, which really they have had a lot of success with,” Tedford said.
This type of total team effort is what it is going to take for the team to achieve its stated goal of winning the Mountain West. They are well on their way as the team currently sits at 3-1, their best four game start to a season since 2013, when now Oakland Raider quarterback Derek Carr was a Bulldog.