|Cal Poly (1-0, 0-0 Big Sky) at Fresno State (1-0, 0-0 MW)|
||Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
||7 p.m. PT
||Fresno, Calif. - Bulldog Stadium (41,031)
||ESPN3 | Play-by-Play: Peter Young; Analyst:: Corey Chavous
||ESPN Radio (940 AM) | Gameday Live (4 p.m.), Pregame Show (6 p.m.)
Play-by-Play:Paul Loeffler; Analyst: Cameron Worrell; Sideline: Ralph Wood
ESPN Deportes (1600 AM) in Spanish | Play-by-Play: Erwin Higueros; Analyst: Jesse Beltran; Sideline: Octavio Duarte
||Fresno State Game Notes | Cal Poly Game Notes | MW Notes
||Fresno State | Cal Poly
Coming off an overtime victory over Rutgers in the season opener, the Fresno State Bulldogs remain at home to host Cal Poly for Saturday's Ag Fest game at Bulldog Stadium ... the 44th meeting between the 'Dogs and Mustangs is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff and is airing on ESPN3 with the broadcast team of Peter Young (play-by-play) and Corey Chavous (analyst) ... 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 sideline reporter Ralph Wood ... the Bulldogs will have green accents (socks, wristbands, etc.) to their uniforms on Saturday for Ag Fest, which celebrates the San Joaquin Valley and its agricultural history ... senior quarterback Derek Carr entered the season with a lot of hype, and in week one he delivered with a clutch fourth-quarter comeback to lead the Bulldogs to the victory. In the game he set new Mountain West and school records for completions (52), pass attempts (73) and total plays (77) ... Davante Adams has a nation-leading nine-straight games catching a touchdown pass, which is also a school and Mountain West record ... Adams (14), Isaiah Burse (13) and Josh Harper (14) combined for 41 receptions in the Rutgers game and each had 10-plus catches, marking the first time in school history two or more receivers had double-digit receptions in the same games ... the 'Dogs have won seven-straight games in Bulldog Stadium and have averaged 49.3 points in those seven games ... this is the first year since 2006 that Fresno State has opened a season with two-straight home games and just the seventh time in the last 40 years that it has happened.
Fresno State looks to open the season 2-0, which would be the 12th time the 'Dogs have done that since 1980. In the previous 11 seasons the Bulldogs started 2-0, they averaged nine wins per year.
Quarterback Derek Carr has moved into third place on the school's all-time passing list with 8,216 yards. He needs two more TD passes to be the third Bulldog with 70 in a career.
Derek Carr was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week on Monday and kicker Colin McGuire was named the Special Teams Player of the Week.
How's That for an Opener
Fresno State opened the 2013 season with a thrilling 52-51 victory over Rutgers, the defending Big East co-champions. The game featured 10 lead changes and three ties, and the Bulldogs showed their resiliency to come back from being down 20-7 in the second quarter and also two fourth-quarter deficits, the last being down by seven with 1:18 to play. In the end, Derek Carr connected with Greg Watson on the first play of the overtime session to give Fresno State the 52-45 lead. Rutgers answered by scoring in three plays and the Scarlet Knights rolled the dice by going for the 2-point conversion, but the Bulldogs denied their shot to win it and stopped the conversion to preserve the win. It was Fresno State's first overtime game in a season opener since Aug. 31, 1996 when the 'Dogs lost 30-27 at home against Oregon in one OT. Fresno State has now won nine out of their last 10 season openers and the win pushed its home winning streak up to seven-straight games.
Fresno State vs. Cal Poly - The Series
Saturday's game marks the 44th meeting in the series between Fresno State and Cal Poly, but just the second meeting since 1986. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 31-10-2 and have won the last six. The last meeting between the schools came on Oct. 2, 2010 when the Bulldogs won 38-17. Ryan Colburn passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns, while the Fresno State defense shutout Cal Poly in the second half. When Playing Cal Poly at home, the Bulldogs own a 20-4-2 record over the Mustangs.
