Football Readies for WAC Showdown With UTEP
Running back Paris Gaines had his first touchdown run of the year in Fresno State's 58-21 victory over Nevada.
Running back Paris Gaines had his first touchdown run of the year in Fresno State's 58-21 victory over Nevada.

Oct. 16, 2000

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    Fresno State at UTEP
    Records: FS (3-2, 2-0 WAC), UTEP (5-2, 4-0 WAC)
    Date: Saturday, Oct. 21
    Time: 6 p.m. PDT
    Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
    Local TV: KNSO-51 (Cable 11) (Ralph Wood, Randy Rosenbloom, Vince Wesson)
    Satellite Coordinates: Telestar 5, K-11
    Radio: KMJ (AM 580) (Bill Woodward, Jon Anabo, Ron Shapley)

    This Week
    Fresno State will battle UTEP at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas in a match-up of WAC undefeated teams. The Bulldogs enter with a 2-0 WAC record and the Miners, winners of four consecutive games, are the only 4-0 team in the league. The two teams have combined to win seven consecutive games entering this weekend's contest.

    Last Week
    The Bulldogs remained unbeaten in the league while scoring a WAC season-high 58 points in a 58-21 victory over Nevada. UTEP defeated San Jose State 47-30 at Spartan Stadium to take sole possession of first place in the WAC.

    All-Time vs. UTEP
    The Bulldogs, who have never lost at El Paso, own a commanding 7-1-1 lead in the series. The Bulldogs are 1-0-1 vs. the Miners at the Sun Bowl. This series began in 1938 but the teams have only played three times before Fresno State joined the WAC in 1992. Since then, the two teams have played every year with the exception of the 1996 and '97 seasons. UTEP's only win in the series was the first meeting, a 26-6 decision played in 1938 at Fresno. The Bulldogs lead in the WAC series 5-0-1 and are 2-0 vs. the Miners under Pat Hill.

    Last Time vs. UTEP
    (Fresno, Calif. - Oct. 23, 1999) Fresno State held a 17-6 lead late in the fourth quarter, only to see the Miners score 11 points in the final 6:41, including a touchdown and two-point conversion with 20 seconds remaining to force overtime. The Bulldogs scored first in the overtime on a Paris Gaines 4-yard run. The Miners answered with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jay Stuckey to Brian Natkin. UTEP head coach Charlie Bailey elected to go for a two-point conversion and the win but Giachino Chiaramonte's goal line tackle of tight end Elzie Johnson stopped the conversion attempt and gave the Bulldogs the overtime victory 24-23.

    Upcoming Activities
    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 during home games.

    All-Time in Texas
    When Fresno State defeated Rice on Oct. 5, it was only the second time the Bulldogs had won in the Lone Star State. The only other win FS has had in the state of Texas was on Nov. 28, 1992, when the Bulldogs defeated UTEP 43-18. Fresno State has a 2-11-1 all-time record in Texas. The 'Dogs have two more games in Texas this season, at WAC leading UTEP this week and against No. 10 TCU on Nov. 18.

    Home Sweet Home
    The Bulldogs have won 12 consecutive home games. Since the 1997 season, Pat Hill's first as head coach, Fresno State is 16-3 at Bulldog Stadium and have outscored their opponents by a combined 661-314, for a margin of victory of 35-17. 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 than 2,000 over the previous record. In their first two games of the season, the Bulldogs have drawn the two largest crowds in school history, with a record of 42,285 vs. Cal.

    Best in the West
    Fresno State has been one of hottest teams in the West, having won 15 of its last 23 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 23 games)
    1) Air Force       16-7
       Arizona         16-7
    3) Fresno State    15-8
       Oregon          15-8
       Colorado State  15-8
    WAC Coaching Leader
    Pat Hill is the active WAC coaching leader in winning percentage with a record of 17-8 (.680). 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          6-5 (1)  .545       6-5 (1)     .545
    Mike Cavan, SMU            12-13 (3)  .480     12-13 (3)     .480
    Dave Baldwin, San Jose St. 10-15 (3)  .400     10-15 (3)     .400
    Over the Hill
    Under Pat Hill, the Bulldogs are 16-3 at home and 11-1 in WAC home games with nine consecutive WAC wins. The only WAC team to win at Bulldog Stadium was San Diego State, 20-19 in 1997. His .842 home winning percentages is the best in Fresno State history of coaches with more than three years experience. His conference home winning percentage of .917 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.

