WAC Shootout: Six Things to Learn From Fresno State's Loss to Boise

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer ISeptember 19, 2009

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 01:  Ryan Mathews #21 of the Fresno State Bulldogs runs the ball against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Rutgers Stadium on September 1, 2008 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Fresno State defeated Rutgers 24-7.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In what is being called one of the best games in the history of this rivalry, Fresno State and Boise State traded big play for big play.

When the smoke finally cleared, it was Boise State that had pulled away late for a 51-34 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs.

There were so many game-changing moments, missed opportunities, incredible plays, and even more incredible players.

So, here's a look back at five things we learned about Fresno State in their loss to Boise State.

1. Ryan Mathews is a stud

Junior running back Ryan Mathews showed off for a national audience last night and definitely made a case for himself being inย consideration for one of the nation's top running backs.

Mathews carried the ball 19 times for 234 yards and three scores. All three touchdowns came on runs of 60 yards or more. He carried this team all night long and impressed a lot of people across the country.

2. Ryan Colburn still isn't impressing me

Against Wisconson, just a week ago, junior quarterback Ryan Colburn made some great throws that were right on the money to his receivers. But, then he started to show a lack of arm strength like a starting pitcher tiring in the seventh inning.

Colburn had just 10 yards passing in the entire first half against Boise, finishing with 187 yards on the game and one touchdown.

The problem was, Colburn was underthrowing his receivers all night long. Forcing guys like Chastin West and Seyi Ajirotutu to come back to the ball and out-jump the cornerback.

One of my keys to this game was for Ryan to limit his interceptions. On the third play of the game he was intercepted by Winston Venable, brother of San Diego Padres' outfielder Will Venable, for a touchdown that put Boise up 7-0.

Later in the first half, Colburn was intercepted again, which Boise turned into a field goal for an early 10-0 lead.

Don't be surprised, if this continues, if we see freshman Derek Carr under center before the season is over.

3. Defensive End Chris Carter is for real

Junior defensive end Chris Carter was a thorn in the side of Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore all night long. He came up with huge defensive stops at key points in the game...with a full cast on his left hand.

The speed that he has off the ball is arguably the best the Bulldogs have had in quite some time.

This kid is going to be one to watch all season long, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him jump to the NFL after this season.

4. Fresno State's defense is the best I've seen in years

This is by far the fastest defense I've seen from Fresno State in a long time. The defensive backs weren't getting beaten deep, the linebackers for the most part played the run pretty well, and the defensive end was getting to Kellen Moore more than a few times.

They do still need a lot of work as the game wears on because Boise State finally wore them down, allowing running back Jeremy Avery to break off a few big runs of his own.

5. They need help on special teams

More than a few times last night, Boise State was able to break Fresno State's containment on special teams and that allowed them to start at least two drives inside Fresno State's 20-yard line.

Even when a 102-yard return was called back for holding, Fresno State re-kicked and was beaten again by a different return man inside their own 15-yard line.

If other teams in the WAC were watching, they know that is going to be one of Fresno State's weaknesses. It's something they need to fix, or they're going to give up a lot of field position.

6. Robbie Rouse will be a running back to watch for the Bulldogs

Young freshman running back Robbie Rouse has already made his name known in the Fresno State backfield.

The 5'8" 185-pound running back from San Diego has shown the kind of quickness that Ryan Mathews showsย and could be just as dangerous with the ball in his hands.

I doubt Mathews will be back for his senior season in 2010, so look for Rouse to be the heir apparent to Mathews next season.

Click here to see what the Broncos learned from this shootout.


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