Fresno State senior running back Marteze Waller falls to the turf after being tackled during the Nov. 28 Senior Night game against Colorado State at Bulldog Stadium. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State football team had a below-standard 2015 season.
The Bulldogs finished their season with a 3-9 overall record and a 2-6 mark in the Mountain West Conference with victories against Abilene Christian, an FCS school, and conference opponents UNLV and a struggling Hawaii program.
The ‘Dogs started off their year 1-0 with a victory over the ACU Wildcats before losing seven of their next eight games. Two of those losses came against ranked opponents, in which they were controlled in every aspect of the game. The one win that ended the losing streak came in Bulldog Stadium against UNLV.
The team’s average defeat for the 2015 season was 27 points, its highest in a few years. The ‘Dogs finished ranked 123 out of 128 qualifying teams in Division I with 3,782 yards of total offense through the 12 games of the season. FBS leader was Bowling Green, which eclipsed 7,200 yards of total offense.
The defense finished the season allowing 5,354 yards to opponents, an average of 446 yards per game, which was 25th worst in the nation as 103-of-128 teams allowed fewer yards per game than the Fresno State defense. The ‘Dogs also allowed an average of 38.1 points per game to opponents, finishing just ahead of only nine teams in Division I.
The team struggles on both sides of the ball prompted head coach Tim DeRuyter to make changes heading into the 2016 campaign. DeRuyter announced that offensive coordinator Dave Schramm would not be retained, and the search for a new offensive coordinator is underway.
Under coach Schramm, the offensive unit excelled in 2013 when Schramm coached the Derek Carr era to an average of 43.3 points per game, but that number has declined the past two seasons to 26.5 in the 2014 season and 22.2 this season.
Due in large part to the inconsistent play at the quarterback position, prompting four different quarterback changes throughout the year, of course dealing with the season-ending injuries to both Ford Childress and Chason Virgil, the offense struggled all year.
A promising note heading into the 2016 season is that during 2015, Fresno State was fourth in the nation in receptions by freshmen, concluding that this was a very young team. This season, 30 Bulldogs played in their first collegiate game and 21 made their first career start. That number was the sixth-most for first-time starters among any FBS program this year.
The ‘Dogs will go to work looking to improve on both sides of the ball when they start spring ball under new tutelage on both offense and defense. They’ll open the 2016 season on the road against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.