A week after pulling off a thrilling comeback victory at Rice, the Bulldogs host the Wolf Pack in the WAC home opener.
Oct. 9, 2000
Fresno State vs. Nevada
: Saturday, Oct. 14
: 7 p.m. PDT
: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
: KMJ (AM 580) (Bill Woodward, Jon Anabo, Ron Shapley)
Fresno State plays its WAC home opener against the league's newest member, the University of Nevada. It is Homecoming on the Fresno State campus this week. The 'Dogs are looking for their 100th win in Bulldog Stadium, where they own a record of 99-24-2 since it opened in 1980.
The Bulldogs scored 11 points in the final 1:58 to open WAC play with a 27-24 win at Rice. It was just the second win in 14 games in the state of Texas for the Bulldogs. Asen Asparuhov's career-long 43-yard field goal with five seconds remaining was the difference. The Wolf Pack lost to intrastate rival UNLV 38-7 at Las Vegas.
All-Time vs. Nevada
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 17-12-1 but have lost three of the last five games, including the last two games played at Fresno. Nevada, the last team to defeat the Bulldogs on Jim Sweeney Field, won 27-24 on Sept. 26, 1998, in the last meeting in Bulldog Stadium. The Wolf Pack also beat the Bulldogs 62-35 at Bulldog Stadium in 1994. Fresno State has a 10-5 lead in games played at Fresno since the series began in 1923.
Last Time vs. Nevada
(Reno, Nev. - Sept. 25, 1999) Derrick Ward rushed for a then freshman record 176 yards and two touchdowns and Billy Volek threw three touchdown passes to lead the Bulldogs to a 49-23 win over the Wolf Pack. Ward scored on runs of 86 and 2 yards and also blocked a punt that resulted in another touchdown. The Bulldogs led 20-0 after the first quarter and were ahead 27-6 at halftime. Fresno State outgained the Wolf Pack 574-460. David Neill had a good game for Nevada, completing 26-of-42 passes for 376 yards and threw for one score and ran for another.
Fresno State has many promotional activities scheduled for the upcoming games. The Tulsa game on Oct. 28 will be Youth Football Day at Bulldog Stadium. Teams associated with players from eighth grade and under can purchase tickets for $8 per person. The ticket includes a tailgate meal and the game. The first 1,500 participants receive a full meal. Reservations must be received by Oct. 15. Also upcoming is a PT Cruiser giveaway, sponsored by the Pacific Yellow Pages. Participating campuses are Fresno State, Northwestern, Kansas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Texas Tech and Michigan State. Entry cards may be filled out starting Saturday at the Nevada game.
Home Sweet Home
The Bulldogs have won 11 consecutive home games, with their last loss coming at the hands of Nevada in 1998. Since the 1997 season, Pat Hill's first as head coach, Fresno State is 15-3 at Bulldog Stadium and have outscored their opponents by a combined 603-293, for a margin of victory of 34-16. In addition, the 'Dogs are drawing well, averaging 36,488 fans per game since 1997. This season, the Bulldogs shattered their single-season ticket sales record with 30,400, more then 2,000 over the previous record. The Bulldogs had the largest crowd in school history in the opener against Cal with 42,285 fans.
Best in the West
Fresno State has been one of hottest teams in the West, having won 14 of its last 22 games. Of the Division I-A schools located in the Mountain, Pacific and Hawaiian time zones, only two schools have better records than the Bulldogs during that time.
Best in the West (last 21 games)
1. Air Force 15-7
3. Oregon 14-8
Fresno State 14-8
Colorado State 14-8
WAC Coaching Leader
Pat Hill is the active WAC coaching leader in winning percentage with a record of 16-8 (.667). Here's how the other WAC coaches with one full year of experience rank.
