Recapping the Bulldogs’ 21-7 loss at San Diego State
Players of the game
San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey: The 5-foot-9, 180-pound junior rushed for 124 yards and became the fourth player in program history to top 3,000 career rushing yards.
Fresno State P Garrett Swanson: A busy night for the senior saw him punt 10 times for an average of 42.5 yards, including three that sailed 50-plus and two that pinned the Aztecs inside the 20.
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San Diego State QB Maxwell Smith: Threw for touchdowns of 33 and 44 yards but as importnat was what he didn’t do – committing zero turnovers.
Play of the game
Third quarter, first-and-10 San Diego State at Aztecs 33: Off play action, Maxwell Smith found a wide-open Rashaad Penny near the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown that made it 14-7 with 8:15 left in the third quarter. The running back was left uncovered after using a wheel route to sprint past Bulldogs cornerback Malcolm Washington. He entered the game with three catches for 42 yards.
Numbers of the game
17: Consecutive rushing plays by San Diego State to start the game, over two series
317: Average weight of the Aztecs’ five starting offensive linemen
29.5: Average yards gained by Fresno State in the first quarter against FBS opponents this season
1: Time in four games against FBS opponents the Bulldogs have had the score tied at halftime.
67: Yards at halftime for the Bulldogs on 27 plays (2.5 ypp).
22: Yards in the second half for the Bulldogs on 20 plays (1.1 ypp).
10: Consecutive Fresno State drives in second and third quarters that lasted three plays or fewer.
6: First downs for the Bulldogs, fewest in a game going back through 2008.
9: Three-and-outs for Fresno State on 13 truly offensive drives.
1970: The last time San Diego State held an opponent to less than 100 yards. North Texas State had only 59 total yards.
7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, homecoming vs. Utah State: The Aggies (2-2, 1-0 Mountain West) enter with a little momentum after Kent Myers threw for one score and rushed for 191 yards and another TD in a 33-18 win over Colorado State on Saturday. It’s an Aggies single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The old record of 121 yards was held by Tony Adams and redshirt senior Chuckie Keeton, who missed his first game since injuring his knee against Washington. Myers was 12 of 21 for 137 yards, including a 42-yard TD pass to Hunter Sharp to tie it at 10. Myers scored on a 26-yard run with 50 seconds left in the second quarter to give Utah State the lead for good at 17-10.
Third and forget it – Fresno State missed its first six opportunities to convert a third-down play into a fresh set of downs and finished 0 of 12 in the game.
San Diego State did go into the game ranked third in the Mountain West in third-down conversion defense, allowing only 31.1 percent (19 of 61), but it is tough to do much worse.
The average distance for the Bulldogs to gain for a first down was 10 yards, but even with a third-and-short they didn’t get much done. They had a third-and-2 in the second quarter, the most manageable of six third-down plays, and Marteze Waller was stopped for no gain. They had a third-and-1 in the third quarter and Dustin Garrison was taken down or a loss of a yard.
Fresno State has rushed the ball 10 times in third-and-short this season – that’s 1 to 3 yards – and it has gained a grand total of 11 yards. And on one of those 10 plays, the Bulldogs gained 7.
Zack Greenlee was 2 of 8 throwing on third down against the Aztecs for 4 yards and this season he is 8 of 20 (40 percent) for 158 yards – 82 of that coming on a touchdown pass to Jamire Jordan against Utah.
Framing the futility – The 0 for 12 on third downs marked the first time they failed to convert at least one time going back through the 1996 season.
They converted just one third-down play in a game four times. The worst of it – they were 1 of 14 in a 24-6 loss at Tennessee in 2003.
San Diego State last held an opponent without a third-down conversion in 2005, San Jose State going 0 of 17 when trying to move the sticks.
Not much to say …
Coach Tim DeRuyter: “I told our guys it’s a team loss. It’s on the coaches, it’s on the players. It’s not on one side of the ball or the other. We’ve got the play better clearly. We have to coach better. We didn’t expect to come down here and not be able to move the ball.
“I liked how our guys competed. We were dialed in. But we have to be able to hang in there and execute the offense and defensively we have to tackle better. That first drive it took us a while to get going. I thought we responded after that and did a good job. We get a play in special teams and our offense took advantage of it, but after that the second half we were backed up in the third quarter field position-wise. It was tough. It seemed like we had a short field and they ended up taking advantage of that and going down and scoring.
“We couldn’t get much going on offense, but the offense didn’t lose this game, the defense didn’t lose this game the Bulldogs lost this game.”
On the move – Fresno State has bounced Charles Washington around a bit in its secondary over the past 19 games and the senior was on the move again Saturday, starting at strong safety against San Diego State after the Bulldogs were set back by some mishaps in pass coverage last week.
