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CFN Take: Fresno State Shot Down In Vegas

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 21, 2013


2013 Fresno State Bulldogs ... Head Coach: Tim DeRuyter


Fresno State Bulldogs

2013 Schedule
2013 CFN Pred: 12-1
2013 Record: 10-2

8/29 Rutgers W 52-51 OT
9/7 Cal Poly W 41-25
9/14 at Colorado PPD
9/20 Boise State W 41-40
9/28 at Hawaii W 42-37
10/5 at Idaho W 61-14
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 UNLV W 38-14
10/26 at SDSU W 51-44 OT
11/2 Nevada W 41-23
11/9 at Wyoming W 48-10
11/16 OPEN DATE
11/23 New Mexico W 69-28
11/29 at San Jose St W 62-52
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
12/21 USC L 45-20 MW CHAMPIONSHIP
12/7 Utah State 24-17
2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
USC 45, Fresno State 20
Basically … USC dominated from the start as Cody Kessler threw four touchdown passes starting out with a ten-yard pass to Marqise Lee and two in the first half to Nelson Agholor from 40 and 17 yards out. A 24-yard Javorius Allen touchdown run and a 40-yard scoring play to Lee made it 35-6 Trojans going into halftime, and the game was essentially over. Fresno State came up with a 23-yard Davante Adams touchdown catch early in the second half, but the offense was flat all game long. The Bulldog D got on the board with a 41-yard Derron Smith pick six in the fourth.

- Fresno State’s high-powered offense was held to 254 total yards with Derek Carr throwing for just 217 yards on a 30-of-54 day with two touchdowns and a pick.
- USC QB Cody Kessler completed 22-of-30 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns with a pick.
- USC WR Marqise Lee caught seven passes for 118 yards and two scores.
- Fresno State FS Derron Smith made 18 tackles with a pick for a touchdown.

Fresno State 24, Utah State 17
Basically … Fresno State won the Mountain West championship with tough defense along with the arm of Derek Carr, who threw three touchdown passes from short range to Marcel Jensen, Isaiah Burse and Davante Adams, but Utah State, who lost starting quarterback Darrell Garretson to a huge hit wouldn’t go away. The defense got the first points with Jake Doughty taking a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half, and down 24-7 the Aggies scored ten unanswered points on a ten-yard Bruce Natson touchdown run and a 20-yard Nick Diaz field goal. With a recovered onside kick, and a late chance after a fourth down stop, Utah State had some key opportunities, but the Fresno State defense that came up with eight sacks held firm.
- Fresno State QB Derek Carr completed 36-of-53 passes for 404 yards and three scores and two picks.
- Utah State WR Ronald Butler caught five passes for 145 yards
- Fresno State WR Davante Adams caught nine passes for 168 yards and a score
- Fresno State WR Isaiah Burse caught 17 passes for 132 yards and a score.

at San Jose State 62, Fresno State 52
Basically … Fresno State’s BCS bowl dreams were dashed, and San Jose State became bowl eligible, as David Fales won the duel of big-time quarterbacks throwing for 547 yards and six touchdowns with three to Chandler Jones and two to Kyle Nunn, but Carr was on fire, too, throwing for six scores with three to Davante Adams. It was a seesaw game up until late in the third when the Spartans, helped by the lone interception of the game coming from Keith Smith, took control with two Austin Lopez field goals and a Fales sneak for a score on the way to a 62-44 lead.
- San Jose State QB David Fales completed 37-of-45 passes for 547 yards and six scores, and he ran for 33 yards and a touchdown. Fresno State QB David Carr completed 38-of-50 passes for 519 yards and six touchdowns with a pick.
- Fresno State WR Davante Adams caught 13 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Isaiah Burse caught ten balls for 96 yards and a touchdown.
- San Jose State WR Tyler Winston caught ten passes for 164 yards and a score, and Kyle Nunn caught ten passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Chandler Jones caught eight balls for 146 yards and three scores.
- Time of possession: San Jose State 39:23 – Fresno State 20:37

