This will be the first meeting between Fresno State and Utah since 1999 Las Vegas Bowl
Sept. 1, 2014
|Fresno State (0-1, 0-0 MW) at Utah (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12)|
||Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014
||12 p.m. PT
||Rice-Eccles Stadium (45,807) - Salt Lake City, Utah
||Pac-12 Network | Play-by-Play: Kevin Calabro; Analyst:: Yogi Roth; Sideline: Lewis Johnson
Comcast Ch. 104; DirecTV: Not Available; Dish Network Ch. 406; AT&T U-Verse: 759 or 760
||ESPN Radio (940 AM) | Gameday Live (9 a.m.), Pregame Show (11 a.m.)
Play-by-Play:Paul Loeffler; Analyst: Cameron Worrell; Sideline:Lorenzo Neal
ESPN Deportes (1600 AM) in Spanish | Play-by-Play: Erwin Higueros; Analyst: Jesse Beltran; Sideline: Octavio Duarte
||Fresno State Game Notes | Utah Game Notes | Mountain West Notes
||Fresno State | Utah | Mountain West
||@FresnoStateFB Twitter | Facebook | Fresno_State_Football Instagram | Vine
Fresno State stays on the road for a second consecutive game, again against a Pac-12 opponent, when the `Dogs play at Utah on Saturday at 12 p.m. PT ... the game is being televised on the Pac-12 Network with the broadcast team of Kevin Calabro (play-by-play), Yogi Roth (analyst) and Lewis Johnson (sideline) ... fans can also listen to the game on the official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs, 940 AM ESPN radio, with `Voice of the Bulldogs' Paul Loeffler, former Bulldog and NFL safety Cameron Worrell
as the analyst and former Bulldog and four-time NFL Pro Bowler Lorenzo Neal ... the Bulldogs are looking to rebound from their biggest season-opening loss in program history, falling at No. 15 USC last week 52-13 ... this marks the first time since 2011 that the Bulldogs open a season up with two-straight games away from home and just the seventh time in the last 30 years ... it is also only the second time in school history the Bulldogs will have faced two Pac-12 schools to begin a season, the other being in 1981 when the `Dogs opened up at home against Oregon (win) and on the road at Oregon State (loss) ... Fresno State has not lost back-to-back games in the regular season in two years under head coach Tim DeRuyter
and the `Dogs have won their next game after a regular season loss by an average of 25.5 points ... running back Marteze Waller
rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries and scored both of Fresno State's touchdowns at USC last week. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry in the game where he made his second career start.
Bulldog offensive coordinator Dave Schramm is returning to the school he coached at for seven seasons before coming to Fresno State in 2012. Schramm's offenses at Fresno State have been one of the most prolific in the nation, which included last season when the Bulldogs led the nation in passing, ranked third in total offense and sixth in scoring.
The last time these two schools met was in the 1999 Las Vegas Bowl, the year after Utah left the WAC to join the MW. It was Fresno State's first bowl appearance since 1993, but the bowl was spoiled by a Cletus Truhe 33-yard field goal with under five minutes to play to give the Utes the victory.
Fresno State vs. Utah - The Series
Fresno State and Utah will be meeting for the 10th time this Saturday, but for the first time since 1999. The Utes lead the all-time series over the `Dogs 5-4 and are 4-1 vs. Fresno State when playing in Salt Lake City. Old WAC foes from 1992 until 1998 before the Utes left the WAC for the Mountain West, Utah has won four of the last five in the series. The one win was Fresno State's 27-13 victory over Utah in 1997 at home, which improved the Bulldogs' record to 3-0 against the Utes when playing them at home.
Utah is entering its 10th season under head coach Kyle Whittingham and the Utes have sold out their last 26 home games under his direction. Utah opened the season with a 56-14 victory over Idaho State. In the win, the Utes scored touchdowns on a kickoff return, punt return, pass and had five rushing touchdowns while putting up 589 yards of offense. Idaho State only got 337 yards in the loss to Utah and had just 158 through the air.
Connections to Utah
Bulldog offensive coordinator Dave Schramm spent seven seasons at Utah on Kyle Whittingham's staff before coming to Fresno State in 2012. In Schramm's seven seasons in Salt Lake City he helped the Utes go 65-25, which included Utah's perfect 13-0 2008 season that it capped off with a 31-17 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. At Utah, Schramm assumed the roles of coaching the running backs, quarterbacks, tight ends and he also served as the recruiting and offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator in 2009 when Utah went 10-3 and averaged 29.1 points per game and in co-offensive coordinator in 2010 when Utah also went 10-3 and averaged 33.1 points per game.