Scouting Cal Poly
The Mustangs entered the 2013 season ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision preseason coaches poll and 14th in the The Sports Network preseason media poll. The Mustangs opened the season with a 38-16 win over the University of San Diego. Cal Poly ran for 307 yards with five touchdowns while passing for 226 yards in the win. This is the Mustangs' fifth season under head coach Tim Walsh. A year ago, Cal Poly finished 9-3 overall, captured a share of the Big Sky title in its first year in the conference and earned a second-round FCS playoff berth, falling 18-16 to Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas. In earning their third FCS playoff berth, the Mustangs finished with a winning record for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons.
Derek Carr led the Fresno State Bulldogs to a 52-51 overtime victory over Rutgers on Thursday night with a record-setting performance. Carr set new school and Mountain West records by completing 52-of-73 passes for 456 yards and five touchdowns against one interception. His 52 completions were 10 more than the previous MW record, which was one that he set last season, and it was the fourth-most by any bowl subdivision quarterback has had in the last 10 seasons. Carr's 71.2 completion percentage in that game is right with the other quarterbacks to have prolific passing games as shown in the chart below. Carr registered his fourth career game with five touchdown passes, which came against the Rutgers defense that in 2012 ranked No. 4 in the FBS by allowing only 14.2 points per game. The third record he set in this game was the MW record for total offensive plays (77).
Ice In His Veins
What was also impressive about Derek Carr's performance against Rutgers was how clutch he was leading his team back from several deficits, and doing so with little time on the clock. Fresno State trailed 20-7 with 8:20 left in the second quarter, but Carr got the Bulldogs back on top 21-20 by halftime. On the final drive of the first half, the Bulldogs took over the ball with 1:44 on the clock and on their own 20-yard line. Carr completed his first seven passes on the drive and was 10-of-11 overall to cover all 80 yards with his arm and get the Bulldogs into the end zone with a two-yard touchdown pass with one second left on the clock. Then in the fourth quarter when the Bulldog trailed 38-35 with 5:32 to play, Carr led the Bulldogs down for a field goal to tie the game. He was 5-for-7 on that drive for 48 yards to set up the tying field goal. After Rutgers then took a 45-38 lead with 1:08 remaining, Carr again got the 'Dogs into the end zone to tie the game and force overtime. On the final drive in the final minute, he connected on a 25-yard completion to start the drive, got a pass interference call on the defense and finished the drive with a two-yard TD pass. In overtime, Carr connected with Greg Watson on the very first play for a 25-yard TD pass, which ended up being the winning score.
Finding A Way To Win
Under head coach Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State has proven to have the ability to come back in games. Last season, DeRuyter's first as head coach, the Bulldogs rallied from a 21-0 deficit at New Mexico to win that game 49-32. That marked Fresno State's biggest comeback since 1982. Also in the San Diego State game last year, the Bulldogs overcame four turnovers and a 14-point first-half deficit to win 52-40. That win over SDSU was Fresno State's first win with three or more turnovers since the last time it faced Cal Poly on Oct. 2, 2010 when the 'Dogs won 38-17 despite three turnovers. In last week's victory over Rutgers, the Bulldogs overcame their own mistakes (three turnovers) and several deficits, including being down by seven with 1:18 to play, to come back and find a way to win. The victory was Fresno State's first under DeRuyter when the team trailed after three quarters.
Fresno State wide receivers Davante Adams, Isaiah Burse and Josh Harper combined for 41 catches in the win over Rutgers. On the opening weekend of the 2013 season, there were only three other teams (East Carolina, Texas Tech and SMU) that had at least 41 completions, which goes to show just how remarkable it was for Fresno State's big three to combine for 41 catches. Adams and Harper had 14 receptions while Burse had 13. Only East Carolina's Justin Hardy with 16 catches had more receptions than Adams and Harper had in the opening weekend.
