MOSCOW, Idaho — Tim DeRuyter sounded pretty peeved at Paul Petrino, but he might want to put the Idaho coach on his Christmas list.
The Bulldogs needed something — anything — to keep them from taking their foot off the gas during blowouts, and Petrino may have given it to them.
Whether Petrino actually instructed his players to deliver late hits on Derek Carr, as DeRuyter claimed during his halftime radio interview with Ralph Wood and Petrino later denied, really doesn't matter.
What matters is DeRuyter and the Bulldogs believed he did. And that's what got them seeing red in an otherwise noncompetitive 61-14 thrashing on Saturday inside the Kibbie Dome.
After telling Wood at halftime "We're going to score 100," and "He's going to get what he deserves," DeRuyter and Petrino had a longer-than-usual exchange during the postgame handshake.
Speaking to the media a few minutes later, DeRuyter downplayed his halftime comments.
"There were some words from their sideline toward our quarterback that we didn't appreciate," DeRuyter said. "That's over now."
Petrino, predictably, went into "Who, me?" mode while expressing his fondness for Carr, who had just shredded his defense for 419 yards and five touchdowns.
"I think (DeRuyter) might have heard the sideline saying, 'Hit the quarterback,' but I don't think we ever touched him," Petrino said with a chuckle. "(Carr) sure didn't get targeted."
Carr did not get sacked in the game. He also deftly sidestepped getting involved in any controversy over whether he was targeted by the Vandals.
"When (DeRuyter) says, 'Score 100,' we know he means it. But who doesn't want to?" Carr said. "Those kind of things are for Coach to talk about. My job is to go out there and try to score points."
Regardless of what was said, or not said, it made for a pretty fired up Fresno State locker room at halftime. Just what the Bulldogs needed after last week's near collapse at Hawaii.
Unlike last week, the intensity level never waned. All the way through the final two plays.
After Dillon Root recorded his first career sack, which elicited a wave of whoops and fist pumps from the sideline, the Vandals inexplicably called timeout with 1 second left.
OK, so you wanna play that game. Fresno State defensive coordinator Nick Toth dialed up another blitz on the final play, and Root stormed in for sack No. 2.
Now that's how you finish a game.
All told, this was the kind of blowout these 5-0 Bulldogs desperately needed.
Fresno State's "1-0 each week" mantra is fine for coaches and players, but the rest of the world isn't as easily swayed. Especially poll voters, who make judgments based on final scores against the level of competition. Right or wrong.
When the Bulldogs nearly coughed up a 42-3 lead against Hawaii, allowing 34 straight points in the final 11/2 quarters, it didn't hurt them in the rankings because most of the voters already were in REM sleep when the Warriors rallied.
But you know they did a double-take after seeing the final score, and some probably eyed the Bulldogs with suspicion.
With Northern Illinois just a couple of poll spots behind Fresno State in the race to be the highest-ranked team from a non-BCS automatic- qualifier conference, the Bulldogs could not afford another narrow escape.
They needed to put a whooping on someone, and Idaho proved the perfect patsy.
I'm not sure what Petrino and his coaches were thinking by single-covering Davante Adams, but that was some awful game-planning.
The Bulldogs' best receiver, coming off a sub-par game, put on a clinic in the first quarter with two exquisite touchdown catches.
On the second one, Carr delivered a perfect back-shoulder throw that Adams caught in stride with one hand before twisting into the end zone.
Those kinds of plays, plus a defense that produced five turnovers and seven sacks, are what fueled the blowout.
But don't overlook the power of anger.
"We owed it to ourselves to finish a game like we did today because last week we obviously didn't," Adams said. "I think we definitely needed this one."
I spoke to several people who were on the sideline during the game and none said they heard anything amiss from the Idaho sideline.
But DeRuyter must've heard something because he really got after the officials at the end of the second quarter before storming over to Wood for his colorful interview.
Whether the words in question came from Petrino's mouth is something we'll probably never know for certain. But Idaho's first-year coach does have a loose-tongued reputation. (For evidence, look up his now-infamous postgame handshake with Mike Leach after Washington State crushed the Vandals 42-0 two weeks ago.)
So, again, it really doesn't matter whether Petrino instructed his players to hit Carr after the whistle. The Bulldogs believed he did, and Idaho paid the price.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.