No. 23/21 Fresno State remains on the road for the second-straight game, traveling to Idaho Saturday for its final non-conference game of the season ... kickoff from the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho is set for 2 p.m. PT ... the Bulldog Sports Network will be televising the game locally in Fresno on KSEE 24 with the broadcast team of Bob Akamian (play-by-play) and Randy Rosenbloom (analyst) ... fans can 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 have won nine-straight over the Vandals, including a 48-24 win at Idaho on Sept. 24, 2011 ... Fresno State climbed two spots this week in the national polls, rising to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll ... the Bulldogs are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2001 ... Fresno State ranks 12th nationally in scoring at 44.0 points per game and the 'Dogs have scored 40 or more points in nine out of their last 10 games ... quarterback Derek Carr ranks second nationally in passing with 361.2 yards per game and is tied for third with 14 touchdown passes despite playing in one fewer game than the two players ranked ahead of him ... the Bulldogs have forced a turnover in 17-straight games ... L.J. Jones was named the national defensive back of the week by the College Football Performance Awards after intercepting two passes in the win over Hawai'i, including one that he returned 56 yards for a touchdown.
Junior wide receiver Josh Harper has caught two TD passes in 3-of-4 games this year and is tied for fifth nationally in touchdown receptions with six.
Fresno State is coming off a game at Hawai'i in which it recorded seven sacks - its most since the 2010 season opener.
Heisman Trophy Candidate Derek Carr
Fresno State Athletics has launched its website DC4Heisman.com to promote the Bulldogs' Heisman Trophy candidate, Derek Carr. Carr is one of the nation's top quarterbacks and ranks second nationally with 361.2 passing yards per game and he is tied for third nationally with 14 touchdown passes despite playing in one less game than the two players ranked ahead of him. He leads all active players by having thrown for a touchdown in 24-straight games and he has nine career games with four or more touchdown passes, which ranks second nationally.
Moving Up In The Polls
The Bulldogs climbed up two spots in both major polls, rising to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 23 in the Associated Press Poll. The last time Fresno State was inside the top 20 was on Nov. 20, 2005 when the 'Dogs were No. 16 in both polls.
Fresno State vs. Idaho - The Series
The Last Meeting
September 24, 2011
Carr's Five TDs Lead `Dogs Past UI
Derek Carr threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Fresno State football team to a 48-24 victory over Idaho in the WAC opener on Saturday at the Kibbie Dome.
With a nine-game winning streak over the Vandals, Fresno State leads the all-time series with Idaho 10-4. The series first started in 1946 with a 13-12 Bulldog victory over the Vandals in Fresno. Idaho proceeded to win the next four games - from 1956 to 1967 - in the series before Fresno State's current winning streak started in 1978. Idaho joined the WAC in 2005 and over the next seven seasons Fresno State won the league games by an average of 18.1 points. The Bulldogs are 5-2 all-time when playing at Idaho. The last time the two schools met was on Sept. 24, 2011 and Derek Carr threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns in the 48-24 win. It was the first of 13 300-yard passing games in his career and the first of four games in his career with five touchdown passes.
Idaho is coming off its first win of the year and enters this weekend's game with a 1-4 record. The Vandals defeated Temple 26-24 at home on Sept. 28 in a game where they racked up 478 yards of offense, 310 of which came through the air. The Vandals opened the year with four-straight losses, which included a 42-10 defeat at Wyoming on Sept. 7. Idaho averages 15.4 points per game and allows 38.6 points and 498 yards on defense. Quarterback Chad Chalich is completing 65 percent of his passes and throws for 222.2 yards per game. The Vandals average 144 yards per game on the ground, with Chalich being the team's leading rusher. Last season, Idaho ranked dead last in the bowl subdivision with 39 turnovers and in five games this year the Vandals have turned the ball over 10 times, nine on lost fumbles. Defensively, Idaho has recorded eight sacks this year and forced nine turnovers - five fumble recoveries and four interceptions.
