When the majority of its defensive starters were in the game, Fresno State didn't allow a single point during last week's 61-14 victory at Idaho.
Intent on pressuring mobile Vandals quarterback Chad Chalich from the start, Fresno State set the tone from the first play from scrimmage, with Nikko Motta getting a sack for an 8-yard loss.
And the pressure wouldn't stop as the Bulldogs (5-0) rushed in their inside and outside linebackers, alternated safety blitzes between Charles Washington and Derron Smith, and even signaled for reserve cornerback Dillon Root to blitz on the games' final two plays.
That aggressiveness helped Fresno State get six sacks, one of which was a safety, and force five turnovers.
"That's the mojo for the whole team. We feed off that energy," said Washington, one of four Bulldogs with an interception Saturday. "Everyone was hyped, came out strong, forced a lot of turnovers and capitalized on it."
For the season, Fresno State has forced 12 turnovers (eight interceptions, four fumbles recovered) to rank tied for 18th in the nation.
Perhaps most impressive about the defensive showing Saturday was the unit's response after the offense made its own turnovers.
Take Fresno State's first turnover. The Bulldogs were up 35-0 when quarterback Derek Carr was intercepted trying to throw diagonally across the field. On the ensuing play, Smith was hardly touched as he got into the back field for a sack and safety.
Smith said the Bulldogs came in motivated to improve after their performance during the 42-37 win at Hawaii, when they gave up 34 straight points while the offense committed four turnovers during the Rainbow Warriors' late run.
"As a defense we didn't do a good job responding when our offense turned the ball over (against Hawaii)," Smith said. "You never want to say a turnover was a good thing, but I think it was a good thing for our defense to put them right back in the same situation."
On Fresno State's following possession, the Bulldogs lost a fumble on a botched snap with running back Malique Micenheimer behind center in a wildcat formation. Idaho got the ball at Fresno State's 30 but still couldn't score, and failed to get a first down after getting stopped on fourth-and-1.
"Our guys responded to adversity well," DeRuyter said. "We have good players, and they responded well. A week ago, we let momentum affect us. I thought we responded to adversity much better this (time)."
Adams receives conference honor
Fresno State wideout Davante Adams was selected the Mountain West offensive player of the week after catching 16 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns at Idaho.
The sophomore tied the school record for receptions in a game, set by Larry Willis in 1984 against Montana State and matched by Ron Jenkins in 1987 in a game at Pacific.
The record of 16 receptions also was a single-game conference record for receptions by a sophomore — Adams passing Ryan McGuffey from Wyoming, who had 15 catches on Oct. 27, 2001 — and tied for second in MW history. The conference single-game record is 18, set by J.R. Tolver from San Diego State in a 2002 game against Hawaii.
It is the first career player of the week honor for Adams, who is tied for the lead in the football subdivision with 10.4 receptions per game.
Fresno State has a bye this week; its next game on Oct. 19 at Bulldog Stadium is a homecoming matchup against UNLV.
The Bulldogs will use the majority of this week to rest, practicing only today, Wednesday and Thursday. Coaches will use the week to catch up on recruiting.
No. 21 Fresno State is in the midst of its first true bye week, but the team returns to practice today. 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, 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Bulldog Stadium
Records: Bulldogs 5-0, 2-0 MW; Rebels 3-2, 1-0
TV: Mountain West Network
Radio: KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, email@example.com or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.