A second Bulldog with a connection to Utah, the state not the school, is senior running back Josh Quezada. Juice played his freshman and sophomore seasons at BYU before transferring over to Fresno State. Quezada ran for 803 yards and five touchdowns in two seasons at BYU, who Utah defeated in 2010 and 2011 with Juice on the Cougar roster.
RB Waller Has Strong Opener Against USC
Junior running back Marteze Waller rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries against No. 15 USC, averaging a hefty 6.1 yards per carry. He scored two touchdowns, Fresno State's only two scores in the game, giving him his third career game with two rushing touchdowns. He finished just three yards shy of registering his second career 100-yard rushing game. Waller had three rushes of over 15 yards in the game and also caught three passes for 25 yards, giving him 122 total yards on the day and that figure led the team. Waller drew his second career start last Saturday.
Picking Up Where They Left Off
A year ago after leading the Bulldog offense that set 19 school offensive records, Fresno State's offensive line started the 2014 season off with a good showing against No. 15 USC. Despite only scoring 13 points in the loss, the unit did well against the talented Trojan defense. Fresno State's line opened holes in the running game and the Bulldogs averaged 4.8 yards per rush. The `Dogs only allowed one sack in the game, which came as a result of an intentional grounding penalty. Last season, Fresno State only gave up 11 sacks in 13 games to rank sixth in the FBS. The Bulldogs returned three starters from that group and a fourth player, left tackle Alex Fifita who had started 11 games over the previous two seasons. The one player that the coaching staff pointed out in the group from last week's game was the one newcomer, Sean Rubalcava, who was making his first career start against USC.
Wilson Opens Season With Career-High
Bulldog inside linebacker Kyrie Wilson set a new career-high when he recorded 13 tackles in the loss at No. 15 USC last week. It was his second career game posting 10 or more tackles and marked the third time he has been the Bulldogs' outright team leader in tackles. In addition to his 13 stops, one of which was behind the line of scrimmage, Wilson also forced one fumble that the Bulldogs recovered in the second quarter. It was the second forced fumble of his career. Last season, Wilson tied for second on the team with 87 tackles starting all 13 games in his first season as a starter.
Linebacking Corps Shows Well Despite Tough Loss
Fresno State returned all four of its starting linebackers from last seasons team that won the Mountain West championship. In addition to Wilson, outside linebackers Ejiro Ederaine and Donavon Lewis also played well against the 15th-ranked Trojans. Lewis had a career-high eight tackles and his highlight play in the game was his six-yard tackle for a loss when he forced and recovered a fumble on the play. Ederaine had six tackles, including a team-high two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Last year, Ederaine led the team and ranked third in the Mountain West with 16.5 tackles for a loss. The fourth starting linebacker, mike backer Karl Mickelsen, had two tackles in the loss to the Trojans. One thing Fresno State looks to get out of its linebackers is sacks, which the Bulldogs did not register one in the loss to USC. Fresno State and Stanford are the only schools in the FBS that have ranked in the top 10 nationally in sacks in each of the past two seasons.
Bouncing Back After a Loss
Fresno State lost just its second season opener in the last 11 years. Now, head coach Tim DeRuyter looks for his team to bounce back after the tough loss. Under DeRuyter, the Bulldogs have not lost consecutive games in the same season as the `Dogs enter year three under his direction. In 2012, his first season, Fresno State lost three regular season games, but came back in the game after the defeat and won by an average margin of 31.7 points. Last year, in its only loss of the regular season, Fresno State rebounded to beat Utah State by seven points in the 2013 Mountain West Championship game.
Defense Looks to Rebound
Fresno State gave up 701 yards of offense, 37 first downs and 52 points last week to No. 15 USC. In three seasons under head coach Tim DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth, the Bulldogs have proven to rebound well defensively after a tough game. There have been five previous games where the 'Dogs gave up more than 500 yards to the opponent. In those five previous occasions giving up over 500 yards of offense, the Bulldog defense rebounded and allowed an average of 204.2 fewer yards and 21.4 fewer points in their next game.
Fresno State is 13-2 under DeRuyter when holding opponents under 30 points is 13-3 when holding opponents under 400 yards of offense.
