Tag Archives: Fresno State Bulldogs

Sam Foltz and Nebraska’s Game of Emotions

The game of college football is one of volatile emotions.

The highs of victory and the agonies of defeat, both players and fans have their days and sometimes weeks changed by these emotions. It’s what makes the college game so much better than anything else. Watch a group of young men jump around like little kids after a last second victory and tell me that emotions don’t run high during a game.

However, not all emotions found in a game are a result of the game itself. Sometimes the outside world encroaches in our happy little world of college football.

The outside world gave us a solid reminder of how fragile life was on June 23 of this year. In a single car crash on the way back from a kicking camp in Wisconsin, Nebraska punter Sam Foltz lost his life. Also in the car was former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler who also tragically was killed. Only LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye came away from the accident with his life. We of the Campus Pressbox staff would like to extend our most heartfelt condolences to the families of both Foltz and Sadler.

All it took was wet pavement for these two young men to never make it home again.

Foltz was entering his fourth year of punting for the Cornhuskers after winning the award for the best punter in the Big Ten the previous year. He’d also won Nebraska’s Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award in 2016 and was a four-time member of the university’s scholar-athlete honor roll. Basically, he was an all-around good guy.

Like Billy Joel says, “Only the good die young.”

Nebraska, in an incredible show of class, decided that the memorial that they’d held for Sam Foltz wasn’t enough. In their season opener, Nebraska found themselves in a 4th and 5 situation and needing to punt. The very situation that they’d need Folz for.

The Cornhuskers sent out the punt team but only 10 members of the 11 member team. Missing? The punter. Realizing what was happening, the entire stadium came to its feet. Nebraska let the clock run out in honor of Foltz and in another show of class, Fresno State declined the penalty.

Words don’t really do the situation justice. Just watch the video.

There are grown men openly crying. Banners are being waved. Signs are being pumped in the air. Jimmy Valvano once said that every day you should laugh, think, and have your emotions moved to tears. This is exactly what he’s talking about.

If you don’t feel anything watching that video, I don’t want to know you.

This is one of those moments where you realize just how special sports can be and not in the usual way. How do you think Foltz’s family felt seeing an entire stadium mourning the loss of their son and brother and celebrating his life? Random strangers are standing up and cheering to honor someone that they never actually knew. That’s powerful stuff.

Need another hit? Here’s the 2013 Nebraska spring game where they let Jack Hoffman, a young kid battling brain cancer, play in the game. He’s literally seven years old. And he runs for a touchdown. Both benches hoist him in the air and celebrate this young, fragile life.

Hang on a minute, my eyes are sweating.

Maybe we all view sports the wrong way. We put our hearts and souls into rooting for our teams and hoping they can bring us happiness when they win. Maybe we should be looking for them to bring us happiness in another way and of another type. One more video, I promise, but maybe this is the kind of emotion that we should really hope for sports to bring us.

E-mail Tim at [email protected].

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Image courtesy Wikipedia

The Mountain West’s Best Football Games of 2016

The Mountain West has taken quite the fall from grace. Just ten years ago things looked great, as it was the dominant non-BCS conference. With TCU and Boise State challenging for BCS title appearances, and Utah and BYU very solid programs as well, there were years the MWC was better than some BCS conferences.

Now, Boise State is the only of those four teams still around, and even the Broncos have fallen back to the pack with former coach Chris Petersen now at Washington. It has left a less interesting conference, albeit one that is much more competitive. San Diego State ran away with it in 2015. Will that change this fall? Here are the ten games that will shape the Mountain West in 2016.

10. Fresno State @ Nebraska (Saturday, September 3)

Fresno State wasn’t very good last year, but Nebraska hasn’t exactly been dominating since joining the Big Ten, either. It’s a long shot, but the Bulldogs would earn the Mountain West a huge amount of respect if they can knock off the Cornhuskers in Lincoln on the season’s opening weekend.

9. Utah State @ Boise State (Saturday, October 1)

The unfortunate Chuckie Keeton era is over at Utah State, but replacing him won’t be the Aggies biggest issue. Kent Myers played a good chunk of the season last year and finished with 16 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. He’ll lead an offense with eight starters returning against Boise State in a game between two teams competing for a conference title bid.

8. Nevada @ San Jose State (Saturday, October 15)

These were the only two teams besides San Diego State to even finish .500 in their division last year. The winner of this one will later play the Aztecs with a spot in the conference championship game likely on the line.

7. San Diego State @ Northern Illinois (Saturday, September 17)

Northern Illinois has been the class of the MAC recently, and San Diego State rolled through the Mountain West last year. It may not mean much to most of the country, but this game is for bragging rights over the strength of Group of Five conferences.

