Football Travels to No. 24/22 Boise State
Oct. 8, 2012
Fresno State (4-2, 2-0 MW) at No. 24/22 Boise State (4-1, 1-0 MW)
Oct. 13, 2012 Bronco Stadium (37,000) Boise, Idaho 12:30 p.m. PT
Game Day Quick Facts
TELEVISION: NBC Sports Network | Play-by-Play: Paul Burmeister; Analyst: Rod Woodson; Sideline: Anthony Herron
Comcast Ch. 38 (723 HD); DirectTV Ch. 603; Dish Network Ch. 159; AT&T U-Verse Ch. 640 (1640 HD)
KMJ (AM 580); Bulldog Live (10:30 a.m.), Countdown to Kickoff (12 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.comThe Fresno State Bulldogs are set for a Mountain West showdown this weekend when it travels to No. 24/22 Boise State for a game between teams that are undefeated in league play ... Kickoff between the 'Dogs and BSU is set for 12:30 p.m. PT at Bronco Stadium ... The NBC Sports Network is televising the game with the call of Paul Burmeister (play-by-play) and Rod Woodson (analyst) and Anthony Herron (sideline) ... Fans can listen to the game on the radio at KMJ 580 AM with the Bulldog Sports Network team of Paul Loeffler (play-by-play), Jordan Christensen (analyst) and Ralph Wood (sideline reporter). Bulldog Live begins at 10:30 a.m. and the pregame show starts at noon ... Fresno State is looking to snap a six-game losing streak to the Broncos ... Fresno State's seven points allowed at Colorado State last weekend marked the first time in the last 36 games that the 'Dogs held a team to under 10 points. The Bulldog defense is allowing just 338.5 yards and 23.3 points per game this season ... Fresno State continues to lead the nation with 18 turnovers gained this year. Boise State is tied for second with 17 take aways ... Senior safety Phillip Thomas was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Thomas' six interceptions on the year leads the country ... Junior quarterback Derek Carr has thrown 15 touchdown passes in the last four games and his 18 total TD passes this year is tied with Marshall's Rakeem Cato for the second most in the country ... Fresno State is the only team in the country that has four different players with three or more touchdown catches on the year.
Fresno State is looking to snap a 15-game losing streak to top 25 teams.
The Bulldogs are second in the Mountain West and 19th in the country by averaging 39.5 points per game. The 'Dogs are also second in the MW scoring defense at 23.3 points per game.
Key to the Game
As it is in all games, ball security will be a key to winning this Mountain West game between two teams undefeated in league play. Fresno State and Boise State are among the best in both forcing turnovers and turnover margin. The Bulldogs lead the nation with 18 take aways this year while Boise State is tied for second in the FBS with 17. The Broncos (2.17) are ranked fifth nationally in turnover margin while the 'Dogs (1.67)are 11th. Both teams are both plus-10 in the turnover department.
Fresno State has lost its last six games to the Broncos and they did not win the turnover battle in any of those losses. In the last four years, Fresno State has turned the ball over 11 times to Boise's four. The Bulldogs had four turnovers in last season's 57-7 loss. In 2006, Fresno State and Boise State both had one turnover, but Boise State won 45-21 behind 300 yards rushing. Fresno State's last win over the Broncos came in 2005, and in that game Fresno State forced three turnovers and only coughed the ball over one time.
Phillip Thomas Continues to Make Big Plays
Fresno State senior safety Phillip Thomas was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for the second time this season. In the 28-7 win over Colorado State, Thomas had eight tackles, one sack that forced a fumble the Bulldogs recovered and he intercepted one pass. That interception was his sixth on the year, which is two more than any other player in the FBS has. His six picks are also tied for the second most in Mountain West single-season history and are the most by a Bulldog since Efrain Guizar picked off six passes in 1997. In fact, Thomas' six picks are already more than the Bulldogs as a team had in 13 games last season. After missing all of last year with a broken leg, Thomas has had an All-American first half to the 2012 season. He is second on the team with 39 tackles, has four tackles for a loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in addition to his FBS-leading six interceptions.
Fresno State vs. Boise State - The Series
The Boise State Broncos lead the all-time series with the Bulldogs 10-4. Fresno State has lost its last six games to Boise State and the Broncos have scored 45 or more points in five of those six wins. Going back to 2001, the Broncos have won 10 of the last 11 meetings. The 2001 Bronco victory over Fresno State came when the 'Dogs were ranked a program-record eighth in the nation. The one game in the last 11 that Fresno State won was in 2005, 27-7. The 20th-ranked Bulldogs ended Boise State's WAC record 31-game conference winning streak with that victory. Paul Pinegar passed for 307 yards in 2005, Paul Williams scored on a school-record 98-yard reception and Wendell Mathis ran for 121 yards and a score for Fresno State. The Bulldogs are 1-5 all-time when playing at Boise State - the one win coming in their first trip to Boise in 1984.