Prior to this season, there had been 20 games in school history where a receiver had 10 or more catches, but not once was there a game where two 'Dogs caught 10 or more passes on the same day. Not until the season opener when Adams, Burse and Harper all posted double-digit receptions against the Rutgers defense that in 2012 ranked 10th in total defense and fourth in scoring defense. It marked the first known time an FBS team had three receivers with 10-plus catches since Oct. 12, 2007 when Hawai'i recorded the feat in a 42-35 overtime win over San Jose State. UH's Ryan Grice-Mullen (14 rec., 175 yards, 1 TD), Davone Bess (12 rec., 140 yards, 1 TD) and Jason Rivers (12 rec., 138 yards, 1 TD) combined for 38 catches, 453 yards and three TDs on that day. Adams, Burse and Harper combined for 41 catches, 360 yards and four TDs last Thursday.
Isaiah Burse: Set a new career-high with his 13 receptions that went for 118 yards - his fourth career 100-yard game. Eight of his 13 catches came in the first half and that was one shy of the school record for receptions in a single-half. Additionally, Burse had 47 yards on three punt returns, giving him 165 all-purpose yards in the game. With 4,669 career all-purpose yards, he now only needs 331 more yards to become the third Bulldog in school history with 5,000 all-purpose yards and 1,157 more to tie Bernard Berrian for the most all-purpose yards in school history (5,826). Burse now has 123 career receptions and needs two more to crack the top 10 for the most receptions in school history.
Josh Harper: Harper's 14 receptions were five more than his previous career-high that he set last season against San Diego State. Harper also had two touchdowns, including grabbing the game-tying two-yard TD pass with :38 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime last Thursday. It was his first career two-touchdown game, one of 10 two-touchdown receiving performances in the 2013 opening weekend, and now has given him 11 career touchdowns in 17 games.
Davante Adams: Set a new career-high with 14 catches for 148 yards to register his fourth-straight 100-yard receiving game going back to last season, which has tied the school record for consecutive games with 100 yards receiving. He now shares that record with Rodney Wright (2001) and Henry Ellard (1987). Additionally, with his two touchdown catches against Rutgers, Adams has now caught a touchdown pass in nine-straight games going back to last season. That is a new school record and expands upon the Mountain West record he already held. It is also the longest active streak in the FBS for consecutive games with a touchdown catch. The NCAA record for consecutive games with a touchdown reception is 18 done by Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald.
Take-Aways Continue to Pile Up
After finishing last season ranked fifth nationally with 35 turnovers, the Bulldogs picked right up where they left off with two take-aways in the season opener. That gives the Bulldogs 37 take-aways in 14 games under head coach Tim DeRuyter, or 2.6 per game.
Smith Keeps Streak Alive
Junior free safety Derron Smith led Fresno State's defensive effort in the overtime win against Rutgers. Smith tied for the team lead with eight tackles in the game, he had a half tackle for a loss and made an acrobatic interception on a tipped ball that required some good footwork on the sideline to keep his feet in bounds while making the pick. It was Smith's eighth career pick, as he entered the opening weekend tied for 11th nationally among active players in career interceptions. Additionally, Smith's pick extended Fresno State's streak of consecutive games with an interception to 12. That is the longest active streak in the nation.
Keeping That INT Streak Alive vs. Run-Oriented Teams
Cal Poly runs a spread triple option offense that last season averaged 324.2 yards per game on the ground, but threw only 12.75 passes per game. In games against run-oriented teams New Mexico and Air Force last season, Fresno State was still able to pick off a pass in both of those games to get the INT streak where it is at today. UNM entered that game averaging just 11.9 passes per game and L.J. Jones had an interception for the Bulldogs. Air Force came into the 2012 regular season finale averaging just 11.7 passes per game and Sean Alston had a pick for the Bulldogs. In the 2013 season opener, Cal Poly actually attempted 21 passes and threw for 226 yards.
