Fresno State appeared to get its run game going a bit in its victory at Hawaii, with Marteze Waller gaining 95 yards on 22 plays and Josh Quezada adding 78 on just 13 carries.
But at the end of that game, coach Tim DeRuyter and the Bulldogs had to wonder a bit.
Do 206 yards lie? There obviously is more inside that number ...
Given an opportunity to finish off Hawaii with 3:01 to go, after forcing the Rainbow Warriors to punt away the football on what should have been their last possession, the Bulldogs couldn't gain control. They took over at their 41-yard line and gained 8 yards on first down, a run by Waller. But on second-and-2, Waller was stuffed for no gain. And on third-and-2, quarterback Derek Carr was hit for a 1-yard loss when another run broke down amidst some assignment mishaps.
Rather than pounding out the final minutes of the game, the Bulldogs had to sweat it out -- they punted the ball back to Hawaii, having taken only 1:04 off the clock, and the Rainbow Warriors got all of the way to the Fresno State 40 before L.J. Jones picked off a last-gasp throw toward the end zone.
That failure didn't negate the Bulldogs' progress in the run game, but it did take something away from it.
"At that point, you'd like to be able to finish the game off by running the football," DeRuyter said. "And, I think we had a nice run on first down, second down we had a minimal gin, but we had third-and-short and we didn't execute the play. There were some busted assignments on the play that, if we execute the assignment, we should have had a first down easy.
"It's inexcusable. We didn't coach it well, the player didn't execute it well and we have to get that fixed because we had a good enough push, we had the right play called, but we didn't block the right guy."
Among the teams ranked in the Top 25 this week, Fresno State remains at or near the bottom in some key areas running the football. But there is some solace -- the company they're keeping is not all bad.
Rushing plays on third-and-1 to 3 yards:
** 1, Northwestern: 17 for 179, 10.5 ypp
** 21, Fresno State: 12 for 31, 2.6 ypp
** 22, Alabama: 8 for 20, 2.5 ypp
** T23, Arizona State: 12 for 23, 1.9 ypp
** T23, Oklahoma: 14 for 26, 1.9 ypp
** 25, Georgia: 6 for 4, 0.7 ypp
Rushing plays in the red zone:
** 1, Baylor: 32 for 172, 5.4 ypp
** 21, Washington: 38 for 93, 2.4 ypp
** 22, Arizona State: 33 for 77, 2.3 ypp
** 23, Texas Tech: 27 for 57, 2.1 ypp
** 24, Michigan: 32 for 66, 2.0 ypp
** 25, Fresno State: 32 for 47 yards, 1.5 ypp
The Bulldogs' rushing output at Hawaii also hides a bit. In gaining those 206 yards, Fresno State had 20 of 45 plays go for 2 yards or less and more than half, 24 of 45, go for 3 yards or less.
"It's why we're a work in progress," DeRuyter said. "That's why we're trying to improve each week. I thought we improved running the ball -- 200 yards against that front was great. But there still are things we have to improve. You're never going to be perfect, but you'd like to be, and it's something we're going to continue to work on. We saw improvement in the overall run game, now we've got to see improvement in our third-and-short and 4-minute offense and red zone."
The run game issues haven't exactly slowed the Bulldogs, who are ranked 12th in the bowl subdivision in scoring offense, putting up an average of 44.0 points per game.
Carr is tied for third in passing touchdowns and tied for fifth in points responsible for, and he has a lot of company from the Mountain West. It is the only conference with more than one quarterback with at least 14 touchdown throws, and at least 90 points responsible for.
** 1, Sean Mannion (Oregon State): 21 in five games
** 2, Chuckie Keeton (Utah State): 17 in five games
** T3, Derek Carr (Fresno State): 14 in four games
** T3, Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville): 14 in four games
** T3, Brett Smith (Wyoming): 14 in five games
** T3, Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M): 14 in five games
Points responsible for:
** 1, Mannion: 130
** 2, Keeton: 114
** 3, Brandon Connette (Duke): 102 in five games
** T3, Manziel: 102
** 5, Carr:90
** T5, Smith: 90
Carr also has thrown a touchdown pass in 24 consecutive games. The NCAA record is 38 in a row set by Russell Wilson, with the first 24 of those games at North Carolina State in 2009 and '10 and the last 14 of them at Wisconsin in 2011.