Bulldogs in the NFL
Fresno State had 13 alum make the active rosters on NFL teams. That figure is the second highest in the conference behind Boise State's 15. Of Fresno State's 13 players in the league, three of them are rookies that helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back Mountain West championships over the last two seasons. Derek Carr (Oakland) and Davante Adams (Green Bay) were both second round picks while Isaiah Burse (Denver) made the squad as an undrafted free agent.
Bulldogs on NFL Rosters (years pro in parenthesis): WR, Davante Adams - Green Bay (rookie); WR, Seyi Ajirotutu - San Diego (5); WR Isaiah Burse - Denver (rookie); QB Derek Carr - Oakland (rookie); FB Tyler Clutts - Dallas (4); T Bryce Harris - New Orleans (3); LB Ben Jacobs - Carolina (2); ILB Kyle Knox - New Orleans (1); G Logan Mankins - Tampa Bay (10); CB Richard Marshall - San Diego (9); RB Ryan Mathews - San Diego (5); TE Bear Pascoe - Atlanta (6); C Ryan Wendell - New England (6)
MW Alum on Active NFL Rosters: (1) Boise State - 15; (2) Fresno State - 13; (3) San Diego State - 8; (4) Nevada - 8; (5)Utah State - 7; (t-6)San Jose State - 6 & Wyoming - 6; (8) Colorado State - 4; (9) New Mexico - 3; (t-10) Hawai'i - 2 & UNLV - 2; (12) Air Force - 1
New Faces in the Mix
Fresno State had six players make their first start last week at USC. Four were on offense with quarterback Brian Burrell, left guard Sean Rubalcava, wide receiver Da'Mari Scott and wide receiver LeKendrick Williams. The other two were on defense with nose guard Maurice Poyadue and cornerback Bryan Harper. Scott caught two passes for 22 yards, both career-bests for the young sophomore, Harper had seven tackles and Poyadue had two stops. More on Burrell to come.
In addition to the six `Dogs who drew their first start, there was a total 11 players on the team who played their first game in a Bulldog uniform last Saturday. In that total was five true freshmen (Michael Lazarus, Tobenna Okeke, Chad Olsen, Xavier Ulutu and Malcolm Washington) who saw the field.
Dual Quarterbacks in Opener
Fresno State used both Brian Burrell and Brandon Connette at quarterback in the opener, Burrell drawing the start and playing the first and third quarters while Connette played in the second and fourth quarters. Both QBs had seven drives in the game and each led the Bulldogs on one touchdown drive.
Burrell: Finished his first career start going 11-for-19 passing for 92 yards and one interception. He also ran for 42 yards on four carries and his 32-yard run was not only the longest rush in the game for either team, it was the longest rush by a Bulldog quarterback since Nov. 30, 2007 when former `Dog gunslinger Tom Brandstater had a 39-yard run at New Mexico State. Burrell's 42 yards rushing vs. USC was one yard shy of tying former Bulldog Derek Carr's single-game career-best of 43 in 2012 vs SDSU. When he was in the game, Burrell led Fresno State on 37 plays for a total of 184 yards, picking up 11 first downs (nine in the third quarter) and converting 2-of-6 third down tries.
Connette: Was 7-of-17 passing for 68 yards and three interceptions while also rushing seven times for 13 yards. He had a long run of 15 yards in the game, which came on a fourth-and-2 play for the Bulldogs on his first drive of the game to start the second quarter. That drive, which covered 75 yards in 13 plays, saw the Bulldogs pick up four first downs when they had just two total first downs in the opening quarter. Connette saw the field for 32 plays, leading the offense to 133 total yards and six first downs. The team was 0-of-6 on third down conversions in his two quarters.
Fresno State vs. the Pac-12
For just the second time in school history, Fresno State is opening a season with two games against Pac-12 opponents. The other time it happened was back in 1980 when the league had just 10 members and the `Dogs beat Oregon at home to begin the season, but fell in week two at Oregon State. Fresno State is 25-41 all-time against Pac-12 teams. Since 2000, Fresno State has squared off against seven of the teams that make up the Pac-12. The `Dogs have a win against each school except for Stanford and Arizona State, schools the Bulldogs have not played since 1928 and 1941, respectively. This is Fresno State's first game against Utah since it joined the Pac-12.