at Fresno State 69, New Mexico 28
Basically … Fresno State came up with 820 yards of total offense as Derek Carr threw seven touchdown passes with four to Davante Adams and three to Josh Harper on the way to a Mountain-clinching win. Adams started out the scoring with a 57-yard touchdown catch and added scores from 44, 59 and 39 yards away. The Bulldogs got up 35-0 in the first half and pulled away with Harper scores from 59 and 11 yards out. The Lobos came up with some big home runs with Carlos Wiggins returning a kickoff for a score and Jhurell Pressley running for an 80-yard touchdown, but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up the pace.
- Fresno State QB Derek Carr completed 27-of-37 passes for 527 yards and seven touchdowns.
- New Mexico QB Clayton Mitchem completed 8-of-11 passes for 157 yards and ran nine times for 23 yards and a touchdown.
- The Lobos converted just 2-of-13 third down chances. Fresno State converted 9-of-16 tries.
- Fresno State QB Davante Adams caught nine passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns, and Josh Harper caught ten passes for 161 yards and three scores. Isaiah Burse caught six passes for 112 yards.

Fresno State 48, at Wyoming 10
Basically … After spotting Wyoming the first ten points, Fresno State blew up, scoring 48 unanswered points as Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes with Marcel Jensen catching two of them from nine and two yards out, and Davante Adams making a nine-yard touchdown grab in the fourth. Joel Quezada ran for 105 yards with a two-yard touchdown. Wyoming’s points came on a one-yard Shaun Wick run in the first quarter.
- Fresno State QB Derek Carr completed 33-of-46 passes for 360 yards and four scores.
- Wyoming QB Brett Smith completed 18-of-32 passes for 141 yards and a score with a pick, and was held to 12 rushing yards on seven carries.
- Fresno State WR Josh Harper didn’t catch a touchdown pass but he led the team with 159 yards on nine catches. Davante Adams caught 11 passes for 79 yards and a score.
- Fresno State outgained Wyoming 600 yards to 296.

at Fresno State 41, Nevada 23
Basically … Derek Carr threw for 487 yards and three scores with touchdown passes to Davante Adams from five yards out early and to Josh Harper from 17 and 32 yards away, but Nevada wouldn’t go away. Kendall Brock started out the scoring with a 43-yard touchdown, and Cody Fajardo helped bring the Wolf Pack back from a 24-7 deficit with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Wimberly and a 32-yard play to Hasaan Henderson to make it 31-23 Fresno State midway through the fourth. The Bulldogs scored the final ten points on a 40-yard Colin McGuire field goal and a three-yard Marteze Waller touchdown run.
- Fresno State QB Derek Carr became the school’s all-time leading passer, completing 39-of-55 passes for 487 yards and three scores.
- Nevada QB Cody Fajardo completed 14-of-24 passes for 206 yards and two scores with a pick, and he led the team with 98 yards on 17 carries.
- Josh Harper led the Bulldogs with 17 catches for 253 yards and two scores.
- Fresno State outgained Nevada 647 yards to Nevada’s 424.

Fresno State 35, at San Diego State 28 OT
Basically … Fresno State blocked a field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime, and won with a one-yard Marteze Waller touchdown run and a defensive stop. The Bulldogs were up 28-14 in the fourth helped by two Derek Carr touchdown passes to Davante Adams and a 78-yard fumble return for a score from Ejiro Ederaine, but the Aztecs owned the final nine minutes with touchdown runs from Aaron Boesch and Chad Young to tie the game with just over six minutes to play, and a long march over the final 4:32 set up a 37-yard Seamus McMorrow field goal attempt. Marcel Jensen rose up and got his hand on the kick, and Fresno State’s BCS hopes stayed alive. Aztec running back Adam Muema ran for 111 yards and two short scores.

