2009 CFN Fresno
2009 Fresno State
2009 Fresno State
2009 Fresno State
2008 FSU Preview
2007 FSU Preview
2006 FSU Preview
Head coach: Pat Hill
13th year: 92-61
Best FSU Players
1. RB Ryan Mathews, Jr.
2. LB Ben Jacobs,
3. DE Chris Carter, Jr.
4. RB Lonyae Miller, Sr.
5. CB/KR A.J. Jefferson, Sr.
6. WR Seyi Ajirotutu, Sr.
RB Anthony Harding, Sr.
8. WR Chastin West, Sr.
Andrew Jackson, Jr.
10. LB Nico Herron, Jr.
9/5 UC Davis
9/12 at Wisconsin
9/18 Boise State
9/26 at Cincinnati
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/10 at Hawaii
10/17 San Jose State
10/24 at New Mexico State
10/31 Utah State
11/7 at Idaho
11/14 at Nevada
11/21 Louisiana Tech
11/28 OPEN DATE
12/5 at Illinois
9/1 at Rutgers W 24-7
9/6 OPEN DATE
9/13 Wisconsin L
9/20 at Toledo W
9/27 at UCLA W 36-31
10/4 Hawaii L 32-29 OT
10/11 Idaho W 45-32
10/18 OPEN DATE
10/25 at Utah State W
11/1 at Louisiana Tech
11/7 Nevada L 41-28
11/15 New Mexico St W
11/21 at San Jose St W
11/28 at Boise State L 61-10
New Mexico Bowl
12/20 Colorado State L 40-35
was supposed to be when it all came together for a supposedly loaded
Fresno State team, but once again, Pat Hill's team came up short making
this a pivotal year for the program. Bad things happen when teams don't
live up to expectations, and coaches get put on hot seats when their
teams lose four of their final six games.
Hill was a hot
commodity a few years ago with his brash attitude, his fearless desire
to play anyone at anytime, and his drive to turn Fresno State into a
national power. But along the way, Boise State turned into the program
Hill had always wanted FSU to become, while his team did just enough to
tantalize and tease everyone to make it seem like there should be bigger
So how did a team that could open up the year
with a dominant win over Rutgers, could battle with Wisconsin, and could
beat UCLA, even though it was a lousy Bruin team, in Los Angeles become
so mediocre? Simple ... it didn't play up to its athleticism and
The offense was full of speed and explosion, but it
rarely showed it off. The talent that was able to come up with the best
all-around return game in America couldn't bring that same devastating
playmaking ability to the offensive attack. But the offense was hardly
the problem, and this year it should be even better as long as the line
can be healthy and the coaching staff can settle on a starting
quarterback. The stable of running backs, with Ryan Mathews, Lonyae
Miller, and Anthony Harding, is among the best in the country, and the
receivers have the speed to stretch things out. And then there's the
Loaded with so much promise, potential, and athleticism,
the D was a disaster getting worse and worse against the run as the
season went on. The front four that was supposed to be so devastating
with its pass rush couldn't get into the backfield, while the
linebackers, other than Ben Jacobs, couldn't seem to come up with a
meaningful tackle. As always, the Fresno State D is loaded with good
athletes and big hitters, but everyone will be playing with a heavy
heart after the loss of coordinator Dan Brown to his battle against
So now all the attention will be on Hill and his
13th year at the helm. Does he have a trick up his sleeve to be able to
save his job, or is this a case of a program growing stale after a coach
has been around too long. Another bowl game is a given, but it might
take a big season, helped by a win over Boise State and consistency
throughout, for there not to be big changes going into next year.
What to watch for on offense: The quarterback situation. Tom
Brandstater had size, experience, and a next-level arm, but he was never
able to come up with the production needed to get the program over the
hump. Now the offense is going to incorporate more spread and more
running, even though the quarterbacks don't necessarily fit the type.
