Football Ends Season at SDSU

Nov. 28, 2011

Game No. 13 - Season Finale
Fresno State Game Notes | Coach Hill Press Conference Quotes
History Reignites Fresno State-San Diego State Football Rivalry

Senior kicker Kevin Goessling became Fresno State's all-time leading scorer last weekend (photo by Rick Dodd)

Fresno State (4-8, 3-4 WAC) at San Diego State (7-4, 4-3 MW)
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011 • Qualcomm Stadium (70,561) • San Diego, Calif. • 5 p.m. PT

Game Day Quick Facts
CBS Sports Network |  Play-by-Play: James Bates; Analyst: Aaron Taylor; Sideline: Brooke Collins
     TV Listings for CBS Sports Network - AT&T U-verse 643, Comcast 734, DirecTV 613, Dish 152

KMJ (AM 580); Bulldog Live (3 p.m.), Countdown to Kickoff (4:30 p.m.) | Play-by-Play: Paul Loeffler; Analyst: Jordan Christensen; Sideline: Ralph Wood

ESPN Deportes (1600 AM) in Spanish | Play-by-Play: Erwin Higueros; Analyst: Jesse Beltran; Sideline: Jose Salas


Fresno State is set to close out the 2011 campaign this weekend when it travels to San Diego State for a 5 p.m. game Saturday at Qualcomm Stadium ... It is the 51st all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and Aztecs, but just the first meeting since 2002 ... The game is being televised by CBS Sports Network with the call of James Bates (play-by-play), Aaron Taylor (analyst) and Brooke Collins (sideline) while fans can listen on the radio at KMJ 580 AM with the call of Paul Loeffler (play-by-play), Jordan Christensen (analyst) and Ralph Wood (sideline) on the Bulldog Sports Network ... The Bulldogs have won 15 of their last 20 games in their last outing of the regular season ... Two of the nation's top running backs will be featured this weekend in Fresno State's Robbie Rouse and San Diego State's Ronnie Hillman. Rouse is fourth in the FBS with 1,493 rushing yards while Hillman is fifth with 1,478 ... Sophomore Derek Carr has become just the fifth quarterback in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season. His 3,208 yards ranks No. 18 nationally this year and he needs just 52 more yards to break Kevin Sweeney's program record for the most passing yards by a sophomore... Wide receiver Jalen Saunders has 47 catches for 960 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. He has caught a TD in six-straight game and needs 40 more yards receiving to become the seventh Bulldog with 1,000 yards receiving in a season.

Bulldog Headlines
Derek Carr has thrown for 1,543 yards in his last five games, has completed 67.2 percent of his passes and has 12 touchdowns against three interceptions.
• Next season this game between the two schools will be a conference game, as Fresno State is set to join the Mountain West Conference in 2012.
• The Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band is traveling down to San Diego and will be playing at Qualcomm Stadium during the game.

For Starters
Junior running back Robbie Rouse is returning home this weekend when the Bulldogs play at San Diego State. Rouse, who graduated from San Diego's Madison High School, has since made quite a name for himself at Fresno State. Here is a look at what Rouse has done in his three years as a Bulldog:
     • Ranks No. 3 in program history with 3,101 rushing yards (one of four Bulldogs to rush for over 3,000 yards in a career). He only needs 373 yards to break Ron Rivers' 18 year-old school record for the most rushing yards in a career (has one year of eligibility remaining).
     • With 1,129 rushing yards last year and 1,493 yards this year, he set a new Fresno State record for most rushing yards in back-to-back seasons (2,622).
     • With 1,493 rushing yards this year, he ranks No. 3 in Fresno State single-season history. He needs 94 yards to surpass Rodney Davis's 1,586 yards in 2002, which is the second-most in a year. Ryan Mathews' 1,808 yards in 2009 is the school record.
     • His eight 100-yard rushing games this year are tied for the second-most in a season in Bulldog history and his 12 career 100-yard games are tied for the sixth-most in program history.
     • With 596 carries, he is four rushing attempts shy of becoming the second Bulldog with 600 rushing attempts in a career (school record 647 his held by Michael Pittman, who played from 1993-97). Rouse, wiht 309 carries this year, needs just five more rushing attempts to set a new school record for most carries in a season. Rodney Davis holds that record with 313 in 2002.

Run Defense, Can the `Dogs Do it Again?
Fresno State held Hawai'i to 62 yards rushing on Nov. 19 and last weekend it held San Jose State to 61 yards rushing. They are the second and third games this season that the Bulldogs have held an opponent under 100 yards rushing, as Idaho only managed 44 yards against Fresno State back on Sept. 24. The Bulldogs had given up 182.8 yards on the ground in the first 10 games of the season, and after the past two strong outings, are now allowing 162.6 yards on the season. San Diego State averages 192.3 yards per game, which ranks 31st in the nation. Seven different opposing running backs have rushed for over 100 yards on the `Dogs this year and Fresno State owns a 2-5 record when that happens.

