Fresno State Bulldogs Blown Out By Washington Huskies, 48-16
Another week of facing Playoff-caliber competition went as you’d expect. Fresno State was never in this one against Washington.
Can we learn anything from getting outclassed by superior opponents heading into conference play?
There was a moment late in the first quarter of Fresno State’s 48-16 loss that tells you everything about how this game went down. With about a minute left, already down 27-0, Jeff Tedford elected to let Jimmy Camacho attempt a 48-yard field goal rather than let the offense try to extend the drive on 4th-and-5.
Down 27 points, Camacho missed. Washington then extended its lead to 48-7 by the first minute of the third quarter. The Bulldogs never really threatened after that.
That oversimplifies things, though. Fresno State’s offense got off to a painfully slow start and the Huskies made them pay: The Bulldogs’ first four offensive drives totaled just 25 yards, including an ugly interception by Chason Virgil. He would finish the evening 11-of-20 for 98 yards and a touchdown before giving way to Marcus McMaryion (10-16-96-0-0) in garbage time, but the larger concern is that the running game again disappeared, leaving too much on Virgil’s shoulders.
Starting running back Ronnie Rivers had just 29 yards on ten carries and the Bulldogs had just 53 rushing yards — 3.5 yards per carry — in the first half against Washington’s starters. The offense, as a whole, averaged just 4.3 yards per play in the first half.
McMaryion, against the Husky backups and mostly vanilla coverages in the second half, didn’t fare that much better. He had three drives which started in Washington territory, but each of those drives ended in a field goal. Amidst persistent rumors that he’ll assume the starting role in two weeks, one might have hoped for better red zone production.
Washington, on the other hand, scored seemingly at will. Jake Browning looked worthy of a Heisman by completing 19-of-22 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns, while Miles Gaskin and Dante Pettis each scored three touchdowns.
The secondary, which had looked shaky last Saturday, was totally overmatched against one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Anthoula Kelly, for instance, erased a first-quarter goal line stand with a boneheaded personal foul penalty, while Jackson Finch committed an unnecessary targeting penalty late in the second half. Juju Hughes found himself way out of position in the above highlight. How these growing pains will translate to conference play, where nearly every QB situation on the Fresno State schedule now seems to be in flux, remains to be seen, but the collective performance on this night didn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Fresno State (1-2) will have a bye week before hosting Nevada on September 30, while Washington (3-0) will open Pac-12 play at Colorado.