#88 Fresno State Football 2015 Preview

Fresno State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #88
#8 Mountain West

Fresno State Team Page#88 Fresno State Football 2015 PreviewBuy Fresno State Football Tickets

Fresno State’s impressive 11-3 2013 season seems long ago. Life after quarterback Derek Carr proved to be very difficult for a team that wants to throw the ball around Bulldog Stadium as much as possible. The result was an up and down 2014 campaign that ended with a thud in the Hawaii Bowl against Rice. The 2015 season will have many of the same issues and could very well end with no bowl trip at all.

2014 Record: 6-8, 5-3
2014 Bowl: Hawaii Bowl vs. Rice (L 6-30)
Coach: Tim DeRuyter (26-14 at Fresno State, 27-14 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Schramm
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Toth

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marteze Waller, RB, 1,368 yards
Passing: Zack Greenlee, QB, 213 yards
Receiving: Aaron Peck, WR, 419 yards
Tackles: Kyrie Wilson, LB, 90
Sacks: Todd Hunt, DE, 2.5
Interceptions: Charles Washington, CB, 2; Kyrie Wilson LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: P Garrett Swanson, LB Ejiro Ederaine, C Bo Bonnheim

Key Losses: RB Josh Quezada, QB Brian Burrell, WR Josh Harper, WR Greg Watson, OL Cody Wichmann, LB Karl Mickelsen, DB Derron Smith, DL Tyeler Davidson, LB Donavon Lewis

The Fresno State offense took a giant step back last season, but it was not quite as bad as it seemed…just different. It was the ground game that thrived thanks to running back Marteze Waller. He rushed for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns on 225 carries. That is a lot of carries for a Fresno State running back, but it was hard for Coach Tim DeRuyter to do anything else when Waller was being so effective. Brian Burrell is gone after starting for one season and passing for 2,620 yards and 22 touchdowns. That leaves Zack Greenlee as the most experienced quarterback on the roster. He attempted 41 passes as a freshman last season. Fellow sophomore Kilton Anderson and true freshman Chason Virgil, who is expected to be the next big Fresno State quarterback, are the other options. The battle will continue through the summer and could continue through the season. Whoever is at quarterback will not have the services of Josh Harper. Even with the passing woes, Harper caught 90 passes for 1,097 yards and seven scores. Aaron Peck, who caught 32 passes for 419 yards, figures to be the new go to target.

While the offense got most of the negative headlines for Fresno State last season, it was actually the defense that was more disappointing. The unit allowed 32.4 points per game and ranked 108th in the nation in total defense. The return of linebacker Ejiro Ederaine to full health is a big plus. He will join Kyrie Wilson and Brandon Hughes to form a solid group of linebackers. Ederaine can get to the quarterback and that is one thing the defense did pretty well in 2014. The bigger concern is in the secondary where Fresno State was continually torched for big plays. Charles Washington and Malcolm Washington return to their starting roles at cornerback, but those two were responsible for a lot of yards and will be tested time and time again in 2015.

The Bottom Line:
Another tough schedule that includes non-conference games against Ole Miss, Utah and BYU will have Fresno State fighting for bowl eligibility all season long. If an efficient and occasionally prolific quarterback can be found, the Bulldogs can certainly win enough Mountain West games to reach a bowl, but it may take some time for any of the new quarterbacks to get comfortable and start playing how Fresno State needs them to play. By then, it may be too late to get to a bowl.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 182.4 (44th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 223.7 (71, 6)
Total Offense: 406.1 (59, 4)
Scoring Offense: 26.5 (82, 7)
Rushing Defense: 201.9 (98, 8)
Pass Defense: 254.1 (96, 10)
Total Defense: 456.0 (108, 10)
Scoring Defense: 32.4 (99, 9)
Turnover Margin: -0.50 (103, 9)
Sacks: 2.14 (65, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.86 (105, 9)


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