Fresno State is seeking clarification from the Mountain West Conference on the first-quarter play when receiver Isaiah Burse was ejected by officials after he was penalized for targeting on a seemingly bland play in their 42-37 victory at Hawaii.
On an 11-yard pass play from quarterback Derek Carr to Josh Harper along the sideline, Burse came in and made a late block on a Hawaii defender. He didn't appear to lower his head to make contact with the crown of the helmet, but was flagged and after a video review, ejected, under the new rule put in place this season to try to protect players.
"We're obviously going to send it in to the conference's supervisor of officials, Ken Rivera, and ask for his interpretation because this is the type of play I feared in the summer that would get someone thrown out in what appeared to us on the sideline to be an innocuous play," Bulldogs coach Tim DeRuyter said Sunday.
"In fact, I think Isaiah got the worst of it. To throw somebody out for something like that, I think they interpret the rule the way it's written in the books, but I don't think this is the intent of the rule."
But Burse, the Bulldogs' leader in all-purpose yards, had to go to the locker room after Fresno State had run just 11 plays in a game they snapped the football 92 times — and that was just one of a few dubious calls made by the officials for or against both teams.
The Bulldogs will send the conference the specifics of the play — down and distance, yard line, time of the play — and wait for an interpretation that could leave them scratching their heads or have a new teaching point when they get back on the practice field, maybe both.
"The only explanation I got is it was targeting," DeRuyter said. "We're going to send it in to get his interpretation. We have a mechanism for sending plays in that in our view we want clarification on and Ken Rivera does a great job of communicating with us whether he thought the call was correct or incorrect and we respect that process."
Ederaine jumps ahead
Ejiro Ederaine had two sacks in his first career start at Hawaii, and DeRuyter said the sophomore outside linebacker had moved ahead of senior Nat Harrison.
"The more reps he gets, the more productive he is," DeRuyter said. "I think he's done a particularly good job as a pass rusher. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm. He's got to be bigger — we have to continue to get him to eat well and lift well, but I like the way he's playing this year."
Ederaine, despite playing at a tick less than 220 pounds, has been in on 11 tackles and has 5.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks. Harrison, from Edison High, has made 12 tackles, one for a loss.
"He's slippery coming off an edge," DeRuyter said of Ederaine. "Certain guys have that 'it' factor as far as pass rush. They can move their hips and slide by a blocker and finish — and he's got a little bit of that 'it' factor to him.
"Ideally, our edge guys, our outside backers, are guys that need to have sacks, need to have tackles for loss and, really, those sacks when they're hitting quarterbacks from the blind side they need to create takeaway opportunities whether it's a ball being thrown poorly or a forced fumble.
"We're getting closer on those. We have to be a little more violent at the point of attack going after the football, not just worrying about the tackle when you get a chance to hit a quarterback."
-- Fresno State moved up to No. 23 from No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 and to No. 21 from No. 23 in the USA Today/Coaches poll. Northern Illinois, another team from a non-AQ conference, the Mid-American, entered the coaches' poll at No. 23. The Huskies are just outside the Top 25 in the AP poll at No. 26.
-- The Bulldogs got out of Hawaii without serious injury. Nose guard Tyeler Davison had to come limping off the field in the fourth quarter, but is expected to play Saturday at Idaho. "Tyeler, a guy clipped him on the back of his legs late in the game, but he should be fine," DeRuyter said.
-- The Bulldog Sports Network has picked up the Idaho game and will televise it on KSEE (24.1). Kickoff is 2 p.m.
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