Sept. 11, 2000
======================================================Fresno State vs. California
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Location: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
Local TV: KMPH Fox 26 (Ralph Wood, Randy Rosenbloom, Vince Wesson)
National TV: Fox Sports Net (announcers TBA)
Radio: KMJ (AM 580) (Bill Woodward, Jon Anabo, Ron Shapley)
The Bulldogs have the week off to prepare for their home opener on Sept. 23 vs. California of the Pacific-10 Conference. Cal plays at Illinois this week before its trip to Fresno.
For the second consecutive week, the Bulldogs played a nationally ranked opponent, No. 16 UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Despite being down 24-7, Fresno State rallied with two fourth quarter touchdowns and was driving the football in Bruin territory with less than two minutes remaining before a fumbled snap ended the drive and left the 'Dogs with their second consecutive loss, 24-21. It was the closest scoring margin in the six-game history of the series.
All-Time vs. Cal
The Bulldogs own a 1-0 lead in the series which began in 1995. Fresno State defeated Cal 25-24 at Berkeley.
Last Time vs. Cal
(Berkeley, Calif. - Sept. 9, 1995) In the first-ever meeting between the schools, the Bulldogs ruined the 1995 home debut of California, rallying from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Golden Bears 25-24. The Bears held a 7-6 halftime lead before scoring 10 unanswered points. Richie Donati came off the bench in place of injured Jim Arellanes to throw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown at the end of the third quarter to bring the 'Dogs within seven points. Brown, who scored three touchdowns, caught a 30-yard touchdown pass and Michael Pittman scored the game-winner on a six-yard run with five minutes remaining. The Bears drove to the Fresno State 37-yard line with less than two minutes remaining, but Cal kicker Ryan Longwell's a 56-yard field goal with 1:08 left was short.
All-Time vs. Pac-10
The Bulldogs have played every team from the Pac-10 but have failed to register wins over four programs. The 'Dogs are 13-22 vs. Pac-10 schools and 2-8 vs. California Pac-10 schools. Fresno State was 0-2 vs. Pac-10 teams last year, losing at Oregon State 46-23 and UCLA in 35-21 in consecutive games. Fresno State will play another Pac-10 opponent in its next game, the home opener on Sept. 23 vs. Cal. The Bulldogs are winless in their last five games vs. Pac-10 opponents with the last win coming five years ago, Sept. 9, 1995, at California 25-24. FS has winning records against Arizona (2-0), California (1-0), Oregon State (6-4) and USC (1-0).
First Time Against Back-to-Back Ranked Opponents
Since head coach Pat Hill took over prior to the 1997 season, the Bulldogs have faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the West. However, last week marked the first time in Fresno State history the Bulldogs played ranked opponents in back-to-back weeks. On Sept. 2, FS opened its 2000 season at then-No. 15 Ohio State. Last week, Fresno State lost to to No. 16 UCLA 24-21.
vs. California Schools
The Bulldogs have a record of 216-168-14 all-time vs. teams from the state of California. Pat Hill is 3-4 vs. California schools (3-0 vs. San Jose State, 0-2 vs. UCLA, 0-2 vs. San Diego State).
Best in the West
Fresno State has been one of hottest teams in the West, having won 12 of its last 20 games. Of the Division I-A schools located in the Mountain, Pacific and Hawaiian time zones, only five schools have better records than the Bulldogs during that time.
Best in the West (last 19 games) 1. Air Force 14-6 Arizona 14-6 3. Utah 13-7 Colorado State 13-7 Oregon 13-7 6. Fresno State 12-8 BYU 12-8WAC Coaching Leaders
Pat Hill is the active WAC coaching leader in winning percentage with a record of 15-8 (.652). Here's how the other WAC coaches with more than one year of experience rank.
Coach WAC Record Pct Overall Record Pct Ken Hatfield, Rice 20-11 (4) .625 32-27 (21) .542 Dennis Franchione, TCU 9-6 (2) .600 30-33 (8) .476 Mike Cavan, SMU 12-10 (3) .545 12-10 (3) .545 Dave Baldwin, San Jose St. 8-14 (3) .364 8-14 (3) .364In Case You Missed It
Fresno State's 24-21 loss to UCLA was the closest margin of victory in the six-game history of the series ... Fresno State had four interceptions vs. Ohio State, one more than it threw all of the 1999 season ... redshirt freshman tight end Alec Greco's first career catch was for a 3-yard touchdown vs. UCLA ... running back Derrick Ward did not play on offense vs. UCLA because of a sprained ankle ... Jeremy Johnson had a career-high five receptions for 49 yards vs. UCLA ... the Bulldogs had 11 tackles for losses vs. UCLA, compared to the Bruins' five. For the season, Fresno State leads its opponents in tackles for losses 18-10 ... Devon Banks made his first career start vs. UCLA in place of injured Anthony Limbrick and responded with a career-high 14 tackles ... Fresno State's turnover margin is minus six (four interceptions and three fumbles lost) to one fumble recovery ... the 'Dogs have gone consecutive games without getting an interception for the first time since the middle of the 1998 season. The Bulldogs had interceptions in 14 of their last 17 games entering this season ... the Bulldogs held the Bruins to 3.3 yards per play of total offense. Fresno State averaged 4.9 yards per play of total offense vs. UCLA. For the season, Fresno State is outgaining its opponents 4.8 to 4.4 yards per play. . .FS led the WAC in third down conversions in 1999 at 50%. So far in 2000, the Bulldogs are averaging 31% on third down plays ... Fresno State leads the NCAA in punt returns, 38.0 yards per return.
