Instant Analysis: Rutgers-Fresno State

Staff Columnist
Posted Aug 30, 2013

The clock didn't strike midnight for Rutgers in Fresno, Calif. No, this insane beginning to the college football season ended at precisely 12:01 a.m. local time in the inland section of California.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

What do you give the man who has everything? That's a question asked for birthdays and at Christmas.

What do you say about a football game that had everything? That's the kind of question which accompanies the return of this blessed sport we call college football.

Given the way Rutgers threw the ball last season (not well) and played defense last season (extremely well), who would have predicted a 103-point free-for-all in the Valley, a game that lasted almost four and a half hours (with only one overtime inning, mind you, not five) and ended at 12:01 a.m. local time>?

This game was simultaneously wild and wayward, fun and flawed, intoxicating and inelegant. Rutgers and Fresno State exchanged haymakers at times while, on other occasions, trading all sorts of gaffes and goof-ups. All in all, there's an easy tendency to say that these teams are in trouble for the rest of the season.

However, this is what happens in week one of a season in a sport that doesn't have a preseason. Players are going to be sloppy. Reactions are not always going to be crisp. Rhythms are not going to be immediately established. If you're ready to write off Rutgers in The American, wait to see what Louisville will do against Ohio, and what Cincinnati will do as September moves along. If you're less convinced about Fresno State in the Mountain West, wait for Boise State to take its turn against Washington.

Say this much about the victorious Bulldogs: Fresno State's in a much better place than it was just 12 months ago. Coach Tim DeRuyter is making good on his commitment to restore what had been lost over the previous few years in the Valley.