No. 17 Fresno State returns home after nearly a month on the road to host UNLV on Homecoming at Bulldog Stadium this Saturday ... kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m. ... the Mountain West Network is carrying the game on Saturday with Rich Cellini (play-by-play) and Ted Sundquist (analyst) calling the game ... 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 ... in addition to it being Homecoming weekend at Fresno State, it is also the `Bring It Home' Football Alumni Weekend and all the former Bulldogs returning will form a tunnel for the team to run out onto the field prior to the start of the game ... Fresno State has won 10-straight regular season games and has scored over 40 points in all 10 of those victories ... the Bulldogs have climbed up to No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, their highest ranking since being No. 16 back in November of 2005 ... quarterback Derek Carr ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (372.8) and touchdown passes (19) ... Davante Adams and Josh Harper are both tied for fourth nationally with seven touchdown receptions each ... Fresno State has recorded 13 sacks in their last two games, which more than doubles its six that it had in the first three games of the season ... the Bulldogs rank No. 4 nationally in both sacks allowed and team sacks and rank No. 2 in the FBS with 9.8 tackles for loss per game.
Derek Carr needs three TD passes and 33 completions to break the respective all-time school career records. He also needs 376 passing yards for 10,000 in his career.
The Bulldogs have won seven-straight Mountain West games and are 9-1 all-time in MW play.
Fresno State's Oct. 26 game at San Diego State will be televised on ESPN2 and kickoff was set for 7:30 p.m. PT.
Moving Up In The Polls
The Bulldogs continue to climb up in the national polls, rising this week to No. 17 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. This is the first time Fresno State has been in the top 20 since being ranked No. 16 on Nov. 20, 2005. The Bulldogs have not been inside the top 15 since being ranked No. 8 in the AP poll after a 6-0 start to the 2001 season.
Fresno State vs. UNLV - The Series
The Last Meeting
October 25, 1997
Fresno State leads the all-time series over UNLV 11-4 with its last win coming against the Rebels in 1997 when the two schools were both in the WAC. The Bulldogs own a nine-game winning streak dating back to 1985. Saturday's match up between Fresno State and UNLV is the first as Mountain West foes since the Rebels left the WAC for the MW for the conference's inaugural year in 1999. Despite the 16-year gap of competition the Bulldogs and Rebels are no strangers to each other. The two schools have shared conference affiliation's in both the Big West and WAC, and now again in the MW. Fresno State will look to move to 7-2 all-time in home contests on Saturday night.
UNLV enters Saturday's game with a 4-2 record and has won its last four games. Last weekend at home, kicker Nolan Kohorst gave the Rebels a 39-37 victory over Hawai'i by booting a game-winning 44-yard field goal as time expired. UNLV, like the Bulldogs, is 2-0 in conference play and tied for first also with San Diego State atop the West Division standings. UNLV allows 36 points per game this season, but has the league's top pass defense that only allows 165.8 yards per game through the air. The Rebels also rank 10th in the FBS with a passing efficiency defense rating of 99.45. Offensively, UNLV is averaging 33.3 points per game and 447.2 yards of offense. The Rebels have turned the ball over eight times this year and have nine take-aways of their own. Running back Tim Cornett rushes for an average of 110 yards per game and has nine touchdowns on the year, helping the Rebels average 199.7 rushing yards per game this season.
Going for 10-Straight
Fresno State has won nine-straight games at Bulldog Stadium and every single home game in the Tim DeRuyter era. Fresno State is going for its 10-straight win at home Saturday against UNLV. The last time Fresno State won 10-straight games at home was when the `Dogs won 17-straight home games from 1998-2001. In these past nine home games the Bulldogs have averaged 47.4 points per game and 525.8 yards of offense while winning the nine games by an average margin of 23.1 points. As of all games through Oct. 12, Fresno State's nine-game home winning streak stood as the nation's seventh-longest active home winning streak.
Going for 11-Straight
Fresno State has won its last 10 regular-season games and has scored over 40 points in each of those 10 games, obviously not counting last seasons Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. In the past 10 regular season games, the Bulldogs have averaged 47.3 points per game and 526.7 yards per offense while forcing 26 turnovers. The average margin of victory in the last 10 regular season games has been 19.9 points. Looking at the final five games of the 2012 regular season, the Bulldogs forced 14 turnovers, averaged 47.2 points per game while holding opponents to 21.4 points and 331.6 yards of total offense. In the first five games of this season, Fresno State is averaging 47.4 points per game and 538 yards of offense while the defense has forced 12 turnovers. This current 10-game winning streak, counting regular season games only, is the longest since the Bulldogs won 16-straight regular season games over the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
Fresno State ranks No. 3 in the bowl subdivision by averaging 89.4 plays per game. Only Cal (91.7) and Texas Tech (89.8) are ahead of the Bulldogs in average plays per game. Fresno State ranks fifth nationally in scoring offense (47.4) and seventh nationally in total offense (538.0). The Bulldogs enter the game having scored 40 or more points in 10-straight regular season games, which have all been wins. In the Bulldogs' last outing two weeks ago at Idaho, the 'Dogs ran 101 plays for 731 yards of offense, which is the second-highest total in school history. The 101 plays are tied for the fifth-most in a game in the FBS this year. UNLV's 114 plays last week against Hawai'i is the nation's highest figure. The school record for plays in a game is 102 and the record for highest total offensive output is 757, which was done against New Mexico in 1991.
