Football Takes on California
    Safety Devon Banks had a career-high eight tackles in FS's narrow loss at UCLA on Sept. 9.
    Safety Devon Banks had a career-high eight tackles in FS's narrow loss at UCLA on Sept. 9.

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    Sept. 17, 2000

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    Fresno State vs. California
    Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
    Time: 7:15 p.m.
    Location: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
    National TV: Fox Sports Net (Barry Tompkins, Trevor Matich)
    Radio: KMJ (AM 580) (Bill Woodward, Jon Anabo, Ron Shapley)
    Satellite Coordinates: TBA
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    This Week
    The Bulldogs play their home opener on Sept. 23 vs. California of the Pacific-10 Conference.

    Last Time Out
    For the second consecutive week, the Bulldogs played a nationally ranked opponent, No. 16 UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 9. 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. While Fresno State had last weekend off, the Bears lost at No. 21 Illinois 17-15.

    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).

    Home Sweet Home
    This week, the 'Dogs play their first home game of 2000, where they are 14-3 under Pat Hill.

    Home Openers
    Fresno State is 59-15-4 all-time in home opening games, including wins in 14 of its last 16 home openers. The Bulldogs are 9-1-1 in games when the home opener is the third game of the season. The only loss was in 1998, when Nevada won 27-24. Fresno State is 2-1 vs. the Pac-10 in home opening games and 2-1 under Pat Hill in home openers.

    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).

    Got Tickets?
    Fresno State has already broken its single season ticket sales record of 28,375, set in 1998. As of Monday, the season ticket sales were approaching 29,000. In addition, Bulldog Stadium is expected to reach capacity for the first time since Oct. 8, 1994, the last sellout of 41,031, a 32-30 loss to BYU. The best remaining seats for the Cal game can be purchased as part of a season ticket package. Tickets are available by calling (559) 278-DOGS or at www.gobulldogs.com.

    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 three schools have better records than the Bulldogs during that time.

    Best in the West (last 20 games)
    1. Air Force         14-6
    2. Arizona           13-7
       Oregon            13-7
    3. Fresno State      12-8
       Colorado State    12-8
       Utah              12-8
    
    WAC Coaching Leader
    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         20-12 (5)  .625    32-28 (22)     .533
    Dennis Franchione, TCU     10-6 (3)   .600    31-33 (10)     .484
    Mike Cavan, SMU            12-11 (3)  .522    12-11 (3)      .522
    Dave Baldwin, San Jose St. 8-14 (3)   .364    8-14 (3)       .364
    
    In 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 ... the Bulldogs have won 10 consecutive homes games with the last loss coming to Nevada 27-24 on Sept. 26, 1998.

    Who'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.

    All-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.

    Close, but...
    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       62
    
    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    50
    
    Little Big Man
    Senior middle linebacker Tim Skipper 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 may be found at www.gobulldogs.com

    Skipper's Slate
  • Fresno State record 17 tackles for a loss in 1998
  • First-team All-WAC in 1998
  • Second-team All-WAC in 1999
  • Third on Fresno State's career tackle list with 306 tackles
  • WAC's Most Underrated Player by The Sporting News
  • No. 10 on Fresno State list for most tackles in a single season with 117 in 1998
  • Ninth in the WAC in tackles in 1999, 8.1 per game
  • Career-high 17 tackles vs. Baylor in 1997
  • Has 12 games of double-digit tackles in his career
    Fresno State Career Tackle Leaders
    1. Omar Stoutmire (1993-96)    458
    2. A.J. Gass (1993-97)         325
    3. Tim Skipper (1997-)         317
    
    "O"-Mazing
    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 player 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 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.

    The Bodyguard
    Senior left tackle Kevin Jordan 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 and none this season.

    Smurfs
    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   21
    
    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
    Fresno State Career Receiving Yards 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
    Ward 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. He did not have a carry against UCLA.

    Welcome Back
    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 have started games at various times in their careers and the top six linemen have a combined 62 starts in their careers. 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)

  • RT -- Kevin Jordan (14)
  • RG -- Russ Harding (4)
  • C -- Rodney Michael (12)
  • LG - Mike Stovall (18)
  • LT - Ahmad Bhatti (10), Joe Schey (4)

    Young Pups
    Here's a look at some of the first-year players who have made an impact this season.

  • Redshirt freshman Marc Dailey has seven tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack.
  • Transfer Asen Asparuhov kicked a 25-yard field goal vs. Ohio State and is 3-3 in PATs.
  • Sophomore Jason Simpson, a transfer, averages 36.1 yards per punt.
  • Freshmen Fitu Tu'ua and Antonio Sanchez have each played on the offensive line.
  • Redshirt freshman tight end Jeremy Johnson has seven receptions for 72 yards.
  • Redshirt freshman tight end Alec Greco has a touchdown reception.

    Extra Points
    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. Visintainer handles the kickoff responsibilities.