at Fresno State 38, UNLV 14
Basically … Derek Carr and Davante Adams hooked up on a 75-yard touchdown pass nine seconds into the game, and the two worked together on a 28-yard scoring play late in the third on the way to a 21-0 lead. Shaquille Evans put UNLV on the board with a 73-yard touchdown run, but Carr and Adams were at it again less than two minutes later on a 36-yard pass play. Just when UNLV looked like it was going to make it really interesting after a 13-yard Marcus Sullivan score late in the first half, Adams and Carr came up with one last touchdown from 37 yards away in the third. The Rebels didn’t score in the second half.
- David Carr really might not be the best quarterback to ever play at Fresno State. He might be the most talented player the program has ever had, but Derek Carr is putting up obnoxious numbers, completing 33-of-48 passes for 412 yards and four scores. Davante Adams was certainly a big help catching eight passes for 221 yards and four scores.
- Caleb Herring wasn’t his normal, accurate self, completing 27-of-42 passes for 161 yards with a touchdown, but he kept pushing – the offense just didn’t go anywhere in the second half. Fresno State did a nice job of bottling up the Rebel ground game, and Herring and the passing game couldn’t come through.
- The Rebels won’t get bombed on by Nevada’s Cody Fajardo next week, but it could have a problem if the pass rush doesn’t get to him. After this week’s problems against Derek Carr, dealing with San Jose State’s David Fales in two weeks could be a big, big concern in a game the Rebels will need to have.
- Fresno State is making the big offensive performances look routine. It should take more of an effort to get by San Diego State on the road and Nevada to follow, but it’s going to take a strong focus to not start hearing all the BCS talk. The only thing that can beat the Bulldogs is complacency. Carr is too good a veteran to allow that to happen.

Fresno State 61, at Idaho 14
Basically … Fresno State blew up with 47 first half points and a 54-0 lead after three quarters thanks to a huge performance from Derek Carr. The Heisman trophy candidate threw five touchdown passes with three to Davante Adams, all in the first half, and Marteze Waller added two scoring runs. Idaho got fourth quarter touchdown passes from Dezmon Epps and James Baker, but the Bulldog bench had been emptied.
- Derek Carr was unstoppable with one of the greatest first halves any quarterback has ever cranked out. He threw for close to 400 yards and five scores in one half, with Davante Adams operating at will catching 16 passes for 185 yards and a score. Carr was taking target practice.
- It wasn’t just the passing attack – Fresno State ran without a problem, too. Marteze Waller rumbled without a problem carrying the ball 19 times for 157 yards and two scores. The Bulldog O line did whatever it wanted.
- The Idaho defense was a complete and utter disaster, but at least some of the statistics look nice. Safety Bradley Njoku didn’t do anything when the ball was in the air, but he came up with 15 tackles.
- The Fresno State defensive line got into the Idaho backfield time and time again, and the quarterbacks didn’t have any time to work, but Chad Chalich has to be far more careful with the ball. He was sacked six times, completing 14-of-32 passes for 100 yards with a touchdown and three picks.

Fresno State 42, at Hawaii 37
Basically … Fresno State got up 42-3 with relative ease. Derek Carr ran for a score and threw two touchdown passes to Josh Harper from 30 and nine yards away, and L.J. Jones came up with a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown to make the game a laugher – but then Hawaii stormed back. The Warriors scored 34 unanswered points as Sean Schroeder bombed away with three touchdown passes to go along with two Steven Lakalaka scoring runs to pull within five with just over seven minutes to play. Schroeder had a few final shots at the end zone, but his last gasp bomb was picked off by Jones to seal the Bulldog win.
- Call this the wakeup call for Fresno State, even though it didn’t need one after a few close calls against Rutgers and Boise State. The Bulldogs showed why they were so special early on, and then appeared ready to hit the beach. Instead, the defense couldn’t come up with stops and the offense couldn’t stop giving the ball away.
- Hawaii didn’t give up. Instead of lying down and dying after getting obliterated early, the defense kept pushing. There wasn’t much of pass rush, but the five forced turnovers helped turn the game around. Sean Schroeder kept on throwing, and he had his shots late. Even in a loss, this might be the game that starts to turn things around. Maybe.
- The Bulldog pass rush was phenomenal. The D came up with five sacks, with Ejiro Ederaine and Donavon Lewis each coming up with two. It was frightening late, but again, it could be yet another teachable moment for a team that needs to keep its foot on the gas.
- Fresno State turned it over, but Hawaii committed penalties. There were two picks thrown by the Warrior quarterbacks, but the ten flags and the problems on third downs early in the game were the biggest issue.