Coach WAC Record Pct Overall Record Pct
Dennis Franchione, TCU 11-6 (3) .647 32-33 (10) .492
Ken Hatfield, Rice 20-14 (5) .588 32-30 (22) .516
June Jones, Hawai'I 5-5 (1) .500 5-5 (1) .500
Mike Cavan, SMU 12-12 (3) .500 12-12 (3) .500
Dave Baldwin, San Jose St. 10-14 (3) .417 10-14 (3) .417
Over the Hill
Under Pat Hill, the Bulldogs are 15-3 at home and 10-1 in WAC home games with eight consecutive WAC wins. The only WAC team to win at Bulldog Stadium was San Diego State, 20-19 in 1997. His .833 home winning percentages is the best in Fresno State history of coaches with more than three years experience. His conference home winning percentage of .910 is also best in school history. The Bulldogs three home losses over the last four seasons combined to equal the number of home losses Fresno State suffered in 1996, the season before Hill took over as head coach.
In Case You Missed It
With its 27-24 victory over Rice on Thursday, Fresno State has now won four consecutive games after bye weeks dating to Oct. 5, 1996. . .Fresno State's win at Rice was just the second for the Bulldogs ever in the state of Texas, where they are 2-11-1 all-time. The 'Dogs have two more games in Texas this season, at WAC leading UTEP and No. 11 TCU. . .Fresno State is 2-0 on national television this season, beating Cal 17-3 and Rice 27-24. . .Fresno State set a single-game attendance record with 42,285 fans in the Cal game, surpassing the stadium capacity of 41,031. . .Charles Smith did not catch a pass vs. Rice, snapping a 26-game reception streak. . .running back Derrick Ward, Fresno State's 1999 leading rusher, has missed the last three games with an injury. He is expected back for the Nevada game. . .Devon Banks has 33 tackles in three games after replacing injured Anthony Limbrick as the starting free safety. He ranks eighth in the WAC average tackles per game with 8.2. .Tim Skipper has 12 tackles in each of his last two games. . .Fresno State has the No. 3-rated strength of schedule, according to the Sagarin Ratings. . .redshirt freshman Jeremy Johnson had the best day of his career with six receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns vs. Rice. His touchdown receptions were the first and second of his career. . .the Bulldogs got their first win of the season when turning the ball over more than the opponent vs. Rice. . .Paris Gaines surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his career against Rice. Gaines has 1,039 yards over the last three seasons. . .sophomore receiver Marque Davis will be lost of the year after undergoing abdominal surgery for a non-football related illness. . .junior David Shabaglian caught his first career touchdown, a 9-yard pass from David Carr, that led to the two-point conversion to forced a tie with Rice. He had career-highs with four receptions for 41 yards in the game.
Grounded 'Dogs The Bulldogs have not scored a rushing touchdown all season.
Despite rushing for a season-high 179 yards against Rice, the first 100-plus yardage game of the season, Fresno State has struggled establishing a consistent running game. The biggest obstacle has been personnel because 1999's top two rushers Derrick Ward and Paris Gaines have been hampered with knee injuries. Ward has missed the last three games while Gaines has played sparingly as he continues to rehabilitate from knee surgery. Because of the injuries, Fresno State has started a different running back in each of their games.
Fresno State is averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
Josh Levi leads the team in rushing with 112 yards.
FS has not had a 100-yard rusher in five consecutive games, the longest stretch since 1996.
Only receiver Rodney Wright averages more than 4.6 yards per carry. Last season, six players averaged more.
Derrick Ward and Paris Gaines have combined for 1,947 yards in their career. They have a combined for 32 carries through four games this season, averaging eight carries per game.
Little Big Man 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
WAC defensive player of the week (9/25/00) vs. California with 12 tackles, two for losses.
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 started 34 of 37 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. With his 12 tackle performance against Cal, moved into second place 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. Skipper is a nominee for both the Butkus Award and the Nagurski Award. Information on Skipper can be found on www.gobulldogs.com.