6. Boise State @ Oregon State (Saturday, September 24)

Boise State, playing its second consecutive Pac-12 team, gets a bye before this one. The Broncos might be favored and will look for a win to provide the team some momentum and confidence heading into its conference slate.

5. California @ San Diego State (Saturday, September 10)

This is one of the bigger non-conference games among Mountain West teams. The Aztecs will bring in the nation’s second-longest winning streak and look to avenge last year’s 35-7 loss to Cal. It will be much easier with departed Cal quarterback Jared Goff playing on Sundays.

4. Washington State @ Boise State (Saturday, September 10)

Boise State hasn’t been the same team in the past few years that it was when Chris Petersen had them rolling, but the Broncos should improve from their four losses a year ago under third-year coach Bryan Harsin. The Broncos knocked off the Washington Huskies last year and will look to do the same against the Huskies’ rival.

3. San Diego State @ Fresno State (Saturday, October 15)

This in-state battle for San Diego State is against one of the few teams to play them close in 2015. The Bulldogs played a close-ish 21-7 game against the Aztecs and now get them at home. With SDSU’s defense not as dominant as a year ago, Fresno could pull the upset.

2. Nevada @ Hawaii (Saturday, October 1)

Hawaii was pretty dreadful last year and didn’t notch a conference win. They return 17 starters this year though so that streak should end at some point. Will it here? If a Nevada team looking to compete for a conference title game spot overlooks the Warriors, they could be in for a long trip back from the islands.

1. San Diego State @ Nevada (Saturday, November 12)

San Diego State dominated the Mountain West last year, allowing just 90 points in eight conference games. Nevada should have a good offense, but its defense will have to improve after giving up 320 yards rushing to the Aztecs in this match-up last year.

E-mail Jason at or follow him on Twitter @JLindy87

Featured image courtesy Nathan Rupert

Five You Must See: Week Four West Coast Edition

Week four brings with it the official start of conference play.  The Pac-12 takes center stage on Saturday night with multiple games with championship implications in the spotlight.  Since it’s such a big weekend in the west, I thought I’d show some love to the “Best Coast” in this week’s Five You Must See:

Tennessee at Florida 3:30 P.M. on CBS

Before we head out west, let’s get one thing clear.  I’m a sucker for Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson on an autumn afternoon.  Those two are a large part of why I’m such an SEC fan.  It’s hard for an SEC on CBS game not to be one of the five you must see on any given weekend.  The network gets to take their pick and they normally choose wisely.  This game is another example.  Tennessee has one loss already and can’t afford to take another in their conference opener.  Florida is 3-0 to start the season for the first time since 2012.  The Gators are coming off a quality road win over Kentucky that should get their ball rolling as they get set to defend The Swamp.  The Vols have no choice but to be motivated for a game against a team they haven’t beaten since 2004.  If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the South this weekend then watch this game.

California at Washington 5:00 P.M. on Pac-12 Network

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA Today Sports
Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA Today Sports

According to the Pac-12 Network this week, many won’t be able to watch any of the games featured on the channel at all this season.  It’s sad that big business is not allowing the fans to watch the games they want to see, but I guess that’s just the way it is now.  Anyway, the matchup is interesting because you’ve got two mid-tier teams with a chance to fill some open space toward the top of the Pac-12 North.  Cal hung on for dear life in Austin last week and came away with a 45-44 win over Texas.  You’ll want to watch quarterback Jared Goff who continues to impress NFL scouts with his throwing ability.  Washington intrigued me in the second half of their opening game at Boise State.  I want to see how they handle their first big home game of the year.  Tune in for this one if you can.

#9 UCLA at #16 Arizona 8:00 P.M. on ABC

The winner of this game seizes early control of the loaded Pac-12 South.  Both teams are dealing with injuries to their best defensive player.  Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright will likely be a game-time-decision as he nurses a torn meniscus from week one.  UCLA got tragic news on Wednesday when linebacker/ running back Myles Jack went down for the season with what is apparently a much more serious meniscus tear.  Jack is the third defensive starter the Bruins have lost for the season in three weeks.  The Wildcats will certainly be attempting to take advantage of the inexperienced substitutes.  UCLA put an end to the BYU Cougars’ Hail Mary magic last week.  A win here would mean at a top five spot for the Bruins in next week’s AP Poll.  An Arizona victory could vault the Wildcats into the top 10.  Also, College GameDay is in Tucson for just the third time ever so that makes it even more fun.