After recording a season-high seven sacks in last week's win at Hawai'i, the Bulldogs now have 13 sacks in four games and are tied for 10th in the FBS with 3.25 sacks per game. The seven sacks last game by the Bulldogs are the most in their last 41 games. The last time Fresno State had more than seven sacks in a game was in the 2010 season opener against Cincinnati when the 'Dogs recorded eight sacks for a loss of 64 yards. Also, those seven sacks vs. Hawai'i tied for the second-most in a game this year by any bowl subdivision team. Only Northern Illinois has more, as the Huskies recorded nine sacks at Idaho on Sept. 14. Idaho has allowed 28 sacks in five games this season.
In addition to all the sacks, Fresno State is tied for fifth nationally with 9.0 tackles for a loss per game. The Bulldogs have 36 total tackles for a loss this season and have 17 different players that have recorded a stop behind the line of scrimmage. Among those 17 players, nine of them have two or more tackles for a loss.
Sophomore linebacker Ejiro Ederaine continues to make his steady climb as a playmaker for the Bulldog defense. Last week at Hawai'i, he recorded two sacks for the second-straight game and finished with four tackles and a pass breakup. Ederaine made his first career start in the contest and through four games, he leads the team in sacks with four and tackles for a loss with 5.5. He is second in the Mountain West in sacks and fifth in the league in tackles for a loss.
Fresno State is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since the 2001 season when the Bulldogs opened up the year by winning its first six games. This is the 17th time in school history that the Bulldogs have opened a season with four-straight wins and in the 10 previous times (since 1950) the 'Dogs started 4-0, they finished the season with an average of nine wins per year. Fresno State has an opportunity to improve to 5-0 this weekend, which would be the 15th time in school history that the Bulldogs opened a year with five wins.
Fresno State and Northern Illinois are the only remaining undefeated non-AQ teams left in the FBS. The Huskies are 4-0 with wins over Iowa, Idaho, Eastern Illinois and Purdue. NIU hosts Kent State this Saturday. NIU is not ranked in the AP Poll, but entered in the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 23 this week, two spots behind the Bulldogs.
Jones Gives Bulldogs First Defensive Touchdown
Senior cornerback L.J. Jones returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of last week's win at Hawai'i. It was his first career pick-six and marked the first defensive touchdown of the season for the Bulldogs. Last season when Fresno State ranked fifth nationally with 35 turnovers gained, the Bulldogs scored eight defensive touchdowns and that was the second-most in the FBS in 2012. Jones was named the national defensive back of the week by the College Football Performance Awards for his game against the Rainbow Warriors.
Jones, who has made 32 consecutive starts for the 'Dogs, has played two of the best games of his career over the past two weeks. On Sept. 20 in the win over Boise State, he recorded a career-high 11 tackles, one tackle for a loss, returned a fumble 13 yards and had four pass breakups. Then in the Hawai'i game, he picked off two passes - his other pick being on the last play of the game to preserve the 42-37 victory. It marked the first time in his career that he intercepted two passes in a game. Jones has 26 tackles on the season, 3.0 tackles for a loss and he is tied for the Mountain West lead in passes defended with seven (five pass breakups and two interceptions).
Turnover Streak Reaches 17
Thanks to Jones' two interceptions, Fresno State's streak of consecutive games forcing a turnover reached 17-straight games. The Bulldogs have recorded at least one take-away in every game of the Tim DeRuyter era and have 42 total turnovers gained in that time (2.5 per game). Fresno State has seven take-aways on the season - four interceptions and three fumbles recovered.
Surviving A Barrage of Turnovers
On the other side of the turnover game, the Bulldogs turned the ball over five times last week against Hawai'i and were still able to come away with the win. The last time Fresno State had five turnovers in a game was back on Nov. 14, 2008 in a 52-14 loss at Nevada. In the last five-plus years, Fresno State has had eight games now where it has turned the ball over four or more times and the 'Dogs are 3-5 in those games. Fresno State has turned the ball over nine times total this season - six times on lost fumbles and three times on interceptions thrown.