The San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State enters Saturday's game with a 7-4 record and has won three out of its last four games in its first season under head coach Rocky Long. The one loss in that stretch was to No. 10 Boise State, 52-35, on Nov. 19. SDSU is third in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense (24.1 points per game) and is fourth in total defense (375.8 yards per game). The Aztecs give up 189.1 rushing yards per game and just 186.7 passing (ranks No. 16 nationally), so the Bulldog ground attack has a chance to get the wheels going. SDSU's defense has given up only 13 passing touchdowns, which is as many passes it has intercepted this year and the Aztecs lead the Mountain West in pass efficiency defense. Offensively, SDSU averages 29.3 points per game and 416.3 yards of offense. Running back Ronnie Hillman leads the Aztecs with 134 rushing yards per game and 15 touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Lindley completes just 52.5 percent of his passes, but has 20 touchdowns against eight interceptions. SDSU is plus-10 in the turnover department (16 turnovers lost, 26 turnovers gained) and it is tied for 13th nationally in turnover margin.

Fresno State vs. San Diego State - The Series
Saturday's season finale between San Diego State and Fresno State will be the 51st meeting between the two schools, but the first since 2002. The Bulldogs won the last meeting played in Fresno, 16-14. The win was preserved by freshman back-up cornerback Raymond Washington, who blocked Tommy Kirovski's 31-yard field-goal attempt as time expired. Washington's play spoiled the coaching debut of Tom Craft, as the Aztecs had driven down 51 yards to attempt the field goal with two seconds left. Prior to that 2002 game, SDSU had won the four previous match-ups from 1995-98. The series began in 1923 and the two teams played one another every year from 1945-1979 with SDSU winning 20 of the 35 games with three ties. The Bulldogs won eight-straight games over the Aztecs from 1954-61, while SDSU reeled off nine-straight from 1962-70 and won 14-of-15 from `62-76. Fresno State is 7-14-3 all-time when playing at San Diego State.

Carr's Season Among Finest in Fresno State History
Sophomore quarterback Derek Carr has become just the fifth Fresno State quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season. Carr, with 3,208 yards this year, needs to throw for just 52 more yards in the final game to set a new program record for most passing yards in a season by a sophomore. Kevin Sweeney holds that record, as he threw for 3,259 yards as a sophomore in 1984. This year, Carr ranks 18th nationally in passing yards and he has thrown 24 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. He ranks second in the WAC in passing efficiency and trails Nevada's Cody Fajardo, who has attempted 212 fewer passes. Carr is near the top statistically in every single-season passing category in the Fresno State record books. His 260 completions rank No. 3, he is fourth with 411 attempts, fifth in yards and tied for fifth in touchdown passes with 24. In his last five games, Carr has completed 119-of-177 passes (67.2 percent) for 1,543 yards with 12 touchdowns against three interceptions.

Saunders Needs 40 Yards Receiving for 1,000
Of Jalen Saunders' 47 receptions this year, 34 of them have gone for first downs. That equates to 72.3 percent. Saunders is averaging 20.4 yards per catch this year, as he has caught nine pass of over 40 yards (six of which have been touchdowns). His yards per catch average ranks No. 2 in the nation behind Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, who is averaging 30.2 yards on 26 receptions, which are 21 less catches than Saunders has. The sophomore out of Elk Grove, Calif. needs just 40 yards receiving in the last game to become the seventh Bulldog to have 1,000 yards receiving in a season. The last Fresno State receivers to do so were Rodney Wright (1,630) and Bernard Berrian (1,364) in 2001.

Saunders has also caught 11 touchdown passes this season, a figure that leads the WAC. He has hauled in a TD in 8-of-12 games, including each of the last six games. Saunders is one of six Bulldogs to catch 10 or more TDs in a season and is currently tied for fifth with Gary Boreham (1970) for the most touchdown receptions in a year.

Goessling Sets Fresno State Scoring Record
Senior kicker Kevin Goessling became Fresno State's all-time leading scorer when he nailed a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter against San Jose State last weekend. Goessling had six points in the game against the Spartans last weekend, giving him 369 for his career. That moved him ahead of kicker Derek Mahoney, who recorded 364 points from 1990-93. His 61 field goals made rank No. 3 in WAC history.

Burse Sets One NCAA Record, Close to Another
Sophomore Isaiah Burse has eclipsed the NCAA record for most kickoff returns in a season with 69. The old mark was held by Army's William White with his 55 returns in 2002. The current NCAA record for kickoff return yardage in a single season is 1,444, which Kerwynn Williams of Utah State recorded on 53 returns in 2011. Burse currently has 1,431 yards on his 69 returns this year.

