'Dogs Down Big East's Best
Sept. 4, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Ryan Colburn matched his career high with four touchdown passes and Fresno State overcame a slow start in the season opener before snapping Cincinnati's 18-game regular-season winning streak with a 28-14 victory Saturday night.
Colburn connected with Robbie Rouse, Jamel Hamler, Devon Wylie and Rashad Evans to help the Bulldogs overcome an early 14-0 deficit and hand Butch Jones a loss in his first game as Cincinnati's coach.
Jones took over the two-time defending Big East champions after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. He kept the spread offense that was so successful under Kelly and revamped a defense that struggled late last season.
For one quarter it looked as if the results would be the same as they usually were during Kelly's reign. But the Bearcats eventually wilted in the 94-degree heat against an inspired opponent.
The Bulldogs recorded their 16th win since the start of the 2000 season against teams from conferences that automatically qualify for the Bowl Championship Series.
Fresno State coach Pat Hill felt as if his team should have beaten the Bearcats on the road last year when star running back Ryan Mathews helped them keep the ball for nearly 44 minutes of a 28-20 loss.
This time, the Bulldogs attacked through the air and it paid off. Colburn completed 18 of 24 passes for 247 yards and one interception. He matched the four TD passes he threw in a loss at Wisconsin last season.
Held to one first down on their first seven drives, the Bulldogs scored touchdowns on their next three, taking a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter on Colburn's 28-yard pass to Wylie. The touchdown came one play after they converted a fourth-and-2 with a short pass to Tapa Taumoepeau.
The turnaround was just as stark on the other side of the ball as the Bearcats were held to minus-6 yards in a span of more than 22 minutes after taking a 14-0 lead on Zach Collaros' touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Cincinnati's Jacob Rogers missed wide right on a 48-yard field-goal attempt late in the third quarter. Colburn then hit Rashad Evans on a 59-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 28-14.
The Bulldogs sacked Collaros on three successive plays on the following drive as the Bearcats offense struggled to find a rhythm. Collaros completed 24 of 41 passes for 219 yards, throwing for one touchdown and running for another, but he was sacked eight times.
The Bearcats were held to 15 yards rushing in their first regular-season loss since a 40-16 defeat at Connecticut on Oct. 25, 2008.
The Bearcats got off to the early lead, getting a 23-yard TD pass from Collaros to D.J. Woods following an interception by Pat Lambert. Collaros' 5-yard run early in the second quarter made it 14-0. At that point, Cincinnati had outgained Fresno State 195-8 and had two more touchdowns than the Bulldogs had first downs.
POSTGAME NOTES AND QUOTES
Head Coach Pat Hill: "We played great defense tonight. I was really proud of the way our defense played. I thought Cincinnati did a great job against the run but we scored on some big plays. I was real proud of the way our team played tonight, especially our defense. I was really happy for them, because that is an explosive offensive football team. They played great tonight the Bulldog defense, we have something to build on there. Good win, good win. There was a great crowd tonight and this was a very good win for us, a win against a good football team and we needed this win tonight. Our special teams played well but I have to give a lot of praise to our defense they played well tonight. Ryan Colburn played well tonight, but we will take the 28-14 and we have a lot to build on."
Senior Quarterback Ryan Colburn: "We had confidence in them (the defense) and they kept us in the game, until we could kind of get kick started on offense there was a really big unknown with these guys. We didn't have a lot of film and we didn't know exactly what we were going to see, so there was a little unknown and it took us awhile to get going. We got into a rhythm and then we knew what they were doing and we had a good feel for them, and then we just made plays. This is awesome, it's definitely better than last year's win. But I have to tell you, this is just one. It doesn't mean anything if we don't keep it going next week. I think we played great and I was really happy we were able to do this for our fans. That's a great team we just beat and we're going to enjoy this tonight."
"We Are Your Team!" Fresno State returns to action Sept. 18 at Utah State. The next home game is Oct. 2 in the Football Fiesta Game vs. Cal Poly. Season tickets and mini--plans are available for the remaining six home games by clicking the tickets icon at the top of this page.