Scouting Boise State
Boise State, ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll and No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, enters Saturday's game riding a four-game winning streak. The Broncos have won 39 of their last 40 games at home and have lost just seven total games in seven seasons under head coach Chris Peterson. BSU opened the season with a 17-13 loss at Michigan State, but have since beat Miami (Ohio), BYU, New Mexico and Southern Miss last weekend. The Broncos' last two games were both on the road and they scored 72 points combining the two games. Boise State is giving up just 337.2 yards of total offense and 15.6 points per game to opposing teams. BSU has 11 sacks on the year and has forced 17 turnovers, which is tied for the second most in the nation. Offensively, the Broncos are rushing for 152 yards and passing for 226 on average. Boise State has scored on just 16 of its 24 trips into the red zone, which is tied for last in the Mountain West in red zone offense. Running back D.J. Harper is averaging 85.4 yards per game running the ball and he has five rushing touchdowns.
DeRuyter's Looters or Demolition 'Dogs
Those are a couple of nicknames being thrown around for Fresno State's multiple 3-4 defense. No matter what the `D' is being called, it is producing on Saturday's. Last weekend at Colorado State, the Bulldogs only allowed 249 total yards and just 55 on the ground. The 55 rushing yards marked the second time this year the Bulldogs have held an opponent to under 100 yards rushing. Additionally, it was the third time in six games that Fresno State held its opponent to under 300 total yards. The Bulldogs are second in the Mountain West in total defense (338.5 ypg), scoring defense (23.3 ppg) and passing defense (188.0 ypg). Fresno State's secondary is allowing opposing teams to complete just 54.1 percent of its passes and its 12 interceptions are two more than any other team in the nation has.
Seconds Away From A Shutout
Fresno State nearly recorded its first shutout since Sept. 5, 2009 when the 'Dogs blanked UC Davis 51-0. Last week at Colorado State, Fresno State led 28-0 with under a minute to play before the Rams got on the scoreboard with a touchdown with 42 seconds left on the clock. The seven points allowed marked the first time in the last 36 games that the Bulldogs held their opponent to under 10 points. The last time that happened was also in 2009, when Fresno State beat New Mexico State 34-3 on the road. If the Bulldogs could have pulled off the shutout, it would have been the first on the road since Oct. 26, 1974 when Fresno State shutout Cal State Northridge 41-0.
Carr's Arm & Receivers vs. Boise State's Defense
Boise State has allowed just one touchdown pass all season. Junior quarterback Derek Carr has thrown 15 touchdown passes over his last four games and 18 total on the year, which is tied for the second-most in the country. Something is going to have to give this weekend. Carr, with a host of play-makers catching his passes this season, has been putting up big numbers. He leads the Mountain West and ranks 13th nationally with 302.7 passing yards per game. Boise State is allowing just 154.8 yards per game through the air. Carr is completing 68.5 percent of his passes and has only thrown three interceptions on the year. His 64.7 career completion percentage is the highest in school history and this past weekend he moved up into eighth place for the most passing yards in school history. Carr has thrown for 5,472 yards and 44 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in his career.
Rouse Close To Another School Record
Senior running back Robbie Rouse already holds the school record for most career rushing yards (3,868), career rushing attempts (748), single season rushing attempts (329 in 2011), rushing attempts in a game (43 at LA Tech in 2010) and longest run from scrimmage (94 yards-tied record). This weekend at Boise State he has a chance to tie another school record. After rushing for 124 yards at Colorado State last weekend, Rouse has 17 career 100-yard rushing games. The school record for most 100-yard rushing games is held by Ron Rivers (1991-93) with 18. Rouse is also closing in on a number of other school records. He ranks second in school history with 4,435 all-purpose yards (1,392 yards off Bernard Berrian's record), needs six more total touchdowns to tie that record and six more rushing touchdowns to tie the school record of 39 held by Ryan Mathews. Also, with 711 rushing yards this year, Rouse is closing in on becoming the first player in Fresno State history to rush for over 1,000 yards in three separate seasons.
Rouse has also been a big asset in the passing game this year. Last weekend at CSU, he caught a career-high nine passes for 50 yards. The week before in a win over San Diego State, he hauled in seven passes for 65 yards. His 33 receptions on the year are the second most on the team and third most in the Mountain West. Rouse also ranks third in the conference and 21st nationally with 153.2 all-purpose yards per game.
Adams Added to Biletnikoff Award Watch List
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Davante Adams has been added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award that goes to the nation's top receiver. Adams leads the Mountain West in receptions (40), receiving yards (478) and in touchdown catches (five). Last weekend at Colorado State, Adams recorded his second game this year with two TD receptions. He ranks 27th nationally with 6.7 receptions per game and is tied for 28th in total receiving yards.
Best Receiving Corps in the Country?
In addition to Davante Adams' five touchdowns, Fresno State has three other receivers with three or more touchdowns catches on the year. Rashad Evans has caught three TDs, Isaiah Burse has four touchdowns and Josh Harper has four - one in each of the past four games. Fresno State is the only team in the country that has four receivers with three or more touchdown receptions. Baylor, Georgia and Texas Tech all have three players, but no other school has four.