Facing Another Option-Oriented Run Team
Fresno State is familiar with facing teams that like to run the football. Last year the 'Dogs faced teams with comparable offenses to Cal Poly when they played Air Force and New Mexico. After allowing 349 yards rushing in the win over UNM last year, the Bulldogs came back with a focused effort against Air Force to end the regular season. Fresno State held Air Force to 81 fewer rushing yards than its season average in that 48-15 win and 130 fewer yards of total offense. The Bulldogs look to carry over that experience to Saturday against Cal Poly, which ran for 307 yards and five touchdowns along with 226 yards passing in its season-opening victory over the University of San Diego.
Impressive Debut for the Freshman Kicker
Freshman Kicker Colin McGuire, on his very first collegiate field goal attempt that came with the team down three points and 3:48 left in the game, connected on a 47-yard field goal to tie the game up for the Bulldogs. With the help of McGuire's clutch kick, Fresno State went on to defeat Rutgers 52-51 in overtime. McGuire also hit all seven of his PAT attempts in the game.
Jennings Sets New Career-High
Senior defensive end Andy Jennings posted a career-high seven tackles in the win over Rutgers last week. He had five solo stops, two assisted and registered a half sack. Last season when Jennings was a second-team All-Mountain West selection he led the team with 5.5 sacks and was third with 11 tackles for a loss.
Cal Poly Connection
First-year secondary coach David Brown will be coaching against his alma mater this weekend. Brown was a two-year letter winner for the Mustangs in 1994 and 1995 and led Cal Poly in tackles in 1994 with 69. After his playing career ended, Brown also served time as an assistant coach with the Mustangs from 2001-05, the last two years serving as defensive coordinator. During Brown's tenure as defensive coordinator the Mustangs won the Great West title in each of those seasons. In 2005, Cal Poly earned it its first berth- and victory- in NCAA Division I-AA (now Division I Football Championship Series) championship play. The Mustangs also had the recipient of the Buck Buchanan Award for the top defensive player in Division I-AA each of the two seasons Brown was in charge of the defense.
Defense Looks to Rebound
Fresno State allowed Rutgers to gain 543 yards of offense - 348 passing and 195 rushing - in the season opener on Aug. 29. That is the most yards given up in the Tim DeRuyter era. The next highest tally was 532 against No. 4 Oregon last year. If you take away four Rutgers' biggest plays - touchdown passes of 69 and 30 yards along with runs of 65 and 55 yards from Paul James - then Rutgers gains only 324 yards of offense. Take away the big plays and the Bulldog `D' will be just fine. Fresno State's defense did do a nice job on third downs, only allowing the Scarlet Knights to convert 3-of-14 attempts. Fresno State, which ranked 17th nationally in 2012 in tackles for a loss, did have seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage in the game.
Davante Adams, with 16 career touchdown catches in 14 games, has moved into a tie for seventh in school history for most career TD receptions. He also only needs nine more catches to crack the top 10 list for career receptions.
Derek Carr has thrown for over 300 yards in his last three games and 11 times overall in his career. The last Bulldog quarterback with three or more consecutive 300-yard passing games was Paul Pinegar. Pinegar had five-straight 300-yard games from Nov. 5-Dec. 2, 2005.
Of the 34 season openers since 1980, 19 of them have been at home and the Bulldogs have now won 17 of those.
No Place Like Bulldog Stadium
Fresno State is in its 33rd full season with Bulldog Stadium as its home venue. The 'Dogs have an all-time winning percentage of .767 in their 41,031-seat stadium, including a 57-19 mark at home since 2000. The Bulldogs have won seven-straight at home and in those seven games have averaged 49.3 points per game. Despite winning the 2013 season opener by just one point in overtime, Fresno State has still outscored opponents by 191 points in those seven games for an average margin of victory of 27.3 points.