Left-handed Ryan Colburn is a bomber who can get the ball anywhere he
wants to, while David Carr's brother, Derek, a true freshman, appears to
be ready to do big things from day one. And then there's Ebahn Flowers,
the wild-card in the mix with a nice blend of quickness and passing
What to watch for on defense: Pass rush. The Bulldogs were
stunningly bad at getting into the backfield last season generating just
18 sacks while finishing last in the WAC and 108th in the nation in
tackle for loss. That's where Chris Carter comes in. Part linebacker,
part defensive end, the junior was moved around last season and ended up
making 88 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. Now he'll be a pure pass
rusher asked to shake things up in the backfield. There's enough
quickness along the rest of the line to do more, but the Bulldogs need
production from all four spots.
The team will be far better if … it can pick off a pass and
can stop the run. Over the last two seasons, Bulldog opponents have
thrown the ball 844 times and Fresno State came up with a grand total of
nine interceptions. Only Miami, with four, picked off fewer passes last
season, while only ten teams came up with fewer than nine interceptions
last year alone. And then there was the run defense. It came up
surprisingly clutch against Wisconsin, but was gouged by Toledo the next
week for 297 yards and four scores. Nevada ran for 472 yards, Boise
State tore off 346, and Colorado State ran for 362. How bad was the run
D? Despite holding New Mexico State and San Jose State to a combined -14
net yards rushing, FSU finished 108th in the nation in run defense
allowing 210 yards per game.
As always, Fresno State will challenge itself in
non-conference play, but this is ridiculous. The Bulldogs have
to go on the road to Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and close the season
out at Illinois in December. If that wasn't enough, the Boise
State showdown is the WAC opener sandwiched between the Badgers
and Bearcats in mid-September. At least the Boise State game is
at home, as is the Louisiana Tech game in late November. Three
of the final four games are on the road for the second painful
stretch like that of the season. There are only five home games
Junior RB Ryan Mathews.
The only question is whether or not he can stay healthy. When he was
able to stay on the field, he was among the nation's most productive
backs running for 606 yards and six touchdowns in eight games. Combining
with Lonyae Miller, who ran for 812 yards and seven scores, and Anthony
Harding, who led the team with 822 yards and six scores, Fresno State is
loaded in the backfield.
Best Defensive Player:
Junior LB Ben Jacobs.
Whether he ends up playing inside or out, he's the team's only do-it-all
linebacker. Not only did he lead the team with 113 tackles, he also
broke up five passes. He has to clean up things the other linebackers
don't get to and he ends up getting in on seemingly every tackle, but
now he has to start getting into the backfield on a regular basis.
Key player to a
Senior SS Moses Harris.
The secondary needs playmakers. The corners have speed and potential,
but A.J. Jefferson is a better return man than a defender and Desia Dunn
needs to be able to come through when picked on. The safeties have to
start providing more help, especially until the pass rush comes through,
if it comes through. Harris finished third on the team with 75 tackles
and broke up five passes, but he didn't pick off a pass and he didn't do
enough to come up with stops to halt drives.
The season will be a
success if ... Fresno State beats Boise State and ends up
winning at least a share for the WAC title. The Bulldogs aren't better
than the Broncos and they aren't better than Nevada, but they get
Louisiana Tech at home along with the big date with BSU. In the end,
they're just good enough to go 6-2 in WAC play and get to a decent bowl
again, but everyone wants more. The Humantiarian Bowl might not be
enough to save Hill's job.
Sept. 19 vs. Boise State.
It's not an overstatement to call this the most important game in Pat
Hill's career. After last year's 61-10 bizarre embarrassment, with the
Broncos scoring 51 second half points, the Bulldogs have to show that
things have changed since last November by coming up with the win in the
2008 Fun Stats:
- Passes picked
off: Opponents 12 - Fresno State 5
- Average yards per carry:
Opponents 5.6 - Fresno State 4.9
- Penalties: Opponents 81 for 749
yards - Fresno State 64 for 543 yards