Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna has two passes on the resume that he would like to have back – the interceptions late in the fourth quarter at USC and in overtime against Minnesota.
But the Bulldogs’ first-year starter did a solid job in starting to bury those plays on Saturday in a 34-20 victory over FCS Sacramento State, according to former Fresno State quarterback and NFL Network analyst David Carr.
Carr studied the Bulldogs’ first two games, as well as Reyna and his performances, while preparing to call the Sacramento State game as an analyst on the Facebook broadcast by Stadium.
“There was one thing that I was a little concerned about before this last game – and he made great strides,” said Carr, who was the first overall selection in the 2002 NFL Draft.
Carr said Reyna “did a really good job if the first guy wasn’t there. He would get on to the second and third and even the fourth option. I didn’t necessarily see that in the first game as much, and I was keying in on that. I really wanted to see, ‘Is he taking the coaching? Is he learning?’ He did. He made some pretty good decisions because Sacramento State, it had some good coverage down the field a couple of times. He didn’t force the issue and he knew what he was seeing.”
The Hornets went in allowing just 12.7 points per game and were leading the Big Sky Conference in total defense. But Reyna completed 28 of 41 passes for a career-high 326 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions – there were two scoring changes after a review of the game, with two runs by wideout Jalen Cropper changed to pass plays.
Reyna started the game hitting nine of his first 10 passes and at one point in the first half was 14 of 17 with two passes that were recorded as drops.
Reyna also hit his last seven passes, going 5 of 5 with a touchdown to Derrion Grim on the back-to-back fourth-quarter series when the Bulldogs scored to pull away. In addition, Reyna continued to make plays with his feet.
“He has the ability to keep plays alive and he can scramble and pick up hidden yardage, stuff that you don’t necessarily see on the stat sheet,” Carr said. “Rushing yards for a quarterback and being able to keep plays alive is so critical, and he does a great job of it.”
Reyna had eight rushing plays against the Hornets; five of those runs resulted in a first down for the Bulldogs, six counting a personal foul penalty that came at the end of one of his runs. With 105 rushing yards in addition to 870 passing yards this season he is ranked third in the Mountain West Conference in total yards, averaging 325.0 per game.
“I like what I saw,” Carr said. “I watched the USC game and the Minnesota game. Sacramento State, it has a tough defense. Schematically, they give you a lot of looks. I thought he played his best game of the year.
“He wasn’t ‘on’ completely. But I think for the most part, when guys were open, he knew where to go with it.”