2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - NMSU at San Jose State
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Sept. 24 Fresno State 48 … at Idaho 24
CFN Analysis: There we go. That's the Fresno State offense that's been waiting to break out and start to shine. Robbie Rouse has been great running the ball so far this year, but this was Derek Carr's moment with 371 yards and five touchdown passes as he ripped the Idaho defense to shreds. Rouse got his, running for 112 yards in the blowout, and Carr was masterful spreading the ball around and connecting on the deep ball. This was the confidence builder, and now Fresno State can do what it likes to do best: beating BCS teams. With Ole Miss coming to town, and then with the Boise State showdown six days later, this will big two weeks that'll shape the season.
No pass rush means no pass defense for Idaho, and the lack of pressure on Derek Carr meant Fresno State was able to win in a blowout. Brian Reader wasn't awful, connecting on 22-of-38 passes for 235 yards and two scores, but once again the running game was non-existent and Reader couldn't do it all by himself. TreShawn Robinson made ten tackles and two tackles for loss, but that was the only positive for a defense that got picked clean way too easily. Against Virginia, Reader and the passing game has to be far more efficient.
(AP) MOSCOW, Idaho -- Derek Carr threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns to lead Fresno State over Idaho 48-24 on Saturday in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Jalen Saunders was Carr's main target, hauling in five catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Rashad Evans added seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs (2-2).
Brian Reader completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns for the Vandals (1-3).
Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse entered the game needing only 27 yards to eclipse the 2,000 mark for his career. He finished with 112, all but 45 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Carr opened with a 16-yard TD pass to Jalen Saunders, keeping Fresno State's streak of scoring on every opening drive this season intact.
Idaho kept things close in the first half, tying the score at 7 when Reader hit Clayton Homme with a 3-yard pass late in the first quarter.
Fresno State's Kevin Goessling kicked a 48-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs up 10-7 at the end of the first.
Idaho briefly took a 14-10 lead when Princeton McCarty broke away with an 18-yard TD run early in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs quickly took control when Saunders snagged a 51-yard touchdown catch and Marcel Jensen ran in from the 1 with 1:59 left in the first half, giving Fresno State a 24-17 lead at the break.
The Bulldogs broke the game open in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns, while Goessling added his second 48-yard field goal to enter the fourth quarter with a 41-17 lead.
The Vandals tried to get back in the game early in the fourth when Matthew Harvey ran for a 65-yard kickoff return and Kama Bailey closed it out with a one-handed touchdown catch from Reader to make it 41-24 with 14:34 left.
The Bulldogs closed with a 14-play drive that ended with Carr hitting Josh Harper with a 9-yard touchdown pass to put Fresno State up 48-24.
New Mexico State (1-2) at San Jose State (0-3) Sept. 24, 4:00, ESPN3
Here's The Deal … When it comes to games on the schedule that each team can look at and think there might be a reasonable shot at a win, this is it. The two are on the same level, the same playing field, and the same talent, but San Jose State might be a little more desperate.
New Mexico State shocked the Big Ten with a road win over Minnesota two weeks ago, but it failed to capitalize on the momentum with a disastrous home loss to UTEP. With New Mexico up next, though, there's a solid chance at coming up with another win, but San Jose State hasn't known much success so far in the Mike MacIntyre era. The Spartans only won one game last year and lost to New Mexico State 29-27, and after an 0-3 start, despite playing well, and with road games up next at Colorado State and BYU, this is a must win for the program.
Why New Mexico State Might Win: San Jose State can't score. Coming up with three points against Stanford isn't a shock, but failing to do much of anything against UCLA and Nevada in winnable games is a problem. The passing game isn't working at all, and while the defense has held up well over the last two games, the pass rush has been non-existent. The Aggies have been awful in pass protection, but this week the line should get a break. Keeping the quarterback upright is a must, considering the running game isn't coming up with much with just 155 yards so far. However ..
Why San Jose State Might Win: Just when it seemed like New Mexico State had something good going in the passing game, it lost rising star quarterback Andrew Manley for the year with a torn ACL. He got through the UTEP game with 242 yards and a touchdown, but now the offense is starting from scratch and doesn't have a running game to fall back on. If you're only gaining 16 yards on the ground against UTEP, you have a problem. The Spartan defense, despite the yards allowed, hasn't done much breaking giving up just 261 rushing yards to the supposedly mighty Nevada ground game and only giving up 145 yards through the air against UCLA. Stanford didn't need to bomb away, but Andrew Luck only threw for 171 yards. If the Spartans can somehow generate a little bit of offense early on, and if they can get a lead, NMSU will have problems coming back.
What To Watch Out For: So now what for the New Mexico State offense with Manley gone? Senior Matt Christian came in from the JUCO ranks and started the first eight games of the year before getting knocked out for the season with a shoulder injury. The 6-3, 223-pounder took a beating all year long, and it showed as he only completed 48% of his throws for 1,372 yards and two scores. On the plus side, he kept the interceptions and the mistakes to a minimum throwing just two picks while also showing some mobility running for 218 yards and two scores. He has skills, but the one-time Fresno State Bulldog has had a broken hand to go along with his other problems. Now he's the main man and he has to carry the attack.
San Jose State might have lost to Nevada, but it got a strong game from Brandon Rutley, the veteran running back who came up with 86 yards and a score. He was a top recruit for the program with 5-11, 190-pound size and tremendous speed, but he wasn't able to get loose too often last year and didn't show off his cut-of-a-dime quickness. There were times when he cranked out a few yards, but he wasn't used as a workhorse. Now he'll start to be used more.
What Will Happen: San Jose State will finally give MacIntyre his first win over an FBS team Christian will come up with a good game and he'll keep pressing the Spartan secondary, but the yards won't turn into enough points. Three takeaways will lead to the key plays needed late to pull out the victory.
CFN Prediction: San Jose State 20 … New Mexico State 17
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