Fresno St Bulldogs 2021 College Football Preview
Created July 15, 2021
Record – 3-3
ATS – 3-3
The Bulldogs got off to a fine 3-1 start beating a trio of tomato cans (Colorado St, UNLV, Utah St) but dropped their final two games to finish at the .500 mark. The season finale was disappointing as they were rolled by New Mexico (L 49-39). To be fair, the schedule wasn’t kind as they played their final four games away from home. Let’s check in with the Bulldogs and see what they have to work with in 2021.
Fresno St Bulldogs 2021 Outlook
Fresno St had one of the more impressive passing attacks in the FBS LY (#5 pass offense) as QB Jake Haener displayed some fine passing SKILLZZ (65%, 8.7, 14-5 TD to INT). He threw for 300+ in four of his five starts. It’s hard to believe he survived the season as he was sacked an impossible 24 times (Fresno #11 MW sacks allowed per game). Haener did a good job distributing the football and gets back every target that caught at least four passes in 2020. Jalen Cropper lead a deep group of WRs (37-520, 14.1, 5 TD) and note that Ronnie Rivers is one of the best catching RBs in college football (27-265, 9.8, 2 TD). Speaking of that seemingly 8th year senior, he also led the team in rushing with over 500Y and 7 TD in the shortened plandemic campaign. The OL should be better this year as they have adequate experience and decent size. The big boys are the key to Fresno having either a really good, or DEADLY offense. <grabs popcorn>
The Bulldogs were able to achieve IMPRESSIVE PENETRATION last year as they finished the season ranked #3 in the FBS in sacks per game (25/6g) and in the top-15 in TFL/game. They just allowed too many of those PESKY yards (#9 MW total defense) and points (#8 MW scoring D) whilst having a tough time getting off the field (#118 FBS 3rd down D). We expect a better showing as 10 starters are back in the mix and that includes several talented players. The DL looks like something out of SACK LAKE CITY, UTAH as it features three men (Perales, Atkins, Jones) have combined for 14 sacks in 2020. They have good size in the interior and should be improved vs the run. The LB unit gets a premium LB transfer from FIU/Boise St (Tyson Maeva) and the all starters return on the back end. They allowed just 55.7% completions LY (#3 MW). The pass rush will be there but they need to be a lot better vs the run if they want to make serious noise in 2021.
This is an area of concern as they finished near the bottom of the Phil Steele special teams rankings LY (#126). They need to get a lot better across the board, but at least you can say that Cesar Silva made 5/5 FGA (none 40+).
Overall – There are two LAYUPS (UConn, CAL POLY) and a pair of nasty ones (at Oregon, at UCLA) in non-conference play. They get a brutal MW road draw (Hawaii, San Diego St, San Jose St, Wyoming). There are only three games after Halloween.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing overly-spooky is noted.
Season Win Total
Per 5Dimes July 15
Over 6 -110
Under 6 -110
That looks about right. They’re almost certainly going to be 2-2 heading into conference play and 67 of our 98 models believe that a .500 mark in MW play is the most likely outcome. More upside than downside with this squad tho. Just saying.
HC Kalen Deboer got his feet wet last year and it’ll be interesting to see how these guys look over the course of a full season. The offense should LIGHT IT UP and hopefully the defense can do enough to help the Bulldogs win their share of close games. Tough schedule, but a talented team. Let’s go!
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