Recapping the Bulldogs’ 56-14 loss to Utah State.
Players of the game
Utah State quarterback Kent Myers: The sophomore again hardly played like a backup, improving to 7-1 in his intermittent chances to start. He enjoyed a solid 18-of-25 passing night for 260 yards and a touchdown.
Aggies strong safety Marwin Evans: Senior had just two tackles but typical of the big plays that Utah State delivered all night, both were first-half sacks that helped his team blow out to a 29-7 lead.
Utah State running back Devante Mays: Junior delivered three touchdown runs on just nine carries, including a 41-yarder early in the third quarter.
Play of the game
Second quarter, fourth-and-9 at the Fresno State 26: Utah State, already leading 14-7 blew through the line and swamped Fresno State punter Garrett Swanson. Devin Centers was given credit for the block, the Aggies recovered at the 8 and two plays later LaJuan Hunt’s 3-yard touchdown run signaled the beginning of a rout.
Numbers of the game
17: Consecutive failed 3rd-down conversions by the ‘Dogs before ending that run in the first quarter.
9: Tackles for loss by Utah State in the first half, two more than its season-high against an FBS opponent.
67, 22, 71, 126: Total yards in past four halves of football for Fresno State.
5: Sacks by the Aggies, a season-high against an FBS opponent.
1.4: Sacks per game allowed by the Bulldogs coming into the game.
8: Explosive plays of 20 or more yards allowed by Fresno State.
22: Points in the second quarter for Utah State; the Dogs’ had allowed only 21 in the second quarter.
251.7: Passing yards per game this season for former Bulldogs’ QB Myles Carr at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
20: Fresno State possessions, among the past 29, that have lasted three plays or fewer.
260: Passing yards for Utah State quarterback Kent Myers, a career high.
7:30 p.m. Friday vs. UNLV (ESPN): The Rebels took a tough loss Saturday, as San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin scored on a 2-yard run in overtime of a 33-27 victory for the Spartans. The Rebels (2-4, 1-1) had scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to force the extra session, then got the ball first but saw a field-goal attempt blocked. Kurt Palandech completed 15 of 30 for 217 yards and two touchdowns for the Rebels and was picked off twice. The Spartans, who beat the Bulldogs 49-23 two weeks ago, improved to 3-3 and 2-1.
Fourth try, not a charm – After generating only 89 yards of offense in a loss at San Diego State, the Bulldogs started redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson at quarterback over Zack Greenlee.
Anderson is the fourth quarterback to start a game this season, which might be a school record. Fresno State has game-by-game records available going back only through 1979.
“Each week we’re trying to find the quarterback that is going to lead us the best and the guy that is going to help us win that football game that Saturday, that’s the bottom line,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “A week ago we didn’t play very well, not just at the quarterback position, but we just felt that we needed a kick start and that Kilton’s energy and athletic ability was going to give us a chance.”
They stuck with Anderson after a first half in which he completed 7 of 11 passes for 52 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and the Bulldogs gained only 71 yards of offense.
He could be the starter going forward.
“We’ll grade the tape,” DeRuyter said. “There is obviously things he didn’t do well, just like everywhere. We’ve got to evaluate the position. It’s always easier watching tape and seeing what happened and talking through with him to make sure his understanding of things is what we want to get out of him. I would anticipate so, but we obviously have to go through the tape.”
Implosive, not explosive – When Anderson hit Jamire Jordan with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter, it marked the Bulldogs’ first explosive play of 20 or more yards since the fourth quarter of their loss at San Jose State.
Fresno State went 72 plays without an explosive play from scrimmage between a 25-yard pass from Ford Childress to KeeSean Johnson against the Spartans and the pass from Anderson to Jordan.
In between, they gained just 139 yards on those 72 plays, 1.93 yards per play.
The Bulldogs added a second explosive play in the third quarter on a 43-yard pass from Anderson to Da’Mari Scott, so they have two in their past 114 plays.
Fresno State this season has just 17 plays of 20 or more yards from scrimmage and is on a pace for just 34 on the season.
A year ago, when the Bulldogs were ranked fourth in the Mountain West in total offense with Brian Burrell starting 13 of 14 games at quarterback, they had 63 explosive plays to rank sixth in the conference. In 2013, when Derek Carr was a senior, they had 86 to lead the conference.
Third-and-coming-up-short – Fresno State came in averaging just 1.1 yards on its 10 rushing plays when in a third-and-short situation, needing from one to three yards for a first down.
Against the Aggies, the Bulldogs converted a third-and-1 when Marteze Waller picked up 5 yards and a first down. But they failed later in the second quarter on a third-and-3, Waller picking up only 2 yards, and in the third quarter Malique Micenheimer was stopped for no gain on a third-and-1 from the 1.