Burse is averaging 149.7 all-purpose yards this season, which leads the team. He is coming off a career-day, as his seven receptions for 135 yards against San Jose State last weekend set new personal bests. It was his first career 100-yard receiving game and the eighth this year by a Bulldog. Jalen Saunders has four 100-yard games and Devon Wylie has three. Burse averaged 19.2 yards per catch and four of his seven receptions went for over 20 yards with a long of 35. That 35-yard reception in the first quarter on Fresno State's second drive help set-up the first touchdown of the game for the Bulldogs and was his longest catch of the season.

Green Nets First Career Interception
Senior cornerback Isaiah Green, playing in his final home game at Bulldog Stadium, recorded his first career interception when he picked off Matt Faulkner in the second quarter. Green, who has played in 45 career games and made 16 starts (10 this year - nine at CB, 1 at strong safety), has 92 tackles in his tenure at Fresno State with 13 pass breakups.

A Welcome Sight
Green's interception was just the fifth of the season for the Bulldogs, who are tied for 111th nationally in passes picked off and are tied for last in the FBS in turnovers gained with just nine. However, Fresno State is coming off the San Jose State game where it forced two turnovers. It was the `Dogs second game under interim defensive coordinator Tim Skipper. In his first outing making the defensive calls, the `Dogs held Hawai'i to just 21 points and only 306 yards of offense when the Warriors entered the game averaging 417 yards of offense. The two turnovers forced against SJSU are just one less than the Bulldogs had in nine games from Sept. 17-Nov. 19. Fresno State started off the year by recording two turnovers in each of its first two games, but then went into a rut in the turnover department and forced just three in the nine games until last weekend.

Fresno State's offense has posted over 400 yards of offense in six-straight games, has gone for at least 400 yards in 9-of-12 contests this year and is averaging 414.2 yards per game this year. If the Bulldogs can finish out the year strong and maintain their 400+ average, it will be the fifth season in the last 10 years where the `Dogs averaged over 400 yards of offense.

• Sophomore cornerback L.J. Jones recorded a career-high nine tackles last weekend against San Jose State. Jones is tied for fourth on the team this year with 50 tackles and he leads Fresno State with three interceptions and 12 pass breakups. His 15 passes defended are tied for the second most in the WAC and his 1.25 passes defended per game has him tied for 16th nationally.
• The Bulldogs were 2-of-11 on third-down conversions against SJSU last weekend. In the four games prior to that, Fresno State had converted 26-of-54 percent of its third down tries for 48.1 percent. On the year, the Bulldogs are converting 37 percent of their third downs and ranks seventh in the WAC.
• After recording a season-high four sacks at Hawai'i, Fresno State did not have any sacks last weekend against San Jose State. It was just the second game of the season that the Bulldogs did not record a sack. The first time came in a 57-7 loss to No. 5 Boise State on Oct. 7. The Bulldogs are fifth in the WAC this year with 20 sacks.
• Senior wide receiver Devon Wylie continues to rank No. 3 in the nation with a 16.04 average on 27 punt returns this year. The two guys ahead of him, Jared Abbrederis of Wisconsin (16.35 average) and Joe Adams of Arkansas (16.19 average), have 10 less punt returns than he has. Wylie's 27 returns are the fourth most in the country, but he's had just one return for 10 yards in the last four games. The Bulldogs as a team lead the country with a 16.18 punt return average.
• Fresno State's 38:15 time of possession in the Hawai'i game two weeks ago is the 12th longest a team in the FBS has controlled the ball in a game this year.

Close Calls
Fresno State has been involved in many close games this year. Seven of Fresno State's 12 games have been decided by 10 points or less and each of the past three games have been decided by three points. The Bulldogs are 1-2 in those three-point games and are 3-3 in games that have been decided by one touchdown or less. Fresno State's six games that have been decided by one score are tied for the eighth-most in the country.

Slow Starts
Fresno State is 2-7 this year when kicking off to start the game, but is 2-1 when receiving the opening kickoff. The `Dogs have won the coin toss eight times, but have only elected to receive one time. Of the three games that Fresno State has received the opening kickoff, it has scored touchdowns on the first drive of the game on two of the three occasions. It first happened against North Dakota on Sept. 17, when the `Dogs scored on the first play from scrimmage thanks to a Derek Carr 86-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. Then on Oct. 7 against No. 5 Boise State, the Broncos won the toss and elected to kick. Fresno State did not score an offensive touchdown in that 57-7 loss. Two weeks ago at Hawai'i, the Warriors won the toss and elected to kick. It only took Fresno State three plays to find the end zone on its opening drive, which Carr capped with a 44-yard TD pass to Saunders. After being the first team to score in each of their first five games of the year, the Bulldogs have scored first just two times in the last seven games and those two times have come in each of the last two weeks. Fresno State, which is averaging 8.3 points in the first quarter this year, has led after the first 15 minutes in 6-of-12 games, but has only led at the half in 5-of-12 games (own a 3-2 record when leading at the half).



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