Fresno State Bulldogs Decompression: Volume 1
Hawaii tops Fresno State in opener
What went right, wrong for Fresno State
Opening weekend for the Mountain West came and west- nearly two months after the initial start date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately for the Fresno State Bulldogs, it was one to forget.
Rookie head coach Kalen DaBoer and new QB Jake Haener had debuts to forget about in a 34-19 loss to Hawaii at an empty Bulldog Stadium on Saturday evening.
In what has been a unique year (to say the least) the Bulldogs finally held in-person meetings at the end of September — after nearly seven months of Zoom calls and virtual meetings of the sort.
As was expected, both teams came out rusty — much like the rest of the conference and the entire college football landscape for that matter. So, what went wrong and what went right for the Bulldogs on Saturday? Let’s dive in and decompress the first Saturday of the 2020 season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Honestly, not much went right for the Bulldogs. The defense was phenomenal to start the game- thanks in big part to senior Kwami Jones, fresh off an injury-riddled 2019 campaign. As the game went on, the defense couldn’t find a way to stop the run, as Hawaii QB Chevan Cordeiro and RB Miles Reed each eclipsed the century mark.
The Bulldogs offense scored on the first drive of the game, then couldn’t muster a single touchdown in the entire second half. The good news for the offense? Ronnie Rivers looks like a legit workhorse, adding 18 carries for 79 yards and a TD. The wide receiver core is deeper than we’ve seen in at least a decade, and the offensive line has a lot of returning players.
Jake Haener made some really nice throws, but finished with a dismal 17-31 line for 289 yards and one touchdown with three picks on the night. More time with the offense and more chemistry with the wide receivers and Haener has some real potential to light it up at Bulldog Stadium.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Defense gave up 552 total yards- including 323 yards rushing. More so Hawaii was 11/16 in 3rd downs, as the Bulldogs couldn’t get off the field at all in either half.
Perhaps the most crucial problem in this game was the turnovers. Haener lost a fumble and threw three picks on the evening, most being bad overthrows on what might have been communication issues, or just pure rust. That’s to be expected from a team that went more than half a year without in-person meetings or practices.
The Bulldogs have a short week, with a Thursday night game against Colorado State at Bulldog Stadium (yes, it’s really Thursday night). Kalen DaBoer will have to wait at least a few more days before his first win as head coach, and Jake Haener and crew need to forget this game and move on to the next. Colorado State had their opener postponed due to some New Mexico players testing positive for COVID-19. Bulldog Born, Bulldog Bred- See you Thursday Bulldogs faithful.