THIRD AND SHORT
** Wyoming had its game at Texas State delayed by lightning for nearly 3 1/2 hours, the third time this season the Cowboys have had a game halted because of weather.
** UNLV snapped a 23-game road losing streak with a 56-42 victory at New Mexico. It was the Rebels' first win away from home since Oct. 24, 2009, also at New Mexico. And the 56 points were the most they have scored in a game since Nov. 15, 1986, when they beat New Mexico State 58-42. Obviously, the Rebels need to see about adding New Mexico Highlands, Eastern and Western New Mexico to future schedules.
** The Bulldogs' Derek Carr had a streak of 180 consecutive passes without an interception snapped in the third quarter at Hawaii, when he had a pass tipped at the line and carom to inside linebacker Art Laurel. Carr was three passes shy of tying the conference record of 183 set by Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith, a streak that ended in a loss at Nebraska in week one.
** Boise State beat up Southern Mississippi 60-7, the worst margin of defeat for the Golden Eagles since a 69-7 loss in 1969 to an Ole Miss team led by Archie Manning.
** UNLV wide out Devante Davis ranks second in the bowl subdivision in touchdown receptions with eight. He is ahead of Louisville's Devante Parker, who is tied for fifth with six touchdown catches, and Fresno State's Davante Adams, who is tied for 15th with four.
** San Diego State trailed at New Mexico State 16-0 in the second quarter before coming back to win. It was only the eighth time in school history the Aztecs have come back from a 16-point deficit to win and the first since Dec. 3, 2011, when it was down 21-0 to Fresno State and won 35-28 in what was the final game for former Bulldogs coach Pat Hill.
** The Aztecs have allowed 50 rushing yards on 47 plays over their past two games -- they played Oregon State and New Mexico State, which rank 120th and 108th in the nation rushing offense.
** New Mexico rushed for 400 yards in its loss to UNLV -- in the first half. The Lobos finished with 497 yards on the ground and had three players gain 100 or more for the first time in school history: Kasey Carrier had 192, Carlos Wiggins had 119 and quarterback Cole Gautsche had 108.
THE 500 CLUB
Mountain West teams averaged 504.3 yards of total offense last week, with seven teams rolling up more than 500 yards and 11 of the 12 gaining at least 430 yards.
The only MW team that didn't crack the 400-yard mark? That would be Wyoming, which went into the week leading the conference in total offense with 516.2 yards per game. The Cowboys were held to 356 total yards in a 42-21 loss at Texas State with quarterback Brett Smith, the conference leader with 377.8 yards per game, accounting for 275 total yards.
** 599 yards: Nevada in a 45-42 victory over Air Force, with Cody Fajardo becoming the second quarterback in school history with 2,000 career rushing yards and 5,000 passing yards. Colin Kaepernick was the first.
** 591 yards: Colorado State in a 59-42 victory over Texas El-Paso, the most for the Rams since they had 619 in a victory over Fresno State in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.
** 581 yards: New Mexico in a 56-42 loss to UNLV, the most for the Lobos in a loss since gaining 584 at Texas Tech in 2003. New Mexico is only 5-6 when gaining at least 500 yards since then.
** 568 yards: UNLV, which was only the 10th game with 500 or more yards for the Rebels since 2002. Since then, they have gone back-to-back games with fewer than 568 yards combined a mind-blowing 40 times.
** 545 yards: Boise State in a 60-7 victory over Southern Mississippi, with the Broncos scoring the final 50 points and seven different players scoring at least one touchdown.
** 530 yards: Fresno State in a 42-37 victory at Hawaii, with 319 of those yards coming in a second half during which the Bulldogs offense produced only two touchdowns -- and turnovers on four possessions in a row.
** 520 yards: Utah State in a 40-12 victory at San Jose State, with Chuckie Keeton throwing three more TD passes. He has two or more in 11 consecutive regular-season games and 33 in that stretch.
The reporter can be reached at email@example.com or @rkuwada on Twitter. His "Mountain West: Week in Review" report runs on Wednesdays during the Fresno State football and basketball seasons. Read his daily updates at fresnobee.com/bulldogs.