Washington, who had started the first four games this season at left cornerback, started games at four positions last season, jumping from strong safety to nickel back to right corner, back to strong safety and then finishing the season with five starts at the left corner.
Junior college transfer Tyquwan Glass started at left corner against the Aztecs.
Hanging 10 – Jeff Camilli had 14 tackles, nine coming in the first half, and has had 10 or more in three consecutive games. The junior Will linebacker is the first Fresno State player with 10 or more tackles in three consecutive game since Ben Jacobs in 2008.
Camilli had 11 tackles against No. 21 Utah and 10 at San Jose State. Jacobs had 10 tackles against Utah State, 11 against Louisiana Tech and 14 against Nevada.
Outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine also had 10 tackles for the Bulldogs, including a sack. It is the second time in three games that he has had 10 or more tackles in a game.
Missing Mike – Senior Kyrie Wilson, the Bulldogs’ second-leading tackler, did not dress for the game, sitting out because of an elbow injury suffered in the previous week’s loss at San Jose State.
Freshman Nela Otukolo started and redshirt freshman George Helmuth also got reps there. Otukolo finished with five tackles, three solo. Helmuth was in on two tackles, one solo.
“I though they did a great job,” Camilli said. “Kyrie goes down, you need those young guys to step up and Nela kept playing a lot, Robert Stanley was playing a lot and George Helmuth coming in, I thought they played really, really, well for short notice coming in. I couldn’t ask for better. There was great communication out there, they made plays. You couldn’t be happier with that.”
No tempo – Two years ago, when San Diego State was giving the Bulldogs’ offense fits with its 3-3-5 defense, Fresno State started to generate some momentum in the second half by pushing tempo. They got to the line of scrimmage, and got the football snapped.
Of course, they also had Derek Carr running those plays.
The fastest the Bulldogs got to the line Saturday was when they were trying to avoid a video review of what was ruled a catch by Da’Mari Scott for a 21-yard gain.
They didn’t get the play off before the referee could stop play for a review and the call on the field – a catch and a first down – was overturned upon review.
Quarterback Zack Greenlee on what was, and wasn’t, happening: “I think there was a lot of missed opportunities left on that field. I feel as if I didn’t put us in the best situation to win and that’s my job. I have to go and watch this film and learn as much as I can from this game.”
Guard down – Aaron Mitchell, the Bulldogs’ starting left guard, went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs had Bo Bonnheim move from center to the left guard, with junior Jacob Vazquez coming in at center and redshirt freshman Micah St. Andrew playing at the right guard.
Low point – Fresno State gained 89 yards in the game, its fewest going back through the 1996 season. The previous low in that stretch had been 117 in a 24-6 loss at Tennessee in 2003.
“I have to go back and look, but statistically, it looks unbelievable,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said. “I thought the defense played as hard as they could play and as physical as they could be and it worked this time. There’s other times where they work that hard and play that physical and it doesn’t come out like that. Obviously, they were ready to play.”
Waller, Pumphrey sidelined – Waller and San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey, considered the Mountain West’s top two running backs entering the season, sat out for much of the fourth quarter. Waller was held out while being checked for a concussion and finished with 20 yards on 11 carries. Pumphrey suffered an ankle injury, but not before enjoying his best night of the season with 124 yards and a touchdown.
Fleeting highlight – Amid one of the worst offensive showings in Fresno State history, the Bulldogs did get on the scoreboard for a tying touchdown when Greenlee connected with KeeSean Johnson on a 16-yard pass that made it 7-7 with 9:50 left in the second quarter. The redshirt freshman receiver out of Palo Alto High picked up his first career TD catch last week at San Jose State.
San Diego State 21, Fresno State 7
San Diego State
SDSU — Pumphrey 33 run (Hageman kick), 10:23.
Fre — K.Johnson 16 pass from Greenlee (Kroening kick), 9:50.
SDSU — Penny 33 pass from Max.Smith (Hageman kick), 8:15.
SDSU — Judge 44 pass from Max.Smith (Hageman kick), 10:57.
SAN DIEGO STATE
Time of Possession
RUSHING — Fresno State, Waller 11-20, Garrison 5-10, Greenlee 6-(minus 18). San Diego State, Price 27-151, Pumphrey 23-124, Gordon 5-34, Penny 1-17, Max.Smith 4-(minus 21).
PASSING — Fresno State, Greenlee 12-25-0-77. San Diego State, Max.Smith 5-12-0-104.
RECEIVING — Fresno State, K.Johnson 5-35, Jordan 2-18, Garrison 2-9, Hardaway 1-10, Blandin 1-4, Waller 1-1. San Diego State, Penny 2-48, Judge 1-44, Gordon 1-6, Holder 1-6.