Harper Continues to Catch Touchdowns
Junior wide receiver Josh Harper caught two touchdown passes in last week's win at Hawai'i. He now has caught two TDs in three of the four games this season and his six total touchdown receptions are tied for the fifth-most in the country and tied for the second-most in the Mountain West with Wyoming's Dominic Rufran. UNLV's Devante Davis is second nationally with eight touchdown receptions. Last week, Harper caught nine passes and set a new career-high with 123 yards receiving. It was his third career 100-yard receiving game. His first TD was a 30-yard score on Fresno State's first drive of the game and his second was a nine-yard reception in the back of the end zone early in the third quarter.
Harper has always been one to find the end zone. For his career, he now has caught 87 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns in 20 games played. He is tied for ninth in school history with Jalen Saunders (2010-11), Brian Roberson (1993-96) and John Sexton (1968-70) for touchdown receptions by a Bulldog.
Adams' Streak Comes To An End
Davante Adams saw his streak of 11 consecutive games catching a touchdown pass come to an end last weekend. His streak was the longest active streak in the nation at the time and still stands as the school and Mountain West record for consecutive games with a touchdown catch. Adams finished the Hawai'i game with five catches for 22 yards, which is his lowest receiving output in terms of yardage in his career. Despite the down game, Adams continues to lead the Mountain West in receptions per game with nine and he is tied for fourth with four TD catches. He ranks third nationally with the nine catches per game.
Fresno State's Magic Number
The Bulldogs are a perfect 12-0 under head coach Tim DeRuyter when scoring 30 or more points in a game. Since DeRuyter and offensive coordinator Dave Schramm took over in 2012, there have only been five games where the 'Dogs did not score 30 points and they are 1-4 in those games when they do not. Over the past 10 seasons, and including the four games from this year, Fresno State owns a 57-14 record when scoring 30 or more points. That's a winning percentage of 80.3 percent when scored 30 or more points in a game.
Fresno State has scored 40 or more points in nine out of its last 10 games and the Bulldogs lead the Mountain West and rank 12th nationally in scoring at 44.0 points per game. Fresno State is averaging 489.8 yards of offense through four games this season and 480.4 in 17 games under offensive coordinator Dave Schramm.
Carr Ties for Another School Record
With 324 yards passing against Hawai'i last week, Derek Carr tied his brother David for the most 300-yard passing games in school history. It was his 13th career 300 yard game and his third game this season passing for over 300 yards. It is the 13th school record that he either owns or is tied for. Carr came close to setting another record last week, although this one was a Mountain West record. He had 180 consecutive pass attempts without an interception before he was picked off on a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage late in the third quarter. He was just three attempts shy of tying the MW record set this year by Wyoming's Brett Smith at 183 consecutive attempts without an interception.
Carr continues to inch closer on several other of the major passing records at Fresno State. He needs 1,604 passing yards to break the all-time passing record that has stood since 1986, eight more TDs to set a new record for most touchdowns tossed in a career, 70 more completions and 224 more attempts for the most in school history. His nine games with four or more TD passes is the most in school history and the second most in the nation behind Georgia's Aaron Murray.
Strong Linebacker Play
Fresno State has been getting strong play from its young linebacking crew. Ejiro Ederaine has had two sacks in each of the past two games. Karl Mickelsen had 16 tackles two week's ago against Boise State, which tied for the most by a Bulldog in the last dozen years. This past week against Hawai'i, sophomore inside linebacker Kyrie Wilson set a new career-high with 11 tackles and he had one pass breakup in the win. His game marked the 84th time since 2002 that a Bulldog had posted 10 or more tackles in a game and the third time it has happened this season (Mickelsen and then L.J. Jones also against Boise State are the other two). Mickelsen with 38 tackles and Wilson with 29 are the teams' top-two leading tacklers on the season.