Fresno State Career Tackle Leaders
1. Omar Stoutmire (1993-96) 458
2. Tim Skipper (1997-) 341
3. A.J. Gass (1993-97) 325
Ya Gotta Love This Guy
Senior linebacker Tim Skipper was featured in the Oct. 2 edition of Sports Illustrated's college football section feature called "Ya Gotta Love This Guy."
Senior outside linebacker Orlando Huff has been simply dominating through the first four games. Huff ranks fifth in the nation with five quarterback sacks. 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. Through four games this season, the 1999 first-team All-WAC player has 38 tackles, five sacks, six tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, forced one fumble and two pass deflections. He ranks sixth in the WAC in tackles with an average of 8.5, is second in sacks and sixth in tackles for losses.
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 five tackles for losses in his first four games.
Counting on Carr
Junior David Carr continues to be spectacular each week. While he threw two interceptions last week, neither were his fault as they went through receivers hands. In addition to those two passes that were incomplete, Fresno State receivers dropped three other passes, including one that would have been a touchdown against the Owls. Carr, who has played in just 15 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
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
2000 4-4 149 88 7 1,032 .591 8 50
Totals 15-4 201 115 9 1,313 .572 9 50
Senior right tackle Kevin Jordan should be one of the WAC's best this season. Jordan, who started 12 games at right tackle last season, started the season at left tackle to protect David Carr's blind side, but moved back to right tackle before the Cal game to match-up against All-American Andre Carter. 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. He was outstanding through the first three quarters of the Cal game before leaving with cramps. Jordan held Carter to just two tackles.
Young Pups Redshirt freshman Marc Dailey has seven tackles, one tackle for a loss and one sack.
Here's a look at some of the first-year players who have made an impact this season.
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.
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. Transfer Asen Asparuhov won the place kicking duties despite never kicking in a real game in his life. Brett Visintainer handles the kickoff responsibilities. Asparuhov is perfect (8-8) in PATs and is 3-6 in field goals. He kicked his first game-winner vs. Rice, a 43-yarder with five seconds remaining to give Fresno State a 27-24 win.
Despite their diminutive stature, the duo of Charles Smith and Rodney Wright could be the most explosive receiving combo in the nation. Wright caught Fresno State's two-point conversion to tie the Rice game. Smith is leading the WAC in averages yards per reception, 21.8, the only player averaging from the 20 yards per catch. They are also Fresno State's top two return specialists and rank in Fresno State's career top 10 list for receptions and yards.
Rec Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Charles Smith 109 1,512 13.9 12 11 240 21.8 2
Rodney Wright 111 1,484 13.4 11 30 297 9.9 2
Totals 220 2,996 13.7 23 41 537 13.1 4
Fresno State Career Receptions
Rec Yards Avg TD
4. Henry Ellard (1979-82) 138 2,947 21.4 25
5. Jaime Kimbrough (1995-98) 116 1,092 9.4 6
6. Rodney Wright (1998-) 111 1,484 13.4 11
7. Charles Smith (1998-) 109 1,512 13.9 12
Fresno State Career Receiving Yards
Rec Yards Avg TD
5. Malcolm Seabron (1990-93) 90 1,874 20.8 18
6. Charles Smith (1998-) 109 1,512 13.9 12
7. Rodney Wright (1998-) 111 1,484 13.4 11
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. He had three receptions for 49 yards including a 27-yarder on a screen pass vs. Ohio State. It was the first reception of his career. He did not have a carry against UCLA and did not play against Cal or Rice due to a knee injury. He is expected to return against Nevada.
Blackshirts & Bad 'Dogs
Fresno State has a unique way of honoring strong defensive efforts during games. Every week after defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle reviews game film, he makes note of the Bulldogs players who thoroughly dominated their position during the game. These players then receive plain black shirts to wear during practice the following week. Players not receiving blackshirts wear their normal practice uniform. On rare occasions, the coaching staff will give a "Bad 'Dog" award, going to any player who gave an extraordinary effort. Only four "Bad 'Dog" awards have been given in four years and only one this season.
