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at Fresno State 31 … Utah State 21

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 15, 2011


Week 7 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Utah State at Fresno State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 7 - Utah State at Fresno St

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Oct. 15 at Fresno State 31 … Utah State 21
CFN Analysis: After losing their last two games and with the season appearing to start slipping away, the Bulldogs came up with a huge second half and a big day from Robbie Rouse to go 2-0 in WAC play with the big trip to Nevada up next. The run defense hasn’t been great, but it did its job over the last 30 minutes and finished up allowing 260 yards and two touchdowns with most of the production coming in the first half. Robbie Rouse wasn’t a workhorse, but he ran for 140 yards and a score on 24 carries while Derek Carr had an effective 248-yard, two score day. Tristan Okpalaugo was tremendous with eight tackles and two sacks, and now he and the D will have to do even more against the Wolf Pack offense.

After looking so great in the first half with 21 points, the offense started to fall flat as Chuckie Keaton looking like a freshman for the first time completing 15-of-31 passes for 194 yards and a score. Robert Turbin continues to be fantastic with 155 yards and a score on just 16 carries, but the Aggies were bottled up late and Turbin couldn’t get going. There’s still plenty of time to come up with a good season, but beating Louisiana Tech next week is a must. 3-4 means a bowl game is still on the table. 2-5 means the season is all but over. To get the win, the team needs to come up with a full sixty minutes like it did against Wyoming a few weeks ago.

(AP) FRESNO, Calif. -- Robbie Rouse ran for 140 yards, including the clinching fourth-quarter touchdown, as Fresno State stormed back to defeat Utah State 31-21 on Saturday night.

Derek Carr completed 23 of 39 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns for Fresno State (3-4, 2-0 WAC), including a 23-yarder to Jalen Saunders that put the Bulldogs ahead. Carr also ran for a score.

Robert Turbin had 155 rushing yards on 16 carries for Utah State (2-4, 0-1), whose three previous losses had come by a combined eight points.

Utah State, held scoreless in the second half after racking up 305 yards of offense by halftime, dropped its fifth straight game to Fresno State and fell to 0-6 at Bulldog Stadium since 1980.

The Bulldogs outscored Utah State 17-0 in the second half by sacking Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton three times and forcing a key fumble.

Fresno State took its first lead of the game, 24-21, on Carr's 23-yard touchdown pass to Saunders with 11:54 remaining.

On third and 14, Carr pump-faked to his right before throwing a sidearm screen pass to Saunders in the middle of the field. Saunders cut back against the defense, evading at least five tacklers before bursting up the sideline and into the end zone.

Utah State went nowhere on its next drive, and on third and 10, Keeton got clobbered from behind by Tristan Okpalaugo, who forced a fumble.

Jeremiah Toma made the recovery for Fresno State at the Aggies' 23-yard line. Seven plays later, Rouse bulled his way into the end zone from 9 yards out to put the Bulldogs ahead by 10 points with 8:05 remaining.

The Aggies drove to the Bulldogs' 26 in the final minutes before Logan Harrell sacked Keeton on third and 8 for a 12-yard loss.

Keeton was injured on the play and left the game. The freshman finished 15 of 31 for 194 yards and a touchdown.

The Aggies led 21-14 following a back-and-forth first half that featured 577 combined yards of offense.

Utah State regained the lead with 11:24 left in the second quarter when Michael Smith outran the Bulldogs defense for a 46-yard touchdown after taking an option pitch from Keeton.

Fresno State trailed 14-0 midway through the first quarter before rallying to tie the game on Carr's 23-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Burse and Carr's 1-yard TD sneak.

Smith caught a swing pass from Keeton on Utah State's first possession and took it 47 yards for a touchdown. After a Bulldogs turnover on the Aggies' 5-yard line, Turbin went around the edge for a 59-yard score that made it 14-0.

Smith finished with 71 yards rushing and 52 yards receiving.

Utah State (2-3) at Fresno State (2-4) Oct. 15, 10:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … Is Utah State really good enough to win the WAC? After coming so close to beating Auburn and BYU, and losing to Colorado State in overtime, the Aggies unleashed the fury against Wyoming. There wasn’t any worry about a fourth quarter collapse In the 63-19 win, and now it’ll be interesting to see if that’s the moment the dam broke and the young team will start playing with more confidence, or if it was just one big win.

WAC play starts now with Fresno State, and while the Aggies are battle tested and have dealt with some nasty road environments, they’ll have to prove over the next few weeks if they’re for real or not against Fresno State and Hawaii on the road. Win those two, and the conference championship might come down to the Nevada game.

While the needle is pointing up for Utah State, Fresno State is sputtering with a blowout loss to Boise State after losing to Ole Miss. Throw in the 27-22 win over North Dakota and it’s not like the Bulldogs have owned the home field advantage. However, with a win at Idaho a few weeks ago, they’re 1-0 in WAC play and everything can start to turn with a good win. However, with a trip to Nevada next week, the season can go south if the Bulldogs can’t come up with the win.

Why Utah State Might Win: The Fresno State defensive front isn’t doing enough to stop the Utah State running game. The defense gave up 216 rushing yards and four scores and Nebraska ran for 219 yards and four touchdowns. On the year, Fresno State has allowed 19 touchdown runs and hasn’t even been close to slowing down mobile quarterbacks. Taylor Martinez ran for 166 yards and two scores, and Cal’s Zach Maynard, a passer, ran for 52 yards. Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton has been more of a ring-leader than a major part of the ground game, but he’s come up with positive yards in every game and he shouldn’t have any problems coming up with a big day on the ground.

Why Fresno State Might Win: It’s not like the Aggies have faced anyone who bombs away. Auburn comes close, and Barrett Trotter was able to mount a classic comeback late to pull out the win. That’s about it. Colorado State’s Pete Thomas isn’t having a big year, and BYU and Wyoming are struggling with their consistency. Fresno State has problems, but Derek Carr has shown the ability and the potential to push the ball deep from time to time. He hasn’t done much of it over the past two weeks, but the Bulldogs have the receivers to stretch the field. Utah State still hasn’t shown the ability to come through in the clutch, and if this is close late, the doubt from the previous collapses could creep back in. Fresno State might have to just stay in the hunt for a full four quarters.

What To Watch Out For: Fresno State linebacker Travis Brown needs to come up with a huge performance. The junior leads the team in tackles with 44 on the season, but he wasn’t in on enough big plays against Boise State after making 11 tackles against Idaho and ten against Ole Miss. The 6-2, 235-pounder suffered a hip injury this spring, but he’s been more than fine. However he hasn’t shown off his pass rushing skills, and against the Aggies, he needs to be a tone-setting big hitter.

it’s time to include Robert Turbin among the best backs in America. With four straight 100-yard games and 599 yards and ten scores on the year, the Aggie junior has been dominant as the star of the ground attack, and he’s doing even more with the passing game with two touchdown catches on his three grabs over the last two weeks. Against Fresno State two years ago he ran for 138 yards and a score, and this week he should have that by the fourth quarter.

What Will Happen: It’s all clicking for Utah State at the right time. Fresno State hasn’t been able to show it can handle a decent offense, and it hasn’t shown enough with its own attack to prove it can keep up the pace. The spread is rolling right now for the Aggies, and it’ll keep on cranking out yards in bunches. However, Fresno State will make it close, but Utah State will finally hold on in the fourth.

CFN Prediction: Utah State 37 … Fresno State 31
- Click For Latest Line From ATS:  Utah State -3.5   O/U: 64.5

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