Under Pat Hill, the Bulldogs have lost 11 non-conference games, nine of which have come on the road. Of those 11 losses, six have been by six points or less. One of those losses was in overtime and five were by three points or less.
Close Non-Conference Losses Opponent Date Score Differential vs. Utah * Dec. 18, 1999 17-16 -1 vs. Baylor Sept. 6, 1997 37-35 -2 at Oregon Sept. 20, 1997 43-40 (ot) -2 at UCLA Sept. 9, 2000 24-21 -3 vs. Nevada Sept. 26, 1998 27-24 -3 * EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl'Dogs Picked Second in WAC Preseason Poll
Despite returning the most first-team All-WAC players of any team in the league, Fresno State was the second choice of media members in the 2000 Preseason Poll. The Bulldogs received 178 total points and six first place votes. TCU, 20th in the AP preseason poll, with 16 first place votes, received 206 points, as the predicted league champion.
2000 WAC Football Media Poll (first place votes in parenthesis) No Name Votes 1. TCU (16) 206 2. Fresno State (6) 178 3. Hawai'i (2) 170 4. Rice 114 5. SMU 108 6. UTEP 90 7. Nevada 84 8. Tulsa 68 9. San Jose State 62All-WAC Back
The Bulldogs welcome back four first-team All-WAC players from 1999 and one who was a first-team All-WAC selection in 1998 (Tim Skipper). In addition, the Bulldogs return two second-team All-WAC players and six others who were honorable mention All-WAC in 1999.
1998 First-Team All-WAC: Tim Skipper, Linebacker
1999 First-Team All-WAC: Alan Harper, Defensive Tackle, Orlando Huff, Linebacker, Anthony Limbrick, Safety, Rodney Wright, Receiver
1999 Second-Team All-WAC: Tim Skipper, Linebacker, Charles Smith, Return Specialist
1999 Honorable Mention All-WAC: Nick Burley, Defensive End, Giachino Chiaramonte, Linebacker, Vernon Fox, Safety, Paris Gaines, Running Back, Charles Smith, Wide Receiver, Derrick Ward, Running Back.
Little Big Man
Senior middle linebacker Tim Skipper (Kenner, La.) continues to be Fresno State's leader on defense and will be the defensive captain for the second consecutive year. Skipper is an excellent student who has been a WAC scholar-athlete. Despite being the smallest middle linebacker in the country (5-7, 215 lbs.), Skipper has played very large throughout his career. Skipper, who has has started 33 of 36 games in his career, was a first-team All-WAC selection as a sophomore and despite missing two-and-a-half games and four starts with a knee injury, was selected second-team All-WAC last season. He had started 27 consecutive games before the injury. He finished second on the team in tackles last season with 86, missing his third consecutive 100-tackle season. He ranks third on the Fresno State career tackle chart. He was a consensus preseason All-WAC selection and called the WAC's Most Underrated Player by The Sporting News. Information on Skipper can be found on www.gobulldogs.com.
Fresno State Career Tackle Leaders 1. Omar Stoutmire (1993-96) 458 2. A.J. Gass (1993-97) 325 3. Tim Skipper (1997-) 317Who's Watching
Ohio Stadium's record attendance total of 96,583 was the most fans ever to watch a Fresno State game. For the second consecutive week, the Bulldogs played in a stadium with a capacity over 90,000 at the Rose Bowl, capacity 94,000. The attendance at the UCLA game was 45,605 for a two-game attendance total of 142,188, the highest total for consecutive Fresno State games in history.
Huff Holding His Own
Senior outside linebacker Orlando Huff has been simply dominating through the first two games. Against Ohio State in the season opener, Huff was all over the field, finishing with a game-high 12 tackles, including two for a loss and a fumble recovery, which he returned 46 yards deep into OSU territory. A Butkus Award candidate, Huff backed that performance up with an equally impressive 10-tackle, two-sack performance which saw him manhandle Bruins offensive lineman on several occasions. So far this season, the 1999 first-team All-WAC honoree has 22 tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one pass deflection.
No Holding Harper
Junior defensive tackle Alan Harper (Fontana, Calif.) was a one man wrecking crew during his sophomore season, earning first-team All-WAC honors, making him the youngest player selected. Harper, who as the potential to become the best defensive lineman in school history, was Fresno State's nominee for WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording 15 tackles for losses, second-most in school history and second-most in the WAC. He is a consensus preseason All-WAC selection and was rated the 20th best defensive tackle in the nation by The Sporting News, one of seven underclassmen honored. Harper has three tackles for losses in his first two games of the season.