Game Blackshirt Players
at Ohio State........DE Jason Stewart, DT Alan Harper, DE Jake Probst
at UCLA..............DE Jason Stewart, DT Alan Harper, LB Tim Skipper,
LB Orlando Huff, SS Vernon Fox
vs. Cal..............LB Tim Skipper*, CB Dante Marsh, CB Marcellus Armstrong, SS Bryce
McGill, SS Vernon Fox, DE Jason Stewart, DT Alan Harper,
LB Orlando Huff
at Rice..............LB Tim Skipper, DT Alan Harper, SS Vernon Fox, CB Lawrence Deck,
DE Nick Burley
* Indicates Bad Dog Award
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.
'Dog Bones (Team)
FS is 15-3 under Pat Hill at home, including 11 consecutive wins and 11 victories in the last 12 games.
FS is 11-1 in its last 12 WAC home games.
The 'Dogs allowed a school record-low 13 quarterback sacks in 1999 and just five this season.
FS outgained its opponents in punt return yardage 323-71 in 1999.
FS had 20 more sacks than its opponents over the last two seasons season 36-16.
FS has eight more sacks than its opponents this season (13-5).
The 'Dogs held NCAA rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU to a season-low 49 yards on 20 carries in 1999.
FS has thrown 40 touchdowns and only 10 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 123 home games dating back to Oct. 25, 1980, vs. Utah State (14-0). Fresno State has scored in 147 of the last 148 home games.
FS was 6-1 last season when rushing for more than 140 yards in a game. The lone loss was at Hawai'i.
FS was 6-0 last season when throwing more touchdowns than its opponents.
FS is 16-3 under Pat Hill when the 'Dogs throw more touchdown passes than their opponents.
FS is 15-5 under Pat Hill when the 'Dogs have less turnovers than their opponents.
FS has outscored its opponents 613-402 over the last 21 games (29.1 - 19.1 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.
'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 14 tackles in his first career start vs. UCLA.
Right tackle Ahmad Bhatti held UCLA All-American Kenyon Coleman to just three tackles.
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 19th in total offense (259.3/game), which is tops in the WAC.
Carr threw for a career-high 325 yards, completing 24-of-41 passes, vs. Cal.
Cornerback and special teams captain Lawrence Deck had a career-high nine tackles vs. Utah in the EA Sports Las Vegas Bowl. He missed two of the first three games with a concussion.
Deck is an honor student who will graduate in December with a degree in kinesiology.
Strong safety Vernon Fox has at least one tackle in 24 consecutive games.
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 has 1,039 rushing yards in his career.
Defensive tackle Alan Harper has at least one tackle in 25 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 five for minus seven yards the first four games.
Linebacker Orlando Huff had double-figure tackles in each of the first two games vs. Ohio State and UCLA. He leads the 'Dogs in tackles for losses (6-36) and sacks (5-35).
Huff, a Butkus Award nominee, ranks second in the WAC and fifth in the NCAA in quarterback sacks with five.
Right 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 four games this season.
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 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 five in his career.
Center Rodney Michael was named second-team preseason All-WAC by Lindy's.
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.
Linebacker Tim Skipper was selected WAC Defensive Player of the Week (9-25-00) after getting 12 tackles and two tackles for losses in a 17-3 win over the Bears.
Receiver Charles Smith had caught at least one pass in 26 consecutive games before having that streak snapped against Rice. He suffered a sprained ankle and didn't play in the second half.
Smith has six touchdown receptions in the last eight games.
Defensive end Jason Stewart is Fresno State's fifth leading tackler with 22, including three for losses and two sacks.
Junior guard Mike Stovall has started 20 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 each of the last 13 games.
Wright ranks fourth in the NCAA in receptions (7.5) and 18th in all-purpose yardage (153.2).