Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Fresno State Bulldogs

2016 was a season of recurrent dominance on one side (San Diego State), and a resurgence on the other (Wyoming). The strength of the MWC was once again on the Mountain Division side of the league, as both Boise State and Air Force finished with 10 wins after bowl season was over with, and New Mexico finished with 9 wins. Wyoming, finished with 8 after being one of the worst programs in America in recent seasons. The Cowboys made it to the MWC title game after holding off charges from both Boise State and New Mexico, and while the season could have finished better for the Cowboys, the surge in success in Laramie had to be recognized as a huge move forward for Craig Bohl and his Cowboy program. In the West, Hawaii showed signs of life under Nick Rolovich, but the rest of the division, not including San Diego State, tanked once again, that side of the league will have 3 new head coaches in 2017. Here is a look back at the season that was in 2016.

Fresno State Bulldogs
1-11 (0-8)

2016 Schedule
Lost to Nebraska 43-10
Beat Sacramento State 31-3
Lost to Toledo 52-17
Lost to Tulsa 48-41
Lost to UNLV 45-20
Lost to Nevada 27-22
Lost to San Diego State 17-3
Lost to Utah State 38-20
Lost to Air Force 31-21
Lost to Colorado State 37-0
Lost to Hawaii 14-13
Lost to San Jose State 16-14

MVP Offense: WR KeeSean Johnson
There was not much to draw from when it came to Fresno State for star players. As close as it gets on offense would be WR KeeSean Johnson. He caught 66 passes for 773 yards and 6 scores on the year, averaging 11.71 yards per catch. His best game came against Air Force, in which he caught 10 passes for 142 yards and 3 scores in a 10 point loss to the Falcons. 
MVP Defense: DB Stratton Brown, LB Jeff Camilli
Stratton Brown was busy in the secondary, as he led the Bulldogs with 115 tackles on the season. He added 5.5 TFLs, 4 PBUs, and an INT. Brown recorded 11 tackles in the Air Force loss, and 10 the week before in the loss to Utah State. 
Camilli finished with 108 tackles on the season at LB, averaging 9.82 per game. He led the team with 9 TFLs and 4 sacks. He finished in double figures for tackles 7 times on the year, including a 15 tackle game against Tulsa in a 48-41 loss.  Others of Note
Chason Virgil showed some flashes at QB, passing for 2021 yards and 13 TDs, but he did toss 10 INTs as well. He passed for 303 yards in the loss to Air Force with 3 scores, but was picked off 4 times in that game as well. Remember, he was only a freshman. 
Dontel James rushed for 697 yards, but was held to just 3.5 yards per carry. No other Bulldog back carried the ball more than 48 times, compared to his 208.
Three receivers had 43 receptions or more, but nobody else had more than 10.
After Camilli's 108 tackles, nobody else recorded more than 59 on the season. 
The O Line gave up 86 TFLs and an abysmal 31 sacks. 
Virgil had 47 passes broken up, and was hurried 21 times. 
Fresno State was penalized 7.2 times per game on the road for an average of 64.8 yards per game.  Best Win: None
When your lone win comes against FCS and Big Sky member Sacramento State, you did not have any quality wins. The season was just simply that awful for the Bulldogs.  Worst Loss: Utah State 38-20
Every loss was fairly bad, but losing to the bottom feeder in the Mountain Division by 18 was certainly not an uplifting experience.  2017 Non Conference Schedule: 9/2 Incarnate Word, 9/9 at Alabama, 9/16 at Washington, 11/4 BYU
The schedule maker should be shot. Incarnate Word should be an easy win, but losses are sure to come in a big way against Alabama, Washington, and BYU in 2017. This schedule may be one of the most difficult in the nation out of conference. 

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