Bulldogs Block First Punt of the Season
Redshirt freshman Kyrie Wilson blocked a punt in Fresno State's 28-7 win over Colorado State. His blocked punt came with under two minutes to go in the first half and gave the Bulldogs the ball on the CSU 33-yard line. Fresno State capitalized on Wilson's play, scoring a touchdown right before the end of the half to take a 14-0 lead into the locker room. It was Fresno State's first blocked punt of the season and the first since Sept. 24 at Idaho in 2011.
Fresno State's 20 sacks this year is tied for the fifth most in the country and is six more than any other team in the Mountain West has. The Bulldogs have nine sacks in the last two games with junior Andy Jennings posting 3.5 of those nine sacks. Jennings had two sacks two weeks ago against San Diego State and was named the MW Defensive Player of the Week for his performance. Then last week at Colorado State, Jennings had one and a half sacks. For the season, Jennings is third in the MW with 4.5 sacks. Outside linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo is tied for fifth in the league with 3.0 sacks. In all, Fresno State has 13 different players that have recorded a sack this season. The 20 sacks through six games in the new 3-4 defense is already tied with the number of sacks the Bulldogs had in 13 games last year running their old 4-3 scheme. In 2011 as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Tim DeRuyter's Aggie unit led the nation with 51 sacks. The goal in this defense is to hit the quarterback 15 times per game and create 30 turnovers for the season.
Fresno State is leading the Mountain West in third-down defense, holding opponents to a conversion rate of just 32.3 percent. In the second game of the season at No. 4 Oregon, the Ducks converted 9-of-17 third-down attempts. In the four games since then, the Bulldogs have held opponents to just a 27.7 (18-of-65) conversion rate on third downs. Offensively, Fresno State is seventh in the Mountain West with a third-down conversion rate of 37.0. However, Fresno State is not afraid to go for it on fourth downs, as the 'Dogs have moved the sticks nine times on 15 fourth-down tries (60 percent). In that Oregon game back on Sept. 8, the Bulldog offense was 2-of-16 on third-down tries. Since then, the Bulldogs have a third-down conversion rate of 43.1 percent. (28-of-65).
Bulldogs Look For 3-0 Start in League Play
Fresno State has started 2-0 in conference play for the second-straight season. Now the Bulldogs will be looking to go to 3-0 in league play for the first time since starting the 2007 season 4-0 when they were in the Western Athletic Conference. Fresno State has not won a conference title since tying for the WAC crown in 1999. If the Bulldogs can win on Saturday, they will be in good position to make a run at the Mountain West championship. Fresno State and Nevada are both sitting 2-0 in MW play while Boise State and UNLV are 1-0. Those four undefeated teams will have the chance to separate themselves this weekend, as Nevada and UNLV play one another at noon PT Saturday in Las Vegas. After this weekend, Fresno State has a favorable schedule with three of its five remaining games at home.
Back-to-Back Road Victories; Three-Game Winning Streak
After losing its first two road games this season, Fresno State won on the road for the first time this season last weekend at Colorado State. Now the Bulldogs are looking to win consecutive road games for the first time since 2010 when the 'Dogs won back-to-back games on the road at San Jose State (Oct. 23) and Louisiana Tech (Nov. 6). Those two road wins in consecutive games gave the Bulldogs a three-game winning streak. Fresno State now has a chance this weekend to win three-straight games for the first time since that three-game winning streak two years ago.
Last weekend at Colorado State, Robbie Rouse rushed 26 times for 124 yards. He did not find the end zone, which snapped his nine-game streak where he had scored at least one touchdown running. That nine game streak is the longest by a Bulldog since Wendell Mathis scored a rushing touchdown in 10-straight games during the 2005 season.
Andy Jennings has 11 tackles over his last two games, which accounts for more than half of his 21 total tackles this year.
Fresno State held Colorado State to 21 yards in the first quarter and outgained the Rams 202-64 in the first half of last week's game.
After averaging 364.5 yards and 25.5 points in the first two road games of the season, the Bulldogs saw improved numbers last weekend in their third road game. Fresno State had 408 yards of offense and the 28 points. In three home games this year, the 'Dogs have averaged 608.7 yards of offense and 52.7 points. For the season, Fresno State is second in the Mountain West in scoring (39.5 ppg) and third in total offense (501.6). Fresno State ranks 19th nationally in scoring and 20th in total offense.
Fresno State's last win on the road over a ranked opponent was on Sept. 12, 2004, when the Bulldogs won 45-21 at No. 13 Kansas State. The 45 points in that victory were the most given up by the Wildcats in a non-conference game since 1991.
Over the course of the six-game losing streak to Boise State, the Bulldogs have averaged 15.5 points and have been outgained by the Broncos by an average of 189 yards in the six losses. In Fresno State's last win over Boise State (2005), the Bulldogs outgained the Broncos 513-294 in the 27-7 victory.