at Fresno State 41, Boise State 40
Basically … Josh Quezada started out the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown catch, and closed it out a 13-play, 87-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to help Fresno State take a 41-40 lead with just over two minutes to play, but Boise State had one final shot. A Joe Southwick pass at midfield was broken up, and the Bulldogs escaped after blowing a 34-19 lead. Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes including two to Josh Harper, but Southwick kept pressing with 313 passing yards and his one-yard touchdown run helping the Broncos take a 40-34 late to cap off a run of 21 straight points.
- Fresno State might have buckled in the second half, but when Derek Carr needed it, he came up with a tremendous drive to set up the game-winning touchdown. While he wasn’t shy about pushing the ball down the field, he got a lot of help with plenty of time to work and with Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse combining for 22 catches for 258 yards and a score.
- The lack of a pass rush continues to be a problem for the Broncos. They couldn’t get to Carr – who completed 39-of-60 passes for 460 yards and four scores - and it showed with way too much time to relax and find the open man. Beau Martin came up with the team’s only sack; the secondary was forced to do way too much.
- The Fresno State defense might have struggled, and despite the four sacks there were way, way too many tackles made after contact and down the field, but there were some terrific performances. CB L.J. Jones wasn’t necessarily a blanket, but he made 11 tackles with a recovered fumble and four broken up passes. However, it was Jonathan Norton who closed out the game with a terrific broken up pass.
- This might not be a vintage Boise State team, especially on defense, but it kept fighting. Joe Southwick caught fire when he needed to, and Aaron Southwick and Jay Agayi helped kick the ground game into high gear, but the two turnovers were way too costly and the defense couldn’t get off the field late. Fortunately for the Broncos, they might get a second shot in the Mountain West title game.

at Fresno State 41, Cal Poly 25, Sept. 7
Basically … Fresno State took a 34-0 halftime lead helped by two Isaiah Burse punt returns for scores and a 15-yard touchdown catch. Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes on the way to a 41-3 lead, but Cal Poly made the final score look better than the game was with 22 unanswered points on two Chris Brown touchdown runs and a seven-yard scoring pass.
- The Bulldogs didn’t go through the motions early. The final score might make it look like Cal Poly made it a game, but it didn’t. Fresno State was fantastic in all three phases in the first half.
- Derek Carr didn’t have to push the offense too much. He didn’t make any mistakes, spread the ball around, and came up with good scoring drives to put the game out of reach early. It would be nice to get more out of the ground attack that averaged just over four yards per carry, but this offense is going to travel by air all year long.

at Fresno State 52, Rutgers 51 OT, Aug. 29
Basically … Rutgers misfired on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to give Fresno State the win in a wild shootout. The Scarlet Knights had a shot to win in regulation, but Kyle Federico missed a 43-yarder with no time left. In OT, Derek Carr connected with Greg Watson on a 25-yard scoring pass to give Fresno State the lead. Rutgers answered with a four-yard Brandon Coleman scoring catch, but Gary Nova’s two-point conversion pass was batted away.
- How is Fresno State going to get by without running back Robbie Rouse around anymore? It’s going to throw and throw and throw. Derek Carr completed 53-of-74 passes for 470 yards and five scores with an interception.
- Rutgers found its ground game. Paul James tore off 182 yards on 22 carries and cranked out big run after big run. However, Gary Nova was the real star throwing for 348 yards and five scores including three to Leonte Carroo and two to Brandon Coleman.
- It was the first time Fresno State ever had two receivers with double-digit catches in the same game, and it actually had three. Davante Adams caught 14 balls for 148 yards and two scores, Josh Harper made 14 grabs for 94 yards and two touchdowns, and Isaiah Burse caught 13 passes for 118 yards.
- Neither defense was remotely close to stopping the other team’s attack. It was literally a case of the team having the ball last controlling its own destiny. Each team’s pass rush was non-existent, and the quarterbacks took advantage.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited Forget about the complete and total dud of a bowl appearance in Hawaii against SMU; 2012 was special. At the end of the day, the 43-10 loss to the Mustangs might have been the best thing to happen to the Bulldogs to make sure there’s a focus on what has to be done to improve. With eight starters returning on each side of the ball, led by quarterback Derek Carr, this should be the Mountain West’s strongest team with explosion and toughness on offense and aggressiveness on defense. Everything is there to have an even stronger year.