The 731 yards of offense that Fresno State had at Idaho is its most since registering 713 yards of offense in a 70-21 victory over Utah State on Dec. 1, 2001. In that game, David Carr tied the school record with six touchdown passes and he threw for 432 yards. In the Bulldogs' win at Idaho, Derek Carr threw for five TDs and 419 yards.
Fresno State's Magic Number
The Bulldogs are a perfect 13-0 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 58-14 record when scoring 30 or more points. That's a winning percentage of 80.6 percent when scored 30 or more points in a game.
Fresno State is seeking its first 6-0 start for the first time since the 2001 season. The Bulldogs reached as high as No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll in 2001 after starting the season 6-0. This is the 15th time in program history that the Bulldogs have opened a season with five-straight wins. Fresno State and Northern Illinois are the only remaining undefeated non-AQ teams left in the FBS. The Huskies are 6-0 and currently ranked No. 23 in both polls.
Streak Reaches 18
After forcing five turnovers in its last game at Idaho, Fresno State's streak of consecutive games forcing a turnover reached 18-straight games. The Bulldogs have recorded at least one take-away in every game of the Tim DeRuyter era and have 47 total turnovers gained in that time (2.6 per game). The Idaho game marked the second time under DeRuyter and his staff that the Bulldogs have had five takeaways in a game. Fresno State recovered one fumble and had four interceptions in the game. The four picks are the most by the Bulldogs since also picking off four passes in a win over Colorado last season. Fresno State is tied for 34th nationally with 12 turnovers gained on the season in just five games.
Back With A Vengeance
On Sept. 28 at Hawai'i, Davante Adams saw his nation-leading and school-record 11-game streak catching a touchdown pass come to an end when he only caught five passes for 22 yards in the win. It was his lowest career output in terms of receiving yardage. Adams came back the following week in the Idaho game with something to prove and he had a record day against the Vandals. He tied the school record with 16 receptions in the game that went for 185 yards and he set a new career-high with three touchdown catches. It was Adams' sixth career multi-touchdown game and his ninth career 100-yard receiving game. Adams now has five games in his career with 10 or more catches, which is two more than any other receiver in school history. Both Larry Willis (1983-84) and Rodney Wright (1998-01) had three games in their careers with 10 or more receptions. Adams was named the MW Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career for his performance.
For his career, Adams has 154 receptions for 1,808 yards and 21 touchdowns in 18 career games. He already ranks No. 5 in school history in touchdown catches, is No. 6 in receptions and is closing in on the top 10 for receiving yardage. Davante Adams currently leads all active players with a career average of 8.6 receptions per game, counting only players with a minimum of 125 career receptions.
After a sluggish start getting pressure on the opposing quarterback in the first two contests the `Dogs have been wreaking havoc since by averaging six sacks per contest in the past three games and now rank tied for No. 4 in the FBS with 3.8 sacks per game. The recent success, that includes 13 sacks in the last two games, has been led by outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine. Ederaine owns 4.0 sacks (T-26 in FBS) on the season and has earned himself a starting spot in the Bulldogs lineup in the process. In addition, 11 of his Bulldogs teammates have joined in on the party by registering at least one sack on the five-game old season while three (Nikko Motta, Dillon Root, Donovan Lewis) have registered at least two sacks.
Moving Up the Record Books
Fifth-year senior Derek Carr continues build his legacy at Fresno State by shattering multiple school records with the most recent becoming the all-time leader in 300-plus yard passing games at 14. Carr threw for 390 yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone at Idaho en route to a 61-14 win. Next up in Carr's sights is the all-time mark for most passing touchdowns in school history. Paul Pinegar leads with 84 career touchdown throws, but Carr sits just two behind at 82. Also in sight is the all-time mark in completions for a career. If recent history serves correct it won't be long until this one falls as he trails the all-leader, Pinegar, by 33 completions.
Protecting the QB
The Bulldogs have allowed just three sacks through five games this season and rank No. 4 in the FBS with .60 sacks allowed per game. The three sacks come while Fresno State has thrown 265 passes on the season and have only resulted in a total loss of seven yards. The offensive line was one of the question marks entering the year, but coach Cameron Norcross has his unit playing at the top of their game and the line has led the Bulldogs' offense that ranks fifth in the bowl subdivision in scoring and seventh in total offense.