    Many Similarities
    Both UTEP and Fresno State enter Saturday's game undefeated in the WAC. But that's not where the similarities end. Both have explosive receivers, with FS's Rodney Wright leading the conference and ranking fourth in the nation with 7.5 receptions per game. UTEP counters with Lee Mays and Brian Natkin, both of whom average 5.9 per game. Mays ranks second in the WAC and seventh nationally in receiving yards with 100.1 per game while Wright is on his heels at fourth in the conference and 20th in the nation, averaging 74.2 yards per game. And both the Miners and Bulldogs possess quarterbacks who can get the ball to their outstanding receivers. UTEP's Rocky Perez is tops in the WAC in passing efficiency (152.7) and third in total offense (231.7 yards per game) while Carr is second in passing efficiency (126.6) and fifth in total offense (223.6).

    Top Quarterbacks Square Off
    Through the first half of the 2000 season, UTEP's Rocky Perez and FS's David Carr have been two of the best quarterbacks in the WAC. Perez, a senior, is third in the conference in total offense, averaging 231.7 yards per game. Carr isn't much worse, however. He comes into this week's game averaging 233.6 yards per game, fifth-best in the WAC. Perez and Carr are also one-two in the conference in passing efficiency.

    In Case You Missed It
    The Bulldogs defeated Nevada without the services of two of their biggest weapons, starting receivers Rodney Wright (calf strain) and Charles Smith (ankle sprain). Both are expected to play against UTEP ... With its 27-24 victory over Rice on Oct. 5, Fresno State has now won four consecutive games after bye weeks dating to Oct. 5, 1996 ... 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 vs. Cal on Sept. 23 and followed that up with another 41,128 vs. Nevada.Those attendance marks rank 1-2 in school history. The Bulldogs are 7-1 at home when the crowd is more than 40,000 ... David Carr's first quarter 1-yard touchdown run vs. Nevada was the first of his career and the first rushing touchdown by the Bulldogs this season ... Bernard Berrian's 88-yard punt return for a touchdown was the longest ever by Fresno State player in Bulldog Stadium. It was the first by an FS player since 1998 when Payton Williams scored on a 66-yarder vs. UTEP ... running back Derrick Ward, Fresno State's 1999 leading rusher, scored two touchdowns vs. Nevada after missing three games with an injury. Ward also blocked a punt vs. Nevada, the third of his career and the second consecutive game against the Wolf Pack ... the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 181-54 (45-14) in the last four home games ... Fresno State's 27 first quarter points against Nevada were the most scored since 1992 when it scored 28 against Wyoming. The 44 points in the first half were the most since Oct. 5, 1991, when the Bulldogs scored 66 against New Mexico in a 94-17 win.

    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 eight tackles for losses (-31) and one quarterback sack in his first five games. Harper was nominated for WAC Defensive Player of the Week vs. Nevada after spending nearly as much time in the Nevada backfield as Wolf Pack quarterback David Neill. Harper registered seven tackles, two tackles for losses for minus 15 yards and one quarterback sack for six yards. Plus, he foiled a fake field goal attempt at the end of the first half by reading the fake as a shuttle pass and tackling the receiver for an 11-yard loss. He harrassed Neill all night and was credited with three quarterback hurries.

    Orlando Magic
    Senior outside linebacker Orlando Huff has been simply dominating through the first five 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 against UCLA which saw him manhandle Bruins offensive lineman on several occasions. Through five games this season, the 1999 first-team All-WAC honoree has 42 tackles, six sacks, seven 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.

