Monday, October 16, 2006

Hawaii dominates Bulldogs, Death Valley awaits

Many were hoping Satuday afternoon's home date with Hawaii would be a great opportunity to begin the salvaging of a thus far disappointing season. What fans left with was the reality of a drubbing to the tune of 68-37. When its thought it cant go much lower, this team found a way to give up the most points at home in school history. Hawaii junior Qb Colt Brennan completed 32 of 39 passes for 409 yards and 5 tds. While an 82 percent completion percentage sounds damaging enough, one must consider the fact that Hawaii receivers managed to drop 4 of Brennan's passes. It could not have been any easier for Brennan and for those that saw the game every time he threw one had the impression that it was going to be caught and there would not be a defender anywhere near making a play on the ball. The defense managed to keep up the recent trends of playing uninspired football, not pressuring the Qb, playing extremely soft in coverage, and not tackling anyone. The defense is still on the snied in the interception department, Louisiana-Lafayette remains the only other team without a pick in division 1.

Now comes the task of pulling out the positives that resulted after the beatdown Hawaii served up. Redshirt Sophmore Qb Sean Norton was inserted into his first career game when Hawaii had taken the 28-7 lead. Norton led the offense on a great drive that resulted in a Bear Pascoe TD, Pascoe was sighted in this game and had 2 TD catches and nearly came up with a spectacular 3rd on an off balance throw from Norton. True freshman Lonyae Miller also was inserted after 2 uncharacteristic Dwayne Wright fumbles gave Brennan a short field and Hawaii capitalized. Miller rushed over the century mark for the first time in his brief career, and some of the tough running and cutback ability shown are glimpses into a bright future with the Bulldogs. Wide receivers Marlon Moore and Chastin West are also receiving valuable playing time and are showing why they were such prized and integral recruits for coach Pat Hill with seniors Paul Williams and Joe Fernandez departing after the season. Now the defense needs some of its young recruits to step in and make positive contributions and also get some crucial game experience because the Bulldogs defense will be losing quite a few seniors off a squad that has been inconsistent.

Next up: Fresno State will be making a little trip to Baton Rouge to face a fierce LSU squad. LSU has outscored its home opponents 236-30 and its defense is ranked with the nations best. I will say that Death Valley is a pretty interesting place to make your first career start, and Sean Norton will have that distinction. LSU is coming off of a 49-0 victory over Kentucky. One positive that the Fresno State defense can take into this game is LSU Qb Jamarcus Russell is not named Colt Brennan and head coach Les Miles does not employ the spread offense and probably won't throw the ball 44 times. That being said, this thing could get ugly early or maybe the Bulldogs can play under that 31 point spread, fortunately everyone across the nation will be able to see this epic matchup on ESPN2 Saturday which is nice.

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