August 31, 2010

Fresno State Bulldogs vs Cincinnati Bearcats Preview

Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Cincinnati Bearcats -Preview

The Fresno State Bulldogs open their season Saturday when they take one two time defending Big East champions the Cincinnati Bearcats at Bulldog Stadium. This will mark the second meeting between the two schools with Cincinnati winning the last meeting 28-20 in 2009.

Fresno State: Fresno State will have the experience as all five members of their offensive line return from a team that was eight in the nation in rushing. Senior quarterback Ryan Colburn who played well in last season game has another year of experience under his belt and has played well during the fall camp. Sophomore running back Robbie Rouse will have to replace Ryan Mathews who left for the NFL draft. One weapon the 'dogs have this season is their wide receivers led by senior Devon Wylie who is the fastest player in Bulldog history at 4.25. Juniors Jamel Hamler and Rashad Evans will be starting as well and don't be surprised to see freshman Victor Dean in short yardage situations.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats will start the season with a new coach and a new quarterback. With the departures of Brian Kelly to Notre Dame and Tony Pike to the NFL, Cincinnati will have to play well to handle the Bulldogs defense. With Marty Gillyard gone as well the Bearcats will have to rely on Isaiah Pead to run the ball well and Junior Zach Collaros to keep the ball in the hands of the offense. Armon Binns will have to replace Gilyard in the high powered Bearcats offense. Binns had 61 receptions for 888 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. It will be interesting to see if the Bearcat offense stays the same under new head coach Butch Jones.

Fresno State's defense will be tested early as Cincinnati has a high powered offense passing the ball. With Fresno States secondary being the weakness, the bulldogs will have to rely on All-Wac defensive end Chris Carter getting to Collaros and linebackers Ben Jacobs and Kyle Knox stopping the run. Seniors Lorne Bell and sophomore Phillip Thomas will be in the secondary along with either Freshman Derron smith who has looked impressive in camp or sophomore Justin Webber. Fresno State will need to control Collaros and the Cincinnati offense in order to have a chance on winning the game.

Cincinnati: The bearcats defense will have to control the Bulldogs run game and keep Ryan Colburn form having a good game. The Bearcat defense was rated 44th in the nation last year. With Fresno States whole offensive line returning the Bearcats defensive line will need to keep the Bulldogs in long yardage situations on third downs in order for them to be successful. Also last season Fresno State controlled the ball for 43 minutes last year to Cincinnati's 16 minutes. Getting the Bulldogs offense off the field will be a key.

Special Teams:
Fresno State: Fresno State has the most blocked kicks in the country since 1999. Last year Ben Jacobs blocked three kicks and at anytime the Bulldogs can get to the kickers. Fresno State will also use their speed in the kick and Punt return games to try and get some touchdowns that way. Finally Kicker Kevin Goeslling is one of the top kickers in the country.

Cincinnati: The bearcats will need to get some advantage on Punt return and kick returns. If the bearcats can get to the Bulldogs kickers and get some special team scores, it could be a big advantage for the Bearcats against the Bulldogs.

Bulldog Stadium will be rocking as an expected sellout of 41,00 plus fans will be in attendance. Fresno State will also rely on the heat to be an advantage as it is expected to be 99 degrees around kickoff. Also Fresno State will have a heavy advantage as the Bulldogs love to play at home and are 6-0 at home under Head coach Pat Hill and have won 9 of its last 13 season openers. Last time they lost was to Tennessee in 2003.

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