Fresno State Recap

The Sioux lost a tough one on Saturday night.  They went into Fresno as big-time underdogs but played as if they were the favorites at times and almost came away with the victory.  Fresno State put together a late 4th quarter 12 play drive to take the lead and beat the Sioux 27-22.

  • We completely underestimated the Sioux coming into this game.  We let the Idaho second half taint our view of how they would match-up this week and we could not have been more wrong.  The Sioux came out with passion and played hard the entire game and gave themselves a chance to win it at the end.
  • The Sioux offense had 323 yards compared to 319 for Fresno State.
  • The Sioux offense had 17 first downs and the Sioux defense held Fresno to just 13.
  • Time of Possession:  UND – 32:22  Fresno – 27:38.  UND had the ball for 10:40 of the 3rd quarter.
  • 3rd down conversions:  UND – 7 of 16  Fresno – 5 of 12.
  • No turnovers, and only 4 penalties for 22 yards.  One of them came late on a Kenny Watkins personal foul facemask penalty.
  • The offensive line turned in a fairly dominating performance as the Sioux rushed 39 times for 216 yards.  Huge turn-around from the previous week vs. Idaho.
  • Jake Miller showed some very good speed on his 70 yard TD, running away from the Bulldog secondary.  Miller ended the day with 145 yards and 3 TD’s.  A breakout game to say the least for the Bismarck High product.  Miller was appropriately named the Great West Conference player of the week for his efforts.
  • Mitch Sutton appeared to hurt his quad or hamstring in the game and was unable to return.   Hopefully, there will be an update tomorrow during media time.  He ended the day with 8 rushes for 70 yards.
  • True Freshman Jer Garman showed some of that speed and flash we have been hearing about on his long run where he appeared to get in the end zone but they called him down at the one.
  • QB Joey Bradley had a poor first half going 1 for 9 but came back strong in the second half going 11 for 16.  He is a work in progress as he is a first year player in the program and is only a sophomore.   He appears to have the mental side of the game but just needs reps like every young player.  What stuck out to us most was his ability to convert on 3rd down under pressure and move the sticks.
  • The defense had a fairly strong showing overall.  They held the Bulldogs to 84 yards rushing on 35 carries (they had 190 last week vs. Nebraska).
  • QB Derek Carr hooked up with Jalen Saunders for an 86 yard TD on the first play of the game.  Saunders simply ran by the Sioux corner on a Go route and showed some serious speed in the process.  I think its safe to say the Sioux were not used to that kind of speed from a WR.
  • Did anybody notice how much this game resembled last years second FBS game vs. Northern Illinois?  Both games started with the opponent scoring a long TD, both games came down to the end where the Sioux had the ball with a chance to win it, both teams were better than the Idaho team that handily beat the Sioux the week before.
  • The Sioux defense forced 6 three-and-outs on a total of 14 drives.
  • As we mentioned, the Sioux defense held Fresno State to 5 of 12 on third down (42%).  However, when you look closer at those numbers, 3 of the 5 first downs they got were at a down and distance of third and one.  That is pretty good.
  • Minus the long 86 yarder to start the game the Sioux pass defense was much better in this game.  The corners were challenging receivers and showed the ability to make plays on the ball that we hadn’t seen early in the year.
  • The Sioux had 3 sacks for a loss of 26 yards with Ross Brenneman registering two of them and Broc Bellmore recording the other.  Brenneman is turning into a force at the defensive end position.  He also had 2 tackles for loss.  Bellmore had 1 as well.
  • The Sioux defense had 7 tackles-for-loss.
  • Neither team forced a turnover.
  • Zeb Miller showed a strong leg on his 49 yard field goal in the first quarter.

Now we are looking for the Sioux to take that next step.   They need to continue to progress on offense and improve their pass coverage on defense.   Last season they were so up and down that they never showed continued improvement.   This week against Black Hills will be a game where the fans want to see them execute and frankly, manhandle an inferior opponent.  We called for it last year vs. Northeastern State and they came and crushed them 55-14.  Lets see it again and from it gain some confidence before they head out to Cedar City in two weeks to take on Southern Utah.

6 Responses

  1. UND92,96

    Given the fact that Miller seems to be more of a big-play threat than Sutton, how do you see the carries being split once Sutton comes back from his injury?

    1. Honestly, we see Miller and Garman getting more and more carries as the season goes on. Sutton is still the workhorse back there but we see his role being tweaked to more of the power running back scenarios, goal line, short yardage, running out the clock, etc. Miller proved he needs to touch the ball 15 times a game and Garman will need his 5-10 also. There is absolutely no problem with a running back by committee approach.

  2. firg voss reporting

    when suttom comes back for every 10 rushes the % breakdown should be

    to bad sutton had to get hurt but sadly that only seemed like the way miller was gonna get a shot at a majority of the rushes

    1. JW

      Sutton is tested, durable and he is reliable…….6, 3, 1 will (should) likely be more like 3, 2, 3. You still have to run inside. imo, Miller and/or Garmen will not be able to take the pounding that an inside guy has to endure. It is too bad that Sutton got hurt but not for the reason that you advance.

      1. I would agree with that. Sutton is still an integral part of this team and needs his touches. But Miller has shown that he needs to be the featured back in this offense with his game breaking ability.

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