Josh Harper Moving Up on Record Lists
Senior wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award candidate Josh Harper moved ahead of Larry Willis (1983-84) and Marque Davis (1999-03) on the Fresno State all-time career receptions list with his six catches vs. USC. He now ranks No. 8 all-time with 144. Charles Smith (1998-01) owns the No. 7 spot with 177 career receptions. Harper, with 22 career touchdown receptions in 28 games played, needs one more TD catch to tie Rodney Wright (1998-01) for the fifth most touchdown receptions in school history.
Fresno State forced and recovered two fumbles last week against USC, giving the Bullodgs four-straight games going back to last season with two take-aways. On Nov. 29 at San Jose State, Fresno State also recovered two fumbles. The next week in the Mountain West Championship game, it was two interceptions and in the 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl the `Dogs recovered a fumble and had All-American safety Derron Smith return an interception 41 yards for a touchdown.
Take-aways are a focus in Tim DeRuyter's multiple 3-4 defense and the Bulldogs have been very successful in creating turnovers. In 27 games under DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth, the Bulldogs have recorded two or more take-aways 21 times. There have been only four games with just one turnover gained and two with none. In contrast, the two seasons before DeRuyter and his staff took over, Fresno State had 10 games with no take-aways from 2010-11. The 2011 squad tied for dead last in the FBS with only nine total take-aways in 13 games.
Fresno State has won 13-straight games at home, which is the fourth-longest active home streak in the country.
Fresno State since 1980 has lost just 10 season openers in 31 years and has come back in week two to win its second game of the season six times.
The Bulldogs only threw for 160 yards in last week's loss at No. 15 USC. It marked the first time under offensive coordinator Dave Schramm and head coach Tim DeRuyter that the `Dogs did not throw for over 200 yards in a game. Fresno State led the nation in passing last year averaging 394.8 yards per game.
Malique Micenheimer broke his single-game career reception mark with four and most yards with 38 last weekend. His previous high was two catches for 14 yards vs Rutgers in the 2013 season opener. He also broke his career long reception last week with a 12-yard catch.
Sophomore linebacker Jeff Camilli had four tackles in seven games as a true freshman in 2013. He recorded five stops last week vs. USC.
Senior cornerback Curtis Riley had a career-high nine tackles against USC and recovered the first fumble of his career.
Fresno State did not force USC to punt the entire game last week. The last time that happened was in the 2010 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl against Northern Illinois when the `Dogs lost 40-17.
In Fresno State's only win over Utah when playing in Salt Lake City (1990), the Bulldogs racked up 31 points and allowed just seven. In the four losses to the Utes on their home field, Fresno State has not scored more than 21 points, averaged just 16.5 points and allowed an average of 30 points. The magic number under head coach Tim DeRuyter seems to be 30, as the Bulldogs are 18-1 under him when scoring 30 or more points and also are 13-2 when holding their opponent to under 30 points.
Home Opener Approaching A Sellout
Fresno State opens the season with two straight road games, giving the majority of the Red Wave a long two weeks before they can catch their team in person. Week 3 on Sept. 13 against Nebraska is when the `Dogs play their first game at Bulldog Stadium, and the ticket sales are at a point they have never been at in Fresno State history. Entering the fourth and final week of August, Fresno State is approaching a sellout three weeks in advance of its first home game. The Bulldog ticket office is expecting the Nebraska game to be sold out before Fresno State even steps foot on the field for its first game, as there is a very limited number of tickets remaining for the home opener.
→ The earliest sellout of a game in Bulldog Stadium history happened last season, when the `Dogs sold out their Nov. 2, 2013 game against Nevada four days in advance.
→ The last home opener to sellout came back in 2008, when the `Dogs hosted a 10th-
ranked Wisconsin team in the second week of the season. Fresno State opened 2008 with a road win at Rutgers.
→ Last year Fresno State led the Mountain West in attendance with an average of 36,917 fans over seven home games. That was the highest per game average since 2008 when the `Dogs drew 37,864 fans.
→ Fresno State has added over 5,200 new season ticket holders and retained in the ball park of 85 percent of its 2013 season ticket holders. Fresno State has added over 9,000 new season ticket holders over the last two seasons behind head coach Tim DeRuyter.
→ Fresno State had the No. 9 overall per game attendance increase in the FBS from 2012 to 2013 (up 6,002 per game). Went from 30, 915 to 36,917 per game.