    'Dog Bones (Team)
  • FS is 14-3 under Pat Hill at home, including 10 consecutive games and 11 of its last 12.
  • FS is 11-1 in its last 12 WAC home games.
  • The 'Dogs allowed a school record-low 13 quarterback sacks in 1999.
  • FS outgained its opponents in punt return yardage 323-71 in 1999.
  • FS had17 more sacks than its opponents over the last two seasons season 31-14.
  • FS has three more sacks than its opponents this season 6-3.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging just 2.6 punts per game over the last five games.
  • The 'Dogs held NCAA rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU to a season-low 49 yards on 20 carries in 1999.
  • FS has thrown 36 touchdowns and only seven interceptions over the last two years.
  • FS had three interception returns for touchdowns last season, the same number of total interceptions by the opponents.
  • The Bulldogs have not been shutout in the last 122 home games dating back to Oct. 25, 1980, vs. Utah State (14-0). Fresno State has scored in 146 of the last 147 home games.
  • FS was 6-1 last seaon when rushing for more than 140 yards in game. The lone loss was at Hawai'i.
  • FS was 6-0 last season when throwing more touchdowns than its opponents.
  • FS is 14-3 under Pat Hill when the 'Dogs throw more touchdown passes than their opponents.
  • FS is 14-5 under Pat Hill when the 'Dogs have less turnovers than their opponents.
  • FS has outscored its opponents 569-375 over the last 19 games (29.9 - 19.7 per game average).
  • The 'Dogs have led the WAC in scoring in three of the last eight years, including a nation's best 40.5 average in 1992.
  • FS has produced two quarterbacks (Trent Dilfer and Billy Volek) who set NCAA records in the last seven years. Both are in the NFL, Dilfer with the Baltimore Ravens and Volek with the Tennessee Titans.
  • FS has produced a first-team All-WAC punter (Jeff Roberts, 1998) and kicker (Jeff Hanna, 1999) since the 1998 season.
  • FS leads the NCAA in punt returns with an average of 38.0 yards per return.

    'Dog Bones (Individual)
  • Cornerback Marcellus Armstrong was a running back in 1999 who averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.
  • Safety Devon Banks had a career-high eight tackles in his first career start vs. UCLA.
  • Right tackle Ahmad Bhatti held UCLA All-American Kenyon Coleman to three tackles,no tackles for losses or quarterback sacks.
  • Safety Terence Brown blocked four kicks (three field goals and one PAT) in 1999.
  • Brown was named MVP of the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl with two blocked kicks.
  • Quarterback David Carr ranks seventh in the NCAA in pass completions (26.0/game)and 36th in total offense (235.0/game).
  • Carr threw for a career-high 238 yards, completing 26-44 passes vs. Ohio State.
  • Cornerback and special teams captain Lawrence Deck had a career-high nine tackles vs. Utah in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl. He missed the season opener vs. Ohio State with a concussion.
  • Deck in an honor student who will graduate in December with a degree in kinesiology.
  • Strong safety Vernon Fox has at least one tackle in 22 consecutive games.
  • Vernon Fox led the team with 103 tackles in 1999.
  • Running back Paris Gaines suffered a torn ligament in his right knee in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl. He needs 31 yards for 1,000 in his career.
  • Defensive tackle Alan Harper has at least one tackle in 23 straight games, the longest streak on the Fresno State defense.
  • Harper ranked second in the WAC in 1999 in tackles for a loss with 15 for 47 yards. He has three for minus five yards the first two games.
  • Linebacker Orlando Huff has double-figures tackles in each of the first two games vs. Ohio State and UCLA. He leads the Bulldogs in tackles for losses (4-23) and sacks (3-19).
  • Left tackle Kevin Jordan allowed just one quarterback sack in over 340 pass plays in 1999 at right tackle. He has not allowed a sack through the first two games this season.
  • Running back Josh Levi's last carry was a school record 94-yard touchdown vs. San Jose State.
  • Free safety Anthony Limbrick was rated as the ninth-best safety in the nation by Lindy's.
  • Limbrick broke his right thumb vs. Ohio State and had surgery on Monday. He is out indefinitely.
  • Nose tackle Thabiti Lockhart was second-team preseason All-WAC by The Sporting News.
  • Cornerback Dante Marsh tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 1999 and has four in his career.
  • Center Rodney Michael was named second-team preseason All-WAC by Lindy's.
  • After the injury to Akka-Ar Moses, FS fullbacks only had three carries in the last eight games. Moses had 30 carries before the season-ending injury. He likely will miss this season.
  • Cornerback Tierre Sams ran a 10.46 100 meters in high school, which was the fastest time by a high school athlete that year for a brief time.
  • Walk-on fullback Luke Slevkoff won the starting job after fall camp.
  • Receiver Charles Smith has caught at least one pass in 25 consecutive games.
  • Smith has six touchdown receptions in the last six games.
  • Defensive end Jason Stewart spent last season as a back-up to All-WAC tackle Alan Harper.
  • Junior guard Mike Stovall has started 18 games on the offensive line, more than any current player.
  • Running Back Derrick Ward averages 35.7 yards per touchdown run in his career.
  • Receiver Rodney Wright has caught at least four passes in the last 11 games.
  • Wright's last two touchdown receptions were from 83 and 65 yards.

     

     

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