Fresno State Bulldogs
Offense: C- | Defense: C | Special Teams: C | Meeting/Exceeding Expectations: C-
Given the major injuries with which the Bulldogs have dealt in the first half of this season, it’s tough to get an accurate sense of just how good or bad each unit has been but we don’t do incompletes here. There’s been a drop-off from Jake Haener to Logan Fife at quarterback, for instance, but Nikko Remigio has stepped up to fill at least some of the void left by Josh Kelly at wide receiver and Elijah Gates has been similarly steady in replacing star safety Evan Williams.
Things could be worse, then… but they could also be a little bit better. Even after a defensive-minded upset of San Jose State in Week 7, Fresno State is below average in net points per drive (-0.92, 104th), net available yards percentage (-9.2%, 93rd), and net yards per play (-0.32, 76th). They’ve been worse at both converting and defending third downs than they were in 2021 and worse in the red zone on both sides of the ball, as well, though better health down the stretch could lead to a return to form on both fronts.
The upside is that the David Perales-led pass rush has been solidly above average with a 7.6% sack rate that ranks 29th among FBS defenses and you could make a case their luck might turn in the second half since it also ranks second in the Mountain West with 33 passes defended despite grabbing just two interceptions.
As for special teams, it’s a mixed bag. Remigio’s return capabilities are one big reason why, he leads the conference with 133 all-purpose yards per game at the moment, but Abraham Montano (8-of-12 field goals, 1-of-4 from 40 or more yards) has not been as reliable as Cesar Silva was last season and Carson King’s performance to date has been mostly okay.
Head of the Class: Nikko Remigio, WR/KR/PR
As mentioned above, the Cal transfer has done a little bit of everything for the Bulldogs, returning kickoffs and punts while emerging as a reliable pass catcher. He’s currently second on the team with 28 receptions, 319 receiving yards, and four total touchdowns, having scored twice as a rusher, once as a receiver, and once as a punt returner.
One Player Deserving of More Attention: Bralyn Lux, DB
One of just three defenders to start every game for the ‘Dogs to this juncture, Lux has bounced back from a quiet 2021 to set new career highs with 31 total tackles, six passes defended, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. He’s also forced a fumble and grabbed one interception, providing some much-needed stability and playmaking ability to a veteran secondary that’s been tested this year.