Senior left tackle Kevin Jordan (Los Angeles, Calif.) should be one of the WAC's best this season. Jordan, who started 12 games at right tackle last season, switched to left tackle to protect David Carr's blind side this season. Jordan, a defensive tackle in his first two years in the program, is a good athlete who ran a 4.7 40-yard dash as a defensive lineman. He currently runs just under 5.0 seconds. Jordan is very strong, bench pressing 405 pounds. He allowed just one quarterback sack last season in over 340 pass plays. Jordan has not allowed a sack this season. He suffered a hand injury against UCLA and his status will be determined later this week.
Despite their diminutive stature, the duo of Charles Smith and Rodney Wright could be the most explosive receiving combo in the nation this season. With his five catches for 96 yards, Smith moved up on the career receiving yardage and receptions list. His two touchdowns catches matched a career high. He is averaging 22.1 yards per catch in the first two games. They are also Fresno State's top two return specialists and rank in Fresno State's career top 10 list for receptions and yards.
Dynamic Duo Rec Yards Avg TD Charles Smith 105 1,429 13.6 12 Rodney Wright 93 1,270 13.7 9 -------------------------------------------------- Totals 198 2,699 13.6 21Extra Points
Fresno State Career Receptions Rec Yards Avg TD 5. Jaime Kimbrough (1995-98) 116 1,092 9.4 6 6. Charles Smith (1998-) 105 1,429 13.6 12 7. John Sexton (1968-70) 102 1,434 14.1 15 8. Tydus Wynans (1991-93) 96 1,454 15.1 9 9. Rodney Wright (1998-) 93 1,270 13.7 9
Rec Yards Avg TD 6. John Sexton (1968-70) 102 1,434 14.1 15 7. Charles Smith (1998-) 105 1,429 13.6 12 8. Rodney Wright (1998-) 93 1,270 13.7 9
The Bulldogs had a hotly contested battle for the starting kicking job vacated by the graduation of All-WAC performer Jeff Hanna, a three-year starter and one of the most accurate in school history. Freshman Brett Visintainer and junior college transfer Asen Asparuhov kicked well in fall camp but Asparuhov won the place kicking duties despite never kicking in a real game in his life. He made a 25-yard field goal and a PAT in his first game of his career. He attempted a 44-yard field goal that was blocked. Visintainer handles the kickoff responsibilities. The punting duties are handled by transfer Jason Simpson, the only punter on the team.
Counting on Carr
In just his second career start vs. UCLA, David Carr showed signs of brilliance. While spending most of the day avoiding the rush, Carr was more comfortable in the pocket and did not force throws like he did in the season opener vs. Ohio State, in which threw four interceptions. Against the Bruins, Carr completed 20 of 33 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns. He did not throw an interception. Carr, who has played in just 13 games in his three-year career, redshirted last season and worked with the Bulldog scout teams, earning the scout team MVP award given by the coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said the best quarterback the Bulldog defense faced last season was Carr. In addition, Carr spend the entire season in the coaching booth on a headset with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig learning more about the offense. Before this season, Carr had completed 27-52 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions in his career. Carr could be the best all-around athlete to play quarterback for the 'Dogs ever. He bench presses 390 pounds, power cleans 300 pounds and squats 500 pounds. At 6-3, 225 pounds, he runs a 4.67 40-yard dash.
CARR BY THE NUMBERS Year G-GS Att Comp Int Yds Pct TD LG 1997 4-0 11 5 1 53 .455 0 19 1998 7-0 41 22 1 228 .537 1 26 1999 2-2 77 46 4 487 .597 3 50 Totals 13-2 129 73 6 768 .566 4 50Ward Watch
After a spectacular freshman season, running back Derrick Ward (Moreno Valley, Calif.) found himself off the team. Ward rushed for a freshman record 875 yards, averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and a team-best seven touchdowns. He was selected a freshman All-American. In February, Ward was dismissed from the team by head coach Pat Hill. Ward rejoined the team following spring ball and has been impressive in fall camp. Last season, he showed big-play capability, scoring on runs of 86 yards vs. Nevada, the fourth-longest in Fresno State history, and 75 yards vs. Colorado State, the seventh-longest. He also blocked two punts that were returned for touchdowns. Ward set a freshman single game rushing record with 176 yards vs. Nevada. Over the last five games, Ward has rushed for more than 50 yards in a game once, with 51 yards in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl. He opened the season with 33 yards on 11 carries against Ohio State. He did have three receptions for 49 yards including a 27-yarder on a screen pass. It was the first reception of his career. Ward, who was nursing a sprained ankle, did not have a carry against UCLA.
An area that was racked with injuries last season was the offensive line. Despite the injuries, the 'Dogs patched together a unit that allowed a school record low 13 quarterback sacks. Each of the five starters this year have started games at various times in their careers and the top six linemen have a combined 62 starts in their careers. Of the starters, Russ Harding missed the entire 1999 season with an injury. Ahmad Bhatti and Joe Schey each started the first three games of last season before injuries sidelined them.
Projected Starting Offensive Line (# of career starts)
Several first-year players are contributed in the season opener. Here's a look at some of the first-year players who made an impact this season.
'Dog Bones (Team)
'Dog Bones (Individual)
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