Lewis Joins In On The Sack Party
Junior linebacker Donavon Lewis recorded his first two sacks of the season last week against Hawai'i and his plays resulted in a loss of 20 yards. It marked his first career two-sack game and gave him 8.5 sacks total in his career. Lewis is Fresno State's active leader in career sacks and is followed by senior defensive end Andy Jennings, who has six career sacks.
Protecting the QB
In addition to leading the conference in sacks on defense, the Fresno State offensive line is the top team protecting the quarterback. Fresno State has only allowed three sacks through four games this year, which is all more impressive in the fact that the Bulldogs have thrown the ball 214 times. The Bulldogs are tied for sixth nationally in sacks allowed at 0.75 per game. Leading the offensive line is Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award candidate Austin Wentworth, the Bulldogs' left tackle who has made 34 career starts, including 32 consecutive.
Success On the Ground
Fresno State rushed for 206 yards and three rushing touchdowns last week against Hawai'i, which is by far its greatest output on the ground this year. The previous high was 162 yards on Sept. 7 against Cal Poly. Fresno State averaged 4.6 yards per rush in the Hawai'i game compared to 4.1 vs. the Mustangs in week two.
Still using a running back by committee approach, Josh Quezada and Marteze Waller both produced results last weekend. Quezada rushed for 78 yards on 13 attempts, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Waller had 22 carries for 95 yards and scored two touchdowns. He averaged 4.3 yards per run and had a 21-yard carry late in the first quarter. That was the first run of over 20 yards by a Bulldog running back this season. In addition to those two, Malique Micenheimer had four rushes for 22 yards with a long run of 14 yards. Quarterback Derek Carr had the third rushing touchdown in the game, his first of the season.
Strong On Third Downs
Fresno State limited Hawai'i to convert only 4-of-17 third-down attempts in last week's win. The Bulldogs are second in the league in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only 34.3 percent of their third-down tries (24-of-70). Utah State leads the league in that category, holding opponents to just 30.9 percent on third downs.
Fresno State has recorded a sack in 13-straight games. The 'Dogs have 53 total sacks in 17 games under head coach Tim DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth for an average of 3.1 per game.
The last time Fresno State played at Idaho in 2011, wide receiver Josh Harper caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. He recorded the longest reception of his career in that game, a 49-yard catch.
Sophomore wide receiver Aaron Peck caught three passes for 53 yards vs. Hawai'i last week. They were the first three catches of his career. His longest reception was a 35-yarder on his second catch of the game, which came in the third quarter.
Fresno State is tied for the nation's seventh-longest home winning streak at nine. That is tied with Utah State for the longest among all non-AQ schools. The Aggies host BYU on Friday as they look to keep their streak alive.
Fresno State features three of the top five players ranked in the Mountain West in receptions per game. Davante Adams is first with 9.0 (which ranks third nationally). Isaiah Burse is second at 7.25 (ranks 16th nationally) and Josh Harper is tied for fourth at 7.0 (20th in the FBS).
Sophomore kick returner Dillon Root is averaging 24.5 yards per kickoff return, which ranks fourth in the Mountain West. Although it is only four games into the season, that is the best return average since A.J. Jefferson back in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, Jefferson led the nation by averaging 35.8 yards on 26 kickoff returns with two touchdowns. He set the school record that season for best kickoff return average. In 2008, Jefferson ranked fourth nationally with an average of 29.3 yards on 31 returns with one touchdown. His 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Nevada on Nov. 7, 2008 is the last time a Bulldog has returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Three of Fresno State's four wins (vs. Rutgers, Boise State and Hawai'i) have been by a total of seven points. The 'Dogs own one-point victories over Rutgers and Boise State and a five-point win over Hawai'i. Last season there was not one game decided by five points or less. In 2011, the Bulldogs were 2-2 in games decided by five points or less.