Last week Fresno State took a trip to Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers for their first game of the season. The Barkboard staff took out their crystal balls and took their best shot at not only predicting the score of the game but how it would happen. According to the score prediction Jackson Moore came out on top with the closest of the prediction of the final score making him last weeks winner. Now the boys are once again going to share their predictions for the first home game of the season vs the Sacramento State Hornets.
LUCIO OURIQUE @Redwavereport
Now that the first game is in the books and we all got a good look at these Bulldogs things should be easier to predict right? Wrong! Though many things became clearer about these players the same can be said about the coaching staff. Mistakes were made by players and coaches alike. Chalk it up to the youth of the players or chalk it up to a coaching staff still getting use to each other. One thing is for certain, fans will get restless very quickly if they aren’t able to adjustments fast.
This week, the Hornets come in with one mission in mind, to beat the Bulldogs and make a statement. The Hornets will try to exploit the Bulldogs on the ground after seeing the success the Cornhuskers were able to have. But if the run is not there the Hornets are more than capable of putting the ball in the air and stretching the field.
The Bulldogs on the other hand will be looking to get the running game going not only by desire, but necessity. The running game that the Bulldogs had against Nebraska has become a focus point this week to get things rolling on the ground. A running game is needed if the Bulldogs are to have a shot a making it to a bowl game this season. Someone from the running back group emerges and has a big game against the Hornets this week I’m just not sure who that’ll be.
The passing game looks to be in good shape as long as the receivers manage to actually hold on to the ball once it hits them in the hands. I predict Virgil to have a big game which will allow us to see Zack Kline at some point in the game.
PREDICTION: FRESNO STATE 55 - SACRAMENTO STATE 10
LORENZO REYNA @Lj_Reyna
There is good news and bad news regarding Sacramento State for Fresno State fans.
The good news? Sacramento State isn't Nebraska, nor are they just as talented.
The bad news? The Hornets are loaded with Central Valley players who were passed on by FS, meaning that these guys have probably had this game circled down for awhile.
One of those players who will see plenty of action, plus come into Bulldog Stadium with a chip on his shoulder, is Hornet running back Demetrius Warren. After starring at nearby Bullard High in Fresno, Warren was once committed to Fresno State during the Pat Hill regime. But after Hill's firing and the university announcing Tim DeRuyter as head coach, DeRuyter opted to not honor Warren's pledge to the Bulldogs, leaving Warren to head over to Sacramento. There's a part of me that says that this game will be the biggest in Warren's collegiate career. He's not alone, though.
I counted 34 players on Sacramento State's roster who hail from the corridor of Sacramento and Bakersfield; the area that has long served as FS's fertile recruiting ground. I'll be shocked if these players aren't looking forward to lining up against the Bulldogs.
But talent wise, FS still has the edge. And, the Bulldogs are going against a team that got stunned by Western Oregon, an NCAA Division II school. Another good omen for FS? The Hornet running game averaged a putrid 2.6 yards per carry in the 38-30 loss last week.
PREDICTION: FRESNO STATE 35, SACRAMENTO STATE 16
JACKSON MOORE @JacksonM_Scout
Comparative scoring is a dangerous game to play, but if the Western Oregon Wolves can defeat Sacramento State on the Hornets’ home turf, Fresno State should have no problem getting a ‘W’ in Bulldog Stadium on Saturday.
Sacramento State comes off a 2-9 season and does not appear to be an FCS upset threat - four FCS teams took down FBS opponents in last week’s season openers. Even last year’s 3-9 Fresno State team made easy work of Abilene Christian, a team that also turned out to be one of the bottom tiered FCS teams at a 3-8 record.
Fresno State’s pass defense will be tested on Saturday, unlike at Nebraska. The Bulldogs fielded 13 pass attempts at Nebraska and were beat just once when Alonzo Moore went for a 57-yard touchdown past cornerback Tank Kelly. Meanwhile, Sac State’s sophomore QB Nate Ketteringham flung the ball 58 times, completing 34 of them for 370 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Bulldogs’ defense rebounds from Nebraska for a solid outing against the Hornets and watch for cornerback Tyquwan Glass or safety DeShawn Potts to come down with an interception.
The Bulldogs don’t have the talent, nor the experience, to make this game a huge blowout based on offense alone. However, look for Dontel James and the Bulldogs’ running game to find their groove and sustain multiple scoring drives - rather than breaking long touchdown scores - and build a two or three possession lead by halftime.
Tim DeRuyter’s Fresno State teams are 4-0 against FCS programs and have won by an average of 26 points per game. Expect a similar story on Saturday. If the defense or special teams can provide multiple big plays or even a score then the Bulldogs can really head back up the ramp without sweating the outcome.
One intangible in Saturday’s game is that Sacramento State will be a motivated team as an in-state opponent. In the last four years Weber State, Southern Utah and Abilene Christian all came and left Bulldog Stadium with lopsided losses. Fresno State was on track to do the same with its explosive 2013 team, but neighboring Cal Poly never quit and scored 22 unanswered points for a final 41-25 score. Sacramento State has multiple players from the Central Valley who will be extra motivated, but Fresno State still wins comfortably.
PREDICTION: FRESNO STATE 38 - SACRAMENTO STATE 10
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