Sept. 5, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - In an electric and energizing season opener, seven different Bulldogs scored touchdowns as Fresno State smothered the visiting UC Davis Aggies 51-0 on Saturday night before a packed house surrounding Jim Sweeney Field.
Junior Ryan Colburn made his debut as Fresno State's starting quarterback and scored the night's first touchdown on a 1-yard dive for an early 7-0 lead.
Another junior, running back Ryan Mathews, scampered for a 60-yard dash later in the first quarter to put the Dogs in control of the non-conference contest and never looked back. Mathews led the Dogs with 106 yards rushing on 11 carries for an average of 9.6 per touch.
In a night of an array of firsts, linebacker Nico Herron snatched a Greg Denham pass early in the second quarter and sprinted 94 yards to the south endzone for his first touchdown at any level as the defense showcased a rejuvenating and unrelenting presence before 37,267 loud fans.
Colburn highlighted the air attack by zipping a 92-yard strike to Marlon Moore with 4:05 left before the break.
Head coach Pat Hill used all three of his talented quarterbacks. Redshirt freshman Ebahn Feathers effectively directed a late first half drive that ended with Feathers running to the left pylon for a 20-yard score to put the Bulldogs up 35-0 at halftime.
Colburn finished his evening with 161 passing yards and played only one series in the second half to pave the way for Feathers and true freshman quarterback Derek Carr to shared time under center during the second session. Both of them calmly managed Hill's run-focused approach for the game that allowed for six different halfbacks to touch the ball.
Even with strong depth in the backfield, true freshman running back Robbie Rouse made himself a household name as a shifty and nearly impossible to tackle game-changer. He danced and juked his way to 75 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 5-yard carry, his first Fresno State touchdown, as one of the two Bulldog rushing scores in the third quarter. The other came when senior tailback Lonyae Miller plowed in from three yards off the goaline.
The scoring ended when freshman Tris Okpalaugo recorded a safety in the fourth quarter to cement the 51-0 victory.
The Bulldogs amassed 511 yards of total offense, including 310 on the ground to win their season opener, which also marked the first meeting between Fresno State and UC Davis since 1952, before starting a tough span where they face the Big Ten's Wisconsin, nationally ranked Boise State and the Big East's Cincinnati.
Junior Loren Bell led the Bulldog defense with seven tackles, including a monster hit which was one of his four solo tackles. Also highlighting the stifling defensive showcase were fellow linebackers Ben Jacobs and Nico Herron, who recorded six and five tackles, respectively.
Fresno State posted its first shutout since a 30-0 victory over San Jose State on Oct. 20, 2007, and it was the Aggies' most lopsided defeat since a 54-0 loss to Cal in 1934. The last time the Aggies were shutout was in 1990.
UC Davis quarterback Greg Denham finished 18 of 41 for 188 yards and an interception. The Aggies managed just 43 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
This is the sixth consecutive year the Bulldogs opened the season 1-0.
"We Are Your Team" - Follow the Bulldogs Football team on the road when they head to Wisconsin to take on the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, September 12th. Be sure to "Wear White" at Bulldog Stadium on Friday, September 18th the `Dogs host the Boise State Broncos. The game will start at 6pm and be televised nationally on ESPN. Tickets are available now at GoBulldogs.com, the Bulldog Ticket Office or by phone at 559-278-DOGS.
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