In the five games this season, Fresno State has scored points on its first drive of the game every time with four of the five resulting in touchdowns. The Bulldogs have been great in the first quarter this season, outscoring opponents 69-20 and the 'Dogs are averaging 13.8 points in the first 15 minutes of the game. The Bulldogs have been even better in the second quarter, averaging 15.6 points. In all, Fresno State has outscored opponents 147-42 in the first half of games this year.
Smith Living Up to the Hype
Derron Smith, the Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, led Fresno State's defensive effort in the Bulldogs' 61-14 win at Idaho. Smith had five tackles, a sack and one interception. In addition to his one pick, he helped force another turnover in the third quarter. On a blitz, Smith was able to hit Vandal quarterback Chad Chalich when he was throwing, which caused the ball to pop up in the air and land in the hands of defensive end Nikko Motta for the interception. His sack in the second quarter resulted in a safety and gave the Bulldogs a 37-0. Smith and the Bulldog defense held Idaho without any points until the fourth quarter and the 'Dogs forced five turnovers and had six sacks in the game. Smith's pick was his third of the season and the 10th of his career.
Defensive Lineman with a Pick Bulldog senior defensive end Nikko Motta intercepted his first career pass in the win over Idaho two weeks ago. It was the first interception registered by a D-lineman for the `Dogs since Chris Lewis did so in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 19, 2009. Motta had five tackles, three tackles for a loss, two sacks and also a pass breakup to go with his pick against the Vandals. For the season, he leads all defensive lineman with 19 tackles, had 5.5 tackles for a loss and those two sacks vs. Idaho were his first two of the season.
Senior ILB's Back in Action
Senior inside linebackers Jeremiah Toma and Patrick Su'a have both returned to form to help out the Bulldogs. Su'a, missed the last half of the 2012 season with a knee injury sustained on Oct. 13, 2012, had a slow start to the season while still recovering from the injury. His action was very limited until the last game at Idaho when he was 100 percent full-go. Su'a had five tackles in the game. Toma, who missed the first four games of the 2012 season and has been slowed by a hamstring injury this year, also rebounded and had his best game of the season at Idaho. Toma recorded six tackles, 3.0 tackles for a loss and his first sack of the season. His 3.0 tackles for a loss set a new career-high.
First Career 100-Yard Game
Sophomore running back Marteze Waller registered the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and the first this season by a Bulldog when he ran 19 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns at Idaho. It was his second-straight game with two rushing touchdowns, as he had 22 carries for 95 yards at Hawai'i on Sept. 28. Waller and fellow running back Josh Quezada continue to split the reps at the position and the duo have helped get the running game going after a slow start to the season. Waller for the season now has 330 yards on 60 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per rush. Quezada has 276 yards on 65 carries with two TDs.
Junior wide receiver Josh Harper has gotten off to a hot start this season. His first two years in the program were hampered by injuries that caused him to miss a total of 10 games, including eight his sophomore season. This year his play on the field reflects his health. He has caught 33 passes for 301 yards and seven touchdowns. Harper has always had the knack for finding the end zone, as he has 16 career touchdowns in 21 games played. He is closing in on 100 career receptions, as he's caught 92 passes for 1,131 yards in his career. Harper's 33 catches this season are only two shy of his single-season best, which he set in 2011 as a redshirt freshman when he caught 35 passes for 487 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. His five TDs that year were the most by a Bulldog freshman receiver in 10 years.
Saturday's game marks Fresno State's first home game in 29 days, as the Bulldogs last played at home on Friday, Sept. 20 against Boise State.
Derek Carr's 390 passing yards in the first half at Idaho was the most yards by an FBS quarterback in a first half in over two years (424 yards - Bryant Moniz, Hawai'i - Sept. 24, 2011).
Fresno State has only been flagged 22 times this season, or just 4.4 times per game. The 22 penalties are the third-fewest in the Mountain West. UNM leads the MW with just 18 penalties and UNLV is second with 19.
Tight end Marcel Jensen has caught 14 passes for 226 yards this season and is averaging 16.1 yards per catch, which is the second highest average on the team for any receiver with over five catches. Greg Watson, who has 13 receptions for 213 yards, leads the team with a 16.4 yards per catch average.
Fresno State's entire starting secondary now has an interception to their name. Cornerbacks L.J. Jones (two INT) and Curtis Riley (one pick) along with safety's Derron Smith (three picks) and Charles Washington (one interception) have helped Fresno State to eight total team interceptions on the year. The Bulldogs rank second in the Mountain West and tied for 21st in the FBS in passes intercepted.
Sophomore Dillon Root, who came to school as a running back, converted to wide receiver in 2012 and has now converted to a defensive back early this season, has gotten his first reps on the defensive side of the ball. Last game at Idaho he even recorded a pair of sacks on back-to-back plays.
In addition to leading the MW and ranking fourth nationally in sacks, the Bulldogs also rank second in the FBS with 9.8 tackles for a loss per game. 22 different players on the roster have recorded a TFL with Nikko Motta and Ejiro Ederaine leading the team with 5.5 apiece.