    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. 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. After missing three games, he rushed for 31 yards and scored two touchdowns against Nevada.

    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. 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 has converted 15-of-16 PATs and is 4-8 in field goals. He kicked his first game-winner vs. Rice, a career-long 43-yarder with five seconds remaining to give Fresno State a 27-24 win.

    Counting on Carr
    Junior David Carr continues to be spectacular each week. While he played less than two complete quarters in the rout over Nevada, Carr managed to complete nearly 60 percent of his passes and operated Fresno State's offense with great precision despite missing his two favorite weapons Rodney Wright and Charles Smith, both out with injuries. 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.

               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       REDSHIRTED
    Ohio State 1-1     44     26      4     238   .590     0    50
    UCLA       1-1     33     20      0     249   .606     3    34
    Cal        1-1     41     22      1     325   .537     2    38
    Rice       1-1     31     20      2     220   .645     3    39
    Nevada     1-1     12      7      0      92   .583     0    22
    Totals    16-5    213    122      9   1,405   .573     9    50
    Note: Career highs are underlined
    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 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

    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
  • WAC defensive player of the week (9/25/00) vs. California with 12 tackles, two for losses.
    Fresno State Career Tackle Leaders
    1. Omar Stoutmire (1993-96)    458
    2. Tim Skipper (1997-)         349
    3. A.J. Gass (1993-97)         325
    The Bodyguard
    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. Jordan was given a "Bad Dog" Award for his performance against Nevada, who called his game "the best performance by an offensive linemen in four years" by line coach Dennis Wagner.

    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.

    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.
    Dynamic Duo
                    ---------CAREER---------   ---------2000----------
                    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
    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
    vs. Nevada...........LB Tim Skipper, DT Alan Harper, SS Vernon Fox, CB Tierre Sams,
                         SS Bryce McGill, CB Dante Marsh, LB Giachino Chiaramonte,
                         LB Orlando Huff, WR Bernard Berrian*, RT Kevin Jordan*
    * Indicates Bad Dog Award
    'Dog Bones (Team)
  • FS is 16-3 under Pat Hill at home, including 12 consecutive wins and 12 victories in the last 13 games.
  • FS is 12-1 in its last 13 WAC home games.
  • The 'Dogs allowed a school record-low 13 quarterback sacks in 1999 and just six this season.
  • FS outgained its opponents in punt return yardage 323-71 in 1999.
  • FS had 44 more sacks than its opponents over the last two seasons season 62-18.
  • FS has 12 more sacks than its opponents this season (18-6).
  • The 'Dogs held NCAA rushing leader LaDainian Tomlinson of TCU to a season-low 49 yards on 20 carries in 1999.
  • FS has thrown 41 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 124 home games dating back to Oct. 25, 1980, vs. Utah State (14-0). Fresno State has scored in 148 of the last 149 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 16-5 under Pat Hill when the 'Dogs have less turnovers than their opponents.
  • FS has outscored its opponents 671-423 over the last 22 games (31 - 19 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 38th in pass efficiency (126.6) and 35th in total offense (223.6/game).
  • 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 25 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 1,049rushing yards in his career.
  • Defensive tackle Alan Harper has at least one tackle in 26 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 eight for minus 30 yards the first five games.
  • Linebacker Orlando Huff had double-figure tackles in each of the first two games vs. Ohio State and UCLA.
  • Huff, a Butkus Award nominee, leads the WAC in sacks (6-41) and is second in tackles for losses (7-41).
  • 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 five 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 six 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 and missed the Nevada game.
  • Smith has six touchdown receptions in the last eight games he has played.
  • Defensive end Jason Stewart is Fresno State's fifth leading tackler with 22, including four for losses and two sacks.
  • Junior guard Mike Stovall has started 21 games on the offensive line, more than any current player.
  • Running Back Derrick Ward has blocked three punts 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 15th in all-purpose yardage (153.2).


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