Bulldogs at Boise State: Broncos break on top with Hoggarth field goal

Bulldogs on a run of penalties

Fresno State is second in the Mountain West, averaging just 5.1 penalties per game,

The Bulldogs were just called for their fifth penalty in the first quarter, a holding call against left guard Logan Hughes..

Boise takes lead with FG

Boise State is up 3-0, getting a 35-yard field goal from Haden Hoggarth. There is 6:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The Broncos have been hurting Fresno State on first downs – it’s first-down plays have gone for 41, 5, 8, 3 and 9 yards with on incomplete pass.

Jumpy

Fresno State on its first possession had a 3rd-and-1 that became a 3rd-and-6 with a false start penalty on wideout Jamire Jordan and then a 3rd-and-11 with a false start on tight end Jared Rice.

The Bulldogs had to punt.

Whiff

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien hit a 41-yard pass play on the Broncos’ first play from scrimmage – and became the all-time leading passer in the Mountain West Conference. But the drive stalled after a false start penalty and 2nd-down sack by linebacker George Helmuth. They had to settle for a 50-yard field goal attempt, and it was missed.

Magnitude

With North Carolina State losing to Wake Forest Thursday, there are eight teams with three losses ahead of Fresno State in the College Football Playoff rankings, and by the end of the weekend some of those teams could have four losses.

Four losses will not necessarily know anyone out of the CFP rankings – there were three four-loss teams in the final rankings last season with 9-4 Stanford ay No. 13, 8-4 Mississippi State No. 23 and 8-4 North Carolina State No. 24.

But if the Bulldogs were to win at Boise State, there could be some upward movement. Fresno State remained at No. 23 in the second set of rankings after going on the road and drilling UNLV 48-3.

Noise impact

Boise State midweek had 29,000 tickets out for this game, and it appears it won’t come close to a sellout. Albertsons Stadium holds 36,387. That could be a break for the Bulldogs, with the crowd noise maybe down a decibel or two and less likely to impact line calls and communication along the offensive line.

That noise, coupled with the Broncos’ movement with their defensive front, has been difficult on Boise State opponents this season.

Connecticut played at Boise State in front of 34,515 and was penalized six times for a false start, and that number was matched in the Broncos’ second home game …

  • Connecticut: 34,515 attendance, 6 false starts
  • San Diego State: 36,679, 6 false starts
  • Colorado State: 32,399, 1 false start
  • BYU: 35,241, 2 false starts

Colorado State had only one false start, but it was also penalized twice for delay of game.

Those penalties knock an offense off schedule, make third downs more difficult. The noise and movement are constants – there have been five false starts on first-down plays, five on second-down plays and five on third-down plays.

Tuitele back

It appears that Fresno State will have its offensive line back for its game at Boise State, with right tackle Syrus Tuitele going through pre-game with the No. 1 offense.

Tuitele has missed the past two games with a lower leg injury, and through the short prep week redshirt freshman Donate Bull and sophomore Quireo Woodley also got reps. Bull started against Hawaii and Woodley started at UNLV, 50-20 and 48-3 wins.

The Bulldogs starting offensive line at the beginning of the season made it through only one game, with left tackle Netane Muti going down with an Achilles’ injury at Minnesota in the second game.

Fresno State offensive line coach Ryan Grubb has deployed five different starting lineups in the first nine games and three games in a row headed to Boise.

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada