Football Set for Bout at No. 5 Oregon
Sept. 3, 2012
Fresno State (1-0, 0-0 MW) at No. 5 Oregon (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 Autzen Stadium (54,000) Eugene, Ore. 3:30 p.m. PT
Game Day Quick Facts
Pac-12 Network | Play-by-Play: Ted Robinson; Analyst: Adam Archuleta; Sideline: Yogi Roth
Pac-12 Network is available in Fresno on Comcast Ch. 433 (823 for HD). No other provider in Fresno carries the Pac-12 Network.
KMJ (AM 580); Bulldog Live (1:30 p.m.), Countdown to Kickoff (3 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
INTERNET AUDIO & LIVE STATS: gobulldogs.com
The Fresno State Bulldogs travel to No. 5 Oregon on Sept. 8 for a 3:30 p.m. game at Autzen Stadium ... The Pac-12 Network is televising the game with Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Adam Archuleta (analyst) and Yogi Roth (sideline) calling the action ... Fresno State fans can also listen to the game on KMJ 580 AM with the Bulldog Sports Network team of Paul Loeffler, Jordan Christensen and Ralph Wood ... Saturday's game between the Ducks and Bulldogs will be the fifth in 11 years between the schools and all but one of the previous four games were played in Eugene ... Davante Adams became the first freshman in Fresno State history to record a 100-yard receiving game in his first career game, as he caught seven passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns against Weber State ... Preseason Doak Walker and Walter Camp Award candidate Robbie Rouse needs 10 more carries and 194 more rushing yards to break the all-time school record of those respective categories ... Saturday's game is the first of back-to-back tilts against Pac-12 schools, as the Bulldogs host the Colorado Buffaloes at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 15 ... In two career starts against BCS schools, quarterback Derek Carr has completed 66-of-111 passes (59 percent) for 685 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
This will be Tim DeRuyter's first road game and first game against a ranked opponent as a head coach.
Fresno State is looking for its first win over a ranked opponent since 2004 when it beat No. 18 Virginia in the MPC Computers Bowl played in Boise, Idaho.
Bulldogs Impress in DeRuyter's Debut
Fresno State gave Tim DeRuyter a 37-10 victory over Weber State in his head coaching debut. DeRuyter, who is the 17th coach in program history, became the ninth to win his first game with the Bulldogs. The 'Dogs jumped right out of the gates with 21 points in the first 16 minutes of the game. DeRuyter's new offensive and defensive schemes that he installed upon his arrival looked sharp in the opener. Fresno State racked up 515 yards of offense in the spread and defensively, the Bulldogs held Weber State to 274 yards, including just 67 on the ground, in the multiple 3-4. As interim head coach at Texas A&M for the Aggies' 2011 bowl game, DeRuyter led A&M to a 33-22 win over Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
Fresno State vs. Oregon - The Series
Fresno State and Oregon are set to meet for the ninth time ever on Saturday. The Ducks lead the all-time series 6-2 and have a 4-1 advantage over the 'Dogs in Eugene. Saturday's game will be the fifth between the two schools since 2002 and three of the previous four games in that time were played at Oregon. Despite losing five-straight to the Ducks, Fresno State has kept it close. Four of those five losses were by one score or less, including three games that were decided by four points or less. The last meeting between the schools was in 2007, when Oregon won 52-21 in Autzen Stadium. Fresno State has faced Oregon two times before when the Ducks were ranked, and both games were played in Eugene. In 2002, No. 13 Oregon beat Fresno State 28-24 when Onterrio Smith scored a two-yard touchdown with 1:07 remaining to bring the Ducks back from a 24-22 deficit. In 2006, the then 20th-ranked Ducks used some trickery to beat Fresno State. Kicker Paul Martinez scored on a four-yard run on a fake field goal with 4:55 left to break a tied game.
Oregon, ranked No. 5 in both preseason polls after winning the Rose Bowl in 2011, came out and defeated Arkansas State 57-34 in its season opener. The Ducks scored 50 points in the first half when they led 40 and had 417 yards of offense by the break. Oregon finished with 605 yards of offense - 297 rushing and 308 passing - and was 10-of-19 on third-down tries. Arkansas State did rack up 530 yards of offense, but were forced into three turnovers by the Ducks. Three different running backs all had 64 yards and at least one touchdown, while Marcus Mariota, making his first career start, threw for 200 yards on 18-of-22 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Fresno State in Road Openers
Fresno State is 4-11 in its first road game of the season over the previous 15 seasons. In the 28 years before that, the Bulldogs went 16-12 in road openers. Jim Sweeney, who coached Fresno State from 1976-77 and '80-96, was 15-11 in road openers. The 'Dogs are 2-3 in their first road game over the last five seasons and the three losses were at No. 10 Nebraska last year, at Wisconsin in overtime (2009) and at Texas A&M in triple overtime (2007).
Rouse Eyeing Two School Records
Fresno State senior tailback Robbie Rouse is approaching two school records. After rushing 22 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener, he now is tied with Ryan Mathews (2007-09) for second place on the school's all-time rushing list. Rouse needs 194 more rushing yards to surpass Ron Rivers, who has been Fresno State's career rushing leader since 1993. Rouse also only needs 10 more carries to move ahead of Michael Pittman (1993-97) for the most rushing attempts in school history. An impressive note for Rouse is that he has only lost one fumble in the 688 times he has touched the ball in his career (638 rushes, 50 receptions).
His 123-yard game against Weber State last weekend was the 13th 100-yard game of his career, which ties him for the third-most in school history. It was also the 250th 100-yard rushing game in Fresno State history. He scored two touchdowns on the ground vs. Weber State, giving him nine career games with two rushing TDs. He now has 27 career rushing touchdowns. Currently he is tied for seventh on that school record list, but with two more rushing TDs he can move all the way up into a tie for third.
Rouse Against BSC Competition
Robbie Rouse has played at his best against the toughest competition. In seven career games against BCS teams, he has rushed 119 times for 536 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. It started his true freshman year when he was the backup to Ryan Mathews, who led the nation in rushing yards per game in 2009. That year, Rouse ran for 46 yards at Wisconsin on six carries and 50 yards on five carries against No. 14 Cincinnati. Fast forward to last season, Rouse picked up 169 yards on 36 carries at No. 10 Nebraska and 123 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown against Ole Miss. He also had 86 yards on 17 carries with one TD vs. California in 2011. His 36 carries last year against the Huskers were the fourth-most ever against a Husker defense while his 169 yards was the 14th most ever allowed by the Huskers to a single tailback. In six career games against ranked teams, Rouse has averaged 105 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry.
After allowing 35.2 points and 435.8 yards of offense in a 4-3 defense last season, Tim DeRuyter and defensive coordinator Nick Toth came in charged to improve the Bulldogs' `D'. Although it was just one game, the 'Dogs are off on the right foot in their new attacking 3-4 scheme. Fresno State allowed only 274 yards of offense to Weber State in the opener, which was a lower total than the 'Dogs allowed in 12 of the 13 games from last season. The 10 points allowed was 11 fewer than any game in 2011 and was the fewest since holding New Mexico State to 10 points as well on Oct. 16, 2010. The two categories that stood out from the opener was the run defense and the fact that Fresno State did not give up a number of big plays. Weber State only had 67 yards on the ground and just three plays of over 20 yards. Last season, Fresno State allowed an average of 167 rushing yards and 6.5 plays of 20 or more yards per game.
Another Strong Debut
Redshirt freshman Davante Adams had quite a game last weekend against Weber State in his first collegiate game. He caught seven passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns - one from 27 yards out and the other from 38. Adams became just the seventh freshman in school history to record a 100-yard receiving game and the first ever to do so in his very first game. Marlon Moore with 100 yards receiving against Hawai'i in 2006 was the last Bulldog freshman with a 100-yard game. Two other Bulldogs have gone for over 100 yards in their first games - Brock Smith in 1986 and Larry Wills in 1983 - but both were junior college transfers. Adams' 100-yard game was also just the fourth in a season opener in the last 20 years and the first since Seyi Ajirotutu had 116 yards receiving in the 2008 opener at Rutgers. Adams and Wyoming receiver Robert Herron were the only Mountain West receivers to have over 100 yards receiving in the 2012 opening weekend and both caught two touchdown passes.
Bulldog Defense Bolstered By Return of Three Injured Players
Shawn Plummer, Derron Smith and Phillip Thomas - all players who missed all or most of the 2011 season with injuries - returned to action last weekend for the first time since 2010. Plummer, who redshirtted last year after undergoing three surgeries (sports hernia and surgeries on both hips) had four tackles in his return. Phillip Thomas, widely regarded as Fresno State's most valuable defensive player, had six tackles and one tackle for a loss in his return after missing all of 2011 with a broken leg and dislocated ankle. Smith, who missed the last 10 games in 2011 with a broken arm, tied for the team lead in the season opener with eight tackles. The return of those three provides a major boost to Fresno State's defense.
Carr Off To A Good Start
Junior quarterback Derek Carr, the 2012 Mountain West Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener. He was very efficient in the victory, completing 20 of his 25 passes in the game. Carr completed seven passes of over 20 yards with a long of 40 and averaged 14.9 yards per completion. He got off to a hot start in the season opener by completing his first 10 pass attempts that went for 202 yards. He enters the Oregon game with 3,954 passing yards in his career and is looking to become the 13th Bulldog with over 4,000 yards passing.
How Bout That Spread Offense
After running a pro-style offense for years, the Bulldogs also debuted a new spread offense last weekend under offensive coordinator Dave Schramm. Schramm's unit was very efficient against Weber State, racking up 515 yards of total offense (217 rushing, 298 passing) and 37 points. That 515 yards of total offense is the most by a Bulldog offense in a season-opening game over the course of the last 10 years. What was also impressive is the fact the 'Dogs did not have a single turnover in the game. It was the first season opener since 2008 at Rutgers that Fresno State did not commit a turnover and was just the third time in the last 20 Bulldog games where the 'Dogs did not have turnover.
Not Bad for Your First Start
Cornerback Sean Alston made his first career start last weekend against Weber State. Alston finished the game with three tackles, one pass breakup and he also intercepted a pass. It was the only turnover Fresno State created in the game. An Alta Loma, Calif. native, Alston switched off playing both corner and safety last year for the Bulldog secondary that was devastated by injuries. However, the third-year sophomore has been solely at corner since last spring and has really grown in his role focusing on one position.
Watson Shows Versatility
Greg Watson was used as more than just a quarterback in the season opener, as he caught a 32-yard pass in the second quarter against Weber State. The Bulldogs are going to use him as a slot receiver this year in addition to his role as the backup QB in an effort to get him on the field and take advantage of his athleticism. Watson, who is a third-year sophomore out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., was recruited by Oregon out of high school. The Ducks wanted him to play safety - again showing his athleticism - but he came to Fresno State.
Bulldog Look To Break Top 25 Skid
Fresno State has lost its last 14 games to teams ranked in the Top 25, dating back to 2005. The Bulldogs' last win over a ranked opponent came in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl when the 'Dogs defeated No. 18 Virginia 37-34 in overtime. Fresno State's last win over a Top 10 team came in 2001, when the Bulldogs defeated No. 10 Oregon State (who entered 2001 as the nation's top-ranked team, but was No. 10 when they faced the 'Dogs). Fresno State won that game 44-24.
After last week's 37-10 win over Weber State, Fresno State has now won eight of its last nine season openers.
Senior running back Milton Knox scored his first career touchdown last week - a four-yard score. Knox had 42 yards rushing on six carries in the game and averaged 7.0 yards per rush.
Junior linebacker Patrick Su'a set a career-high with his eight tackles last weekend against Weber State and he recorded his first career sack in the win.
Senior punter Andrew Shapiro's 56-yard punt last weekend tied for the longest of his career.
The 'Dogs have a 24-39 all-time record against the 12 schools in the Pac-12 Conference.