Bottom line – Fresno State was up only 10-3 at halftime against Sacramento State on Saturday night, had completed only 11 of 23 throws for 116 yards, rushed the ball for 87 yards on 22 plays and converted only 4 of 11 third-down plays into first downs (36 percent).
“It was frustrating,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We weren’t executing very well. We were dropping balls. We weren’t protecting our quarterback. We were struggling to run the ball. Give Sacramento State credit – those guys were playing hard and getting off blocks and putting pressure on our quarterback. I thought defensively other than the one play Tyquwan (Glass) gave up – and I challenged him, said, ‘Look, you’re good enough; you better make up for it,’ and he did later on by getting that pick – I felt like the game was pretty much in control defensively, but we needed to get going offensively. The good thing to see is when we got some takeaways that kind of sparked the offense and they took advantage of some field position and went down and scored.”
About that punt – The Bulldogs drove to the Sacramento State 33-yard line on their second possession of the game and on a third-and-7, decided to punt the ball.
“We weren’t doing a very good job moving the ball,” DeRuyter said. “We had a third-and-7, so I thought if we punt the ball down there because we were playing well defensively, we can hold them and flip the field. My thought was, let’s pin them inside the 5-yard line and play defense because we were playing pretty well.”
Camilli, Forrester sidelined – Fresno State played without inside (Will) linebacker Jeff Camilli and nose guard Malik Forrester, who both come out of last week’s loss at Nebraska hobbled with lower leg injuries. Camilli did not dress for the game, though Forrester did.
The Bulldogs started Patrick Belony at nose and had Jasad Haynes, a redshirt freshman from Clovis North, as the second in the game.
Camilli, a senior who was named to the Butkus Award watch list and who led the Bulldogs with 10 tackles (3 solo) against the Cornhuskers, was replaced in the starting lineup by Robert Stanley, with Nela Otukolo starting at Mike. Stanley had started at Mike in the opener at Nebraska with Otukolo out.
Back home – Sacramento State senior running back Demetrius Warren, the former Bullard High star, found the going tough early. He was held to 5 yards on five first-half carries, but did gain 8 on his first rush of the second half.
That was the first of three straight runs for the 5-foot-6, 175-pound senior, with the last going 14 yards on third-and-2 from the Hornets 14. He finished with 24 yards on eight carries.
Hornets defensive lineman Ben Sorensen (Buchanan) had four solo tackles, including a third-quarter sack of Virgil.
Up next – The Bulldogs are headed to the Eastern time zone to face the Toledo Rockets at the Glass Bowl at noon Sept. 17. The game will be televised in the Fresno area by KSEE Ch-24.1 and online on ESPN3. Toledo (2-0) blasted Maine 45-3 in its home opener Saturday as junior quarterback Logan Woodside threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers.
Counting tickets – Attendance for the first game of the season at Bulldog Stadium was announced at 31,817. In the four previous home openers under coach Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State drew 32,547 in 2015 for Abilene Christian, a sellout 41,031 in 2014 for Nebraska, 33,098 in 2013 for Rutgers and 27,663 in 2012 for Weber State.
Bulldogs-Hornets: By the numbers
- 2.9: Yards per rush for Sac State, fewest allowed by the Bulldogs since 1.2 last season against Abilene Christian
- 0: Points scored in the third quarter by the Bulldogs in their first two games
- 3: Most consecutive passes completed by Fresno State’s Chason Virgil, who finished 22 of 42 passes
- 121: Rushing yards for the Bulldogs’ Dontel James, his first career 100-yard game
- 100: Receiving yards for Fresno State’s Jamire Jordan
- 2: 100-yard receiving games by Bulldogs receivers this season – last year, they had one
- 185: Total yards for Sacramento State, 96 rushing and 89 passing
- 97: Games since Fresno State held an opponent to less than 200 yards of total offense
- 49.9: Passing efficiency rating for Sacramento State, lowest for a Fresno State opponent since New Mexico was 60.54 in 2012
- 1: Explosive play for the Hornets, making it only four allowed by the Bulldogs in two games
FRESNO STATE AT TOLEDO
- Saturday: Noon at the Glass Bowl (26,038)
- Records: Bulldogs 1-1, Rockets 2-0
- TV/radio: KSEE (Ch. 24.1), ESPN3 online/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Series: Fresno State leads 2-0, including a 55-54 double-overtime road win in 2008.
Fresno State 31, Sacramento State 3
FRE — O’Neal 8 run, (Kroening kick), 1:02.
FRE — FG Kroening 21, 7:21.
CSUS — FG Medeiros 44, 0:00.
FRE — James 17 run, (Kroening kick), 14:24.
FRE — Johnson 4 pass from Virgil, (Kroening kick), 10:45.
FRE — Johnson 11 pass from Virgil, (Kroening kick), 5:03.
Time of Possession
RUSHING — Sacramento St., Warren 8-27, Jountti 4-24, J.Robinson 8-24, Ketteringham 9-12, Timoteo 3-5, Merker 1-4. Fresno St., James 27-121, T.Green 5-34, O’Neal 4-28, Kline 1-9, Virgil 6-8.
PASSING — Sacramento St., Ketteringham 9-25-2-89. Fresno St., Virgil 22-42-1-274.
RECEIVING—Sacramento St., Demps 2-50, J.Robinson 2-15, McGill 2-13, Rucker 1-5, Lindsey 1-4, Ratliff 1-2. Fresno St., J.Jordan 7-100, K.Johnson 7-82, Peck 3-42, O’Neal 3-13, Olsen 1-31, James 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — None.