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at Fresno State 27 ... North Dakota 22

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 17, 2011


Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - North Dakota at Fresno State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - UND at Fresno State

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Sept. 17 at Fresno State 27 ... North Dakota 22
CFN Analysis: Considering North Dakota was destroyed 44-14 by Idaho last week, struggling this much to put a bad team away is cause for major concern. The Bulldog offensive line has been awful so far and didn’t do enough once again to keep Derek Carr upright. Robbie Rouse hasn’t ad too much room to run, but he’s managed to make the most of his chances and carried the team once again with 110 yards and two scores. Carr wasn’t bad, helped out by an 86-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders, but it was too much of a fight to end the fun. With Idaho up next on the road, the Bulldogs have to be far more efficient through the air and in much better control on the ground.

(AP) FRESNO, Calif. -- Derek Carr passed for 235 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jalen Saunders, as Fresno State held off North Dakota 27-22 on Saturday night.

Robbie Rouse added 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Fresno State (1-2), including a 1-yarder for the go-ahead score.

Jake Miller rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns for North Dakota (1-2). The Fighting Sioux had a chance to take the lead before its final drive stalled near midfield.

The Bulldogs improved to 9-0 against FCS opponents under coach Pat Hill, who's in his 15th season.

North Dakota (1-1) at Fresno State (0-2)
Sept. 17, 10:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … No one takes on a challenge like Fresno State. It’ll truly play anyone, anytime, anywhere, and it has made a living out of trying to battle with the big names in the college football world.

So every once in a while, yeah, playing a North Dakota is forgivable.

The Bulldogs started out the season battling Cal in a 36-21 loss, and they gave Nebraska all they could handle in a 42-29 game that was closer than the final score made it look. There are still huge games against Ole Miss and Boise State to deal with before the middle of October, so the team deserves a nice breather before going to Idaho.

The Fighting Sioux got blown away by Idaho 44-14 last week, getting lit up through the air by Brian Reader and a Vandal attack that didn’t do much of anything the week before in a loss to Bowling Green. Things easy up just a wee bit next week with a battle against Black Hills State, and there are still nice record-padding days against Montana Western and Sioux Falls still to go, but for now, the goal is to not get obliterated in the team’s nastiest game of the year.

Why North Dakota Might Win: There’s plenty of experience on a UND team that has the potential to throw it a little bit. Joey Bradley hasn’t been able to push the ball deep yet, but he’s decent at dinking and dunking and he’s not going to make a slew of mistakes. Fresno State hasn’t been tested too much yet through the air, and while the secondary is far better than the UND receivers, the chances will be there for the underneath passes if Bradley can get a little bit of time. On the other side of the ball, the FSU pass protection has been spotty, allowing six sacks in the first two games.

Why Fresno State Might Win: There shouldn’t be any problems moving the ball, and there should be no problems whatsoever against the run. North Dakota doesn’t have a ground game and has to try to move the ball on short to midrange passes, and while the Bulldogs will allow some dinks and dunks, they won’t give up the big play to this offense. As long as there aren’t a slew of turnovers – and Fresno has been tight with the ball so far – and as long as the ground game is working, the team can go through the motions and win easily. After dealing with speedy runners at Cal and Nebraska, the UND backfield will look like it’s going in slow motion.

What To Watch Out For: Robbie Rouse has taken over the Fresno State offense, and if he can stay healthy, he’ll be in for a special season. The junior ran for 86 yards and a score against Cal, and he served as the workhorse at Nebraska running 36 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns, giving the supposedly mighty Husker defensive front fits.

Rouse was the best running back in college football over a time last year. After struggling through an ankle injury early on, he bounced back to rip up the WAC over a four game stretch running for 150 yards and two scores against NMSU, 116 yards and two scores against San Jose State, 286 yards and a score on 43 carries against Louisiana Tech, and 217 yards and two touchdowns against Nevada. 112 carries in four games wore him down leading to rib problems late in the year.

At 5-7, the 190-pounder is a quick rusher with the burst to take it the distance every time he touches the ball, and he can be used as a workhorse from time to time. However, he’s not built to take a pounding and would be best with 15-to-20 carries per game. A decent receiver, he caught 15 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

What Will Happen: Fresno State will put up a big number on the board and get its first win of the year without breathing hard. This is the tune-up game it needs, and it should be able to work out all the problems from the first two games and should get in some good live reps for the passing game before dealing with the shootouts ahead.

CFN Prediction: Fresno State 52 … North Dakota 17
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