It was near domination from Fresno State at Sofi stadium, as their defense held Washington State scoreless for three quarters. The WSU offense could not get into rhythm all game while Fresno State’s offense ran all over them. Fresno state put on a show as the mountain west champions once again bested the representative from the Pac-12 in the LA Bowl. Let’s review some of my scouting notes from the game.
Jake Haener QB Fresno State
Jake Haener was an interesting prospect to watch as the offensive scheme was an easy one to play in. The Fresno offense ran about 90% play action and when he was forced into different formations like traditional drop back passing plays he didn’t do as well. Most of the big plays came from wide open receivers due to how the offense was schemed. He isn’t asked to do much in the offense, but the throws that came on crossing routes were thrown with good anticipation. The throwing while moving or improvising aspect of his game certainly needs to improve as he could do better on the run.
Cam Ward QB WSU
The Washington State offense failed to get it going mostly due to the performance from Ward. He’s a very raw talent that has all the physical tools of a modern quarterback. He did a great job scrambling and evading pressure in the second half to try and keep the game close. Ward had some Patrick Mahomes esque scrambling on show to try and find an open man but ultimately ended up short in the passing game. This bowl game was his worst passing performance of the season and looked shaken up all game. There was a lot of three and outs in the first half and the offense came out trying to air it out in the second half. For his lone interception he had hands in his face by a defender as he tried to force it to a receiver again proving that it’s more mental for him at times. I’d like to see him learn to read defenses a bit quicker because he certainly has the arm to make most throws on the field. With another year in the offense and a new offensive coordinator next year I could see a better season for WSU.
Niko Remigio WR Fresno
A transfer from CAL, Remigio brought a strong veteran prescience to this team. He was used mostly on deep routes averaging 29 yards a catch. I noticed he wasn’t able to shake the defensive backs off as well resulting in a pretty boom or bust performance. He’s pretty quick off the line but needs to work on better route running and fooling DBs.
Jordan Mims RB Fresno
Mims was named the offensive MVP of the bowl game marking the second bowl game MVP in a row for the running back. He averaged a stout 11.6 yards per carry and showed some great burst off the line. WSU was missing some of its starting linebackers which could have contributed to his big game on the ground, but it seemed like he could make anyone miss. He didn’t have much power to break tackles but was very elusive otherwise. Mims was also versatile and his usage on third down and in the pass game was respectable. He was able to make cuts well as well as having good lateral speed. The biggest thing I’d like to see improvement on from him is pass protection and overall strength to balance out his game.
Jaden Hicks S WSU
Jaden Hicks had a solid performance on defense as their starting safety. He flew to the ball well and had good play recognition overall. Hicks notched 7 tackles and 2 passes defended. Depending on the play he was asked a lot in run support and pass coverage.
Nakia Watson RB WSU
Watson had a pretty poor performance and couldn’t seem to get more than 5 yards per play. He reminded me a lot of watching Cam Akers play currently as he was either stuffed or had a minimal game. Even though he was stuffed pretty often he did fight for those tough yards despite a stout defensive line.