Why To Be Grouchy The personnel losses aren’t massive, but they’re stingers. Robbie Rouse was one of the nation’s most underappreciated backs over the last few seasons, and now he’s off to the NFL. Second-leading rusher Marteze Waller is back, but top backups Milton Knox and Michael Harris are gone. Also gone are safety Phillip Thomas, the nation’s most productive defensive back last year, and linebackers Travis Brown and Tristan Okpalaugo.

What Needs Working On The run defense has to focus on toughening up on the line. It was a terrific front seven at getting into the backfield with a consistently good push, but against the teams that could actually run the ball, there were problems. The overall stats looked good with mediocre ground attacks like Wyoming’s, Hawaii’s and Colorado State’s to face, but Boise State ran without a problem, Air Force rumbles and New Mexico went ballistic. It starts with the outside linebackers in the 3-4 taking away the plays on the outside, but the interior needs to be stronger, too.

Team Concerns For 2013: What was that in the bowl game clunker against SMU? After such a terrific season, the Bulldogs didn't show up when the lights were on, but now there's motivation to come back better and stronger with one of the best teams the program has fielded in several years. Replacing the diminutive Robbie Rouse at running back will be tough, and the main backups are gone, too. The O line needs to be a bit more consistent and stronger with two new starters in the interior, and the linebacking corps has to find a few replacements.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Tight ends. The Bulldogs are setting themselves up for the future at quarterback with excellent prospect Zack Greenlee to develop and JUCO transfer Brian Burrell to provide instant depth behind Derek Carr. Receiver DaMari Scott might be the team's best prospect, but JUCO tight ends Jerin McClendon and Mike Dunn along with prepster Nate Madsen will be major factors in the passing game. Head coach Tim DeRuyter also went after an instant infusion of talent for the secondary with JUCO transfers Rodney Mathews, Donnell Vercher and Tray Hall.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 118 That Class Was Heavy On ... New head coach Tim DeRuyter is speed recruiting, trying to put something together in a short time. The receiving corps got some help in 2010, but more talent and more firepower is needed for 2014 and beyond. DeRuyter’s first job will be to improve the defense, but that’s for the 2013 class. For now, he’s just trying to salvage something out of the short time. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 91. That Class Was Heavy On ... Outside linebackers. The defense found a pass rush last year for the first time in everal seasons, and now the outside linebackers are being brought in to keep the fun going. Donavon Lewis, Ekiro Ederaine, and Kyrie Wilson are the three-star talents, but Lewis is the only one built like a real, live linebacker. The offense didn’t get a bunch of help, but QB Marcus McDade and lightning-fast Dillon Root could pay off right away. 

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 62. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. Even though Derek Carr, the brother of David Carr, is likely the starting quarterback in the very near future, the Bulldogs were able to sign Lester Fontenette, a promising bomber from San Diego, while Kelly O'Brien is a JUCO transfer who might end up being the No. 2 man in the mix for the next few seasons. The dangerous Josh Harper is a big, fast target who combines with another good receiver, Davon Dunn, and the 6-6 Victor Dean to load up the team with receivers. Matt Darr is the nation's best punting prospect.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 78. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebacker. Headlined by local product, Travis Brown, the linebackers were clearly the stars of this class, followed closely by the defensive ends. Pat Su’a and Daniel Salinas move like safeties, while Nat Harrison should be a good one after a little bulking up. On the defensive front, JUCO transfer Donnie Pritchett will be plugged in right away in the rotation, but Nikko Motta could eventually turn out to be better.

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