The single coverage certainly helped, not that Davante Adams really needed any. Coming off a difficult week that had started with his coaches publicly questioning his effort, the Fresno State wideout had a tremendous bounce-back game in the first half on Saturday as the Bulldogs ripped up Idaho in a 61-14 victory.
Adams had seven receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, 13 for 176 yards and three touchdowns by halftime and finished with 16 catches for 185 yards and the three scores.
The 16 receptions tied a school record set in 1984 by Larry Willis against Montana State and matched in 1987 by Ron Jenkins at Pacific, the three touchdown receptions a career-high.
"I thought he responded really well," said coach Tim DeRuyter, who had called out Adams for a lack of effort in the Bulldogs' win at Hawaii, saying he had to play harder. "It wasn't surprising to us. We know he has a lot of ability, and we were both disappointed about how it turned out in Hawaii and he responded in the right way and I was proud of the way he played.
"I think a year ago, he probably wouldn't have handled it very well. He was accountable for it. He came in and talked to me and we had a frank discussion about it. He understood where we were coming from and he vowed that he would never have that issue again, and if his play on Saturday is any indication, he's right on track for that."
The Vandals never did or even try much to derail Adams and quarterback Derek Carr, leaving the Bulldogs' receiver in man coverage and giving him a free run into his routes.
"When that happens you just got to take advantage and let them know you can't do that type of stuff against the receivers we have here," Adams said. "It felt good to see some single coverage, because it gets frustrating sometimes when they have guys over the top and below you inside, all over the place. At the time, you got to take it as a compliment as well."
The 13 receptions in the first half were more than the leading receiver in an entire game has had for 10 of the other 11 teams in the Mountain West Conference. Yet Idaho stuck to its plan.
"They wanted to leave one guy on him," said Carr, who completed 37 of 48 passes for 419 yards and five touchdowns. "They've got to decide who they want to cover ... they left him there.
"Te worked his butt off this week. Everyone has an off week. I make mistakes. He makes mistakes. It was just a way to get his attention and it did. He's doing a great job."
Bulldogs look at second-half issues
Fresno State went into the third quarter riding the momentum gained from a highly efficient half of football, but lost it fairly quickly. The Vandals were not able to take advantage, but the Bulldogs punted after five plays on their first possession in the second half, then missed a 24-yard field goal attempt, then went three-and-out on their next series, and that did not sit particularly well.
"Clearly, we didn't finish drives there," DeRuyter said. "That was the most disappointed I was in the game, that we didn't start out the way we should have. We had some communication errors with two of our play calls, the guys that do the signals. That can't happen. Consequently, we had a couple plays that were blown and we just weren't very efficient and it took us a little while to get going."
Letting down a bit with a big lead, which they had done at Hawaii, had nothing to do with it this time.
"That first series, we had a lack of communication," DeRuyter said. "Guys were focused and playing hard, but when guys are running different plays, it's hard to be effective."
Fresno State climbs, and falls, in polls
Fresno State's rankings in the national polls changed Sunday — not all for the better.
The Bulldogs moved up two spots, to No. 21, in the AP Top 25 rankings. But in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll, Fresno State slipped one spot, to No. 22.
For the fourth straight week, the top five teams in The Associated Press college football poll were unchanged, led by No. 1 Alabama.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide received 55 of 60 first-place votes after an easy victory and No. 2 Oregon received the other five after its latest blowout. Clemson is No. 3, followed by Ohio State and Stanford.
No. 23 Northern Illinois (the No. 2 non-AQ school behind Fresno State in the polls), No. 24 Virginia Tech and No. 25 Missouri moved into the rankings for the first time this season. Arizona State, Mississippi and Maryland dropped out.
Bye week plan set
With a bye week before facing UNLV on Oct. 19 in its homecoming game, Fresno State will practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the emphasis at least early in the week will be on fundamentals and getting some reps for the players redshirting and in their developmental program.
"We improved last week, which was our goal," DeRuyter said. "We need to improve this week, especially our depth, and then we need to start honing in on UNLV at the end of the week and go into next week gaining a couple days."
-- Carr is now second in the bowl subdivision in total offense. Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is the national leader with 1,951 yards compared to Carr's 1,922 yards. Both have played five games.
-- The Bulldogs got out of the game with nothing worse than the usual bumps and bruises, DeRuyter said.
Time for some rest
No. 21 Fresno State enters its first true bye week 5-0 after a dominant 61-14 win at Idaho. The Bulldogs also had a week off last month when their game at Colorado was canceled because of flooding.
Next up: Homecoming game, Fresno State vs. UNLV (3-2), 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Bulldog Stadium
TV: Mountain West Network
Radio: KFIG (AM 940); KGST (AM 1600)