(17) Fresno State (8-0) at Wyoming (4-4)
Saturday, November 9, 10:15 p.m. (et)
From The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: One of only seven undefeated programs remaining in the Football
Bowl Subdivision, the 17th-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs go on the attack in
Laramie on Saturday night as they challenge the Wyoming Cowboys in Mountain
West Conference action.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-0 for just the fifth time in school history, the
first time since 1989, as they held on to defeat visiting Nevada, 41-23, last
Saturday night. Despite the victory, Fresno State actually dropped in the AP
poll one spot, yet remained at No. 16 in the BCS rankings, which means they
are the top contender outside of the power conferences right now.
As for the Cowboys, they've had plenty of time to prepare for this clash
thanks to a bye on the schedule. However, the team is still trying to figure
out how to get back into the win column for the first time in nearly a month
after losing two straight and three of the last four.
On Oct. 26, Wyoming got caught up in a wild offensive affair with San Jose
State on the road and ended up suffering a 51-44 setback. It was the second
straight game in which the Cowboys had surrendered at least 50 points.
Fresno State captured a 42-14 win in the meeting with Wyoming last year, and
tied the all-time series at four games apiece in the process.
Quarterback Derek Carr continued to show why he has to be considered for some
major postseason honors as he converted 39-of-55 passes for 487 yards and
three touchdowns in last week's win. His favorite target by far was Josh
Harper, who posted a school-record 17 catches for 253 yards and two TDs, while
Davante Adams caught eight balls for 84 yards and a score.
For the first time in a long time, FSU also had a significant presence on
the ground as Josh Quezada ran for a game-high 115 yards on 17 carries.
"We started off pretty well on offense," FSU head coach Tim DeRuyter noted.
"We gave up a quick score on defense, but then really did a good job of
slowing down an explosive offense from Nevada. We didn't start out good the
second half and we have to get that fixed and we will, but we finished strong
and is something we always want to do."
The touchdown that DeRuyter alluded to came on the first drive of the game and
on a 43-yard run that exposed the secondary, but after that the Bulldogs
settled down and limited Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo to just 14 completed
passes, although those connections did lead to 206 yards and a couple of
No matter what happens on defense, the attention still comes back to Carr who
was named a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award it
was announced on Monday. The signal caller is passing for a staggering 382.6
ypg and has delivered 28 touchdowns against only four interceptions. He
currently has a streak of 183 straight pass attempts without a pick, and
earlier this season he had a run of 180 consecutive throws without an INT as
Carr, who is completing better than 69 percent of his passes, has been made to
look good thanks to the efforts of Adams and Harper, the former posting 80
receptions for 888 yards and 14 TDs, the latter turning his 59 grabs into 664
yards and nine scores. Because of the trio, the Bulldogs currently rank eighth
in the nation in scoring at 43.9 ppg.
While the Cowboys have had plenty of time to scheme for Fresno State, the fact
remains that the last two games have been a real challenge for the Pokes on
the defensive side of the ball. Colorado State and San Jose State combined for
eight passing touchdowns and six more on the ground, which means Wyoming was
exploited from all sides.
The team is currently 115th in the country in stopping the run with 236.0 ypg,
but that shouldn't be much of an issue against a Fresno State group that
operates almost exclusively through the air. Then again, Wyoming's pass
efficiency defense has a rating of 151.39 (105th nationally), and that can
only play into the hands of Carr and his dynamic receivers.
On the offensive side, quarterback Brett Smith is capable of carving up
secondaries with his 63.6 percent accuracy, leading to almost 300 ypg. Smith
has 19 TDs against seven INTs at the moment, with Dominic Rufran being his
biggest supporter with 51 catches for 609 yards and seven scores.
Shaun Wick provides some relief for Smith coming out of the backfield, with
the running back producing 776 yards and nine TDs, but if the Cowboys fall
behind in the scoring column, Wick could be taken out of the picture while the
hosts play catch-up.
Going from sunny California to Laramie probably isn't the best move for the
Bulldogs as they try to keep their unblemished record intact, but coach
DeRuyter is still trying to put a positive spin on the trip.
"It is going to be cold, but I reminded our guys in the locker room afterwards
that we were 2-0 last year when it was under 20 degree temperatures and that
is what Bulldogs like is cold weather."
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 35, Wyoming 17
11/06 10:42:03 ET
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