The Bulldogs on 13 third-and-short running plays have made a first down seven times, but they are not the only Mountain West team that has struggled in that area. Going into Saturday, there were four teams in the conference converting third-and-short runs at a lower percentage.
Blocked – Utah State cornerback Bryant Hayes blocked a punt in the second quarter that led to a touchdown, the Aggies gaining possession at the Fresno State 8.
It was their first blocked punt since 2013 against Boise State.
From Anderson – Before Anderson got his start against the Aggies, Greenlee had started the first two games against Abilene Christian and at Ole Miss and at San Diego State, freshman Chason Virgil had started against Utah and junior transfer Ford Childress started against San Jose State.
He was told on Saturday morning that he would get the start.
“It’s very frustrating, but you have to learn from it and get better,” he said. “Like DeRuyter said, we have a bunch of young guys and we just need to come together as a team right now, come back (Sunday), work, get better and come out and play our best against UNLV.”
On the board – Waller scored from 1 yard out on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs’ first rushing touchdown this season by a running back and the first for Waller since he scored twice last season in a 28-21 victory over Hawaii.
Fresno State has two rushing touchdowns this season, the fewest in the Mountain West Conference. The Bulldogs’ first was scored by inside receiver Jamire Jordan.
Et cetera – Fresno State suspended indefinitely redshirt freshman offensive tackle Bobby Johnson before the game for a series of team-related incidents. Johnson has been practicing with the scout team and was not going to play against the Aggies.
▪ The Bulldogs’ 56-14 loss was the worst in 29 games against Utah State. Fresno State leads the series 17-11-1, including a 46-6 loss in Logan, Utah, on Nov. 7, 1953.
▪ Junior inside (Will) linebacker Jeff Camilli had a streak of three consecutive games with 10 or more tackles, the first Fresno State player to rack up 10 or more in three consecutive games since Ben Jacobs in 2008. Camilli was in on one tackle against the Aggies. The last Bulldogs to have double-digit tackles in four consecutive games are Tim Skipper and AJ. Gass in 1997.
▪ Fresno State also had an eight-game winning streak on homecoming snapped. The Bulldogs had won those games by an average of 13.5 points, the closest a 31-21 victory over Utah State in 2011.
▪ Kent Myers, the Aggies’ sophomore quarterback, passed for a career high 260 yards, completing 18 of 25 throws. He had not passed for more than 200 yards in any of his first eight career games – his high had been 186 passing yards in a 35-14 victory last season at Hawaii. Myers is now 7-1 in his career starts.
▪ Utah State linebacker Brock Carmen, a Clovis North product, set up a fourth-quarter touchdown with his first career interception.
▪ Anderson completed 10 of 20 passes for 112 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. His passing efficiency rating for the game was 85.5, the second lowest by a Fresno State starter this season. Greenlee had a rating of 109.39 in the victory over FCS Abilene Christian, 102.30 in the loss at Ole Miss and 87.07 in the loss at San Diego State. Virgil had a rating of 76.59 in the loss to Utah and Childress had a rating of 115.50 in the loss at San Jose State.
Numbers, notes compiled by Bee sportswriter Robert Kuwada. Follow him on Twitter @rkuwada.
Utah State 56, Fresno State 14
USU—Hunt 15 run (Warren kick), 6:36.
Fre—Jordan 21 pass from Anderson (Kroening kick), :59.
USU—Mays 5 run (Warren kick), 10:04.
USU—Hunt 3 run (kick failed), 7:45.
USU—Robinson 44 pass from Myers (Warren kick), :58.
USU—Mays 41 run (Warren kick), 11:53.
USU—Mays 23 run (Warren kick), 5:43.
Fre—Waller 1 run (Kroening kick), 14:57.
USU—Hobbs 5 run (Warren kick), 8:20.
USU—Hervey 5 run (kick failed), 2:33.
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Utah St., Mays 9-92, Hobbs 4-50, Hunt 12-41, Hervey 6-20, Lindsey 4-16, K.Williams 1-3, Sharp 1-1, Myers 5-(minus 10), Team 1-(minus 12). Fresno St., Waller 26-70, Micenheimer 4-14, Jordan 1-5, Garrison 2-5, Anderson 9-(minus 12).
PASSING—Utah St., Myers 18-25-0-260, Hobbs 1-2-0-21. Fresno St., Anderson 10-20-3-112.
RECEIVING—Utah St., Sharp 6-99, Robinson 4-80, Hunt 4-14, Houston 2-39, Fox 1-21, Rodriguez 1-14, Swindall 1-14. Fresno St., Jordan 5-44, Scott 2-56, K.Johnson 1-5, Riddering 1-4, Olsen 1-3.