#18 Utah at #13 Oregon 8:30 P.M. on Fox

Nowadays, everybody wants to talk about the Pac-12, but they act like they forgot about Utah.  The Utes are a good team with a unique style that often gives more talented teams trouble.  Devontae Booker runs the ball as well as anyone in the Pac-12 and the Utes’ front seven stops their opponents from running well at all.  Neither team has officially announced who will start at quarterback on Saturday night, and probably won’t until game time.  Utah’s Travis Wilson injured his shoulder two weeks ago and sat out last week.  The oft-injured Kendal Thompson got the start against Fresno State and might get the ball again this week.  Oregon’s Vernon Adams also did not play last week.  Jeff Lockie filled in adequately against Georgia State.  I’m expecting both original starters to go, but if it comes down to it Oregon would lose more with their backup in than Utah would with theirs.  Hearing Gus Johnson on the call can only make this exciting game more thrilling.  Flip back and forth between this and UCLA-Arizona.

#19 USC at Arizona State 10:30 P.M. on ESPN

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

The night cap is too close to call.  So, just like on election night, you’ll have to stay up in order to get your satisfaction.  USC is a five and a half point favorite, but ask yourself, “Do you truly trust the Trojans on the road in a game they’re favored to win?”  After last week’s debacle against Stanford maybe people will finally pump the brakes on the Trojan train.  Not to mention how good Arizona State can still be.  Sure, the Sun Devils got off to a lousy start by losing to Texas A&M and didn’t do much beyond what was necessary against Cal Poly and New Mexico.  However, it would be foolish to discount the ability of Arizona State’s playmakers.  Speaking of offensive prowess, boy do the Trojans have a matchup nightmare in JuJu Smith-Schuster, whose 434 receiving yards are good for third in the nation.  USC head coach Steve Sarkisian showed us earlier this year that he, like California, knows how to party.  Now let’s see if he knows how to coach in weighty road games.

The “Better as a Basketball Game” of the Week

Photo: Joe Maiorana - USA Today Sports
Photo: Joe Maiorana – USA Today Sports

West Virginia hosts Maryland this Saturday at 3:00 on Fox Sports 1.  That’ll be a decent watch, I guess, but imagine if it were a basketball game.  Now, all of a sudden you have #18 West Virginia hosting #16 Maryland (according to last year’s final rankings) in a rematch of last year’s third round NCAA Tournament game.  That’s a matchup worthy of primetime.  Unfortunately the football version is nowhere near as big.  In the winter these two are must-see, but in the fall they’re easily skippable.

Pipeline: Week Three Injury Report

Malik Zaire, QB, Notre Dame- Fractured ankle, out for season

Tragedy struck again for the Irish last weekend.  Running back Tarean Folston was lost for the season in week one.  Now Notre Dame will be playing with their second option at quarterback as well.  Zaire hopes to be back for spring ball, but the Irish have a real identity crisis on their hands in the meantime.  Oh, and the 14th ranked Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech comes to South Bend this Saturday.

Connor Mitch, QB, South Carolina- Sprained shoulder and hip pointer, 4-6 weeks

Photo: Gerry Melendez
Photo: Gerry Melendez

It’s all bad news for South Carolina.  Not only did they lose to the lowly Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, they also will be without their starting quarterback for some time.  Mitch was removed from the game and taken to the hospital because of the shoulder injury.  Once there, doctors discovered the additional injury to his hip that is believed to have happened in week one.  The pair of ailments will keep Mitch on the sideline for at least a month, probably closer to a month and a half.  The Gamecocks are headed to Athens on Saturday for a date with #7 Georgia.

Curt Maggitt, LB, Tennessee- Hip injury, out indefinitely

This one hurts a lot.  The Vols will be without the guy head coach Butch Jones calls the “heart and soul” of the team for who knows how long.  The stud linebacker suffered a “freakish” injury on a punt return play in the first half against Oklahoma.  Tennessee lost in overtime to the Sooners, but this personnel loss will hurt them more.  Luckily, they have a glorified bye against Western Carolina this Saturday to figure out who will step up to fill his spot.

Josh Hosley, CB, Auburn- Torn ACL, out for season

Photo: Albert Cesare/ Montgomery Advertiser
Photo: Albert Cesare/ Montgomery Advertiser

The Tigers nearly found themselves on the losing end of the biggest point spread loss in college football history last Saturday against Jacksonville State.  Auburn was favored by 45.5 points and needed overtime to sneak out a 27-20 victory.  Their pride was not the only thing hurt.  Josh Hosley tore the same ACL he did in 2013 and will miss the remainder of the season.  The senior has not redshirted yet, so he does have that option available to him.  Auburn plays at #13 LSU this weekend.

Vernon Adams, QB, Oregon- Broken finger, will play this week

As it turns out, there was a reason why Vernon Adams overthrew his wide-open receiver with less than a minute and a half to play against Michigan State on Saturday night.  He was playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, an injury suffered in week one and kept under wraps.  Adams refused to use the injury as an excuse for his sub-par performance, and said he will continue to play through it.  The Ducks host Georgia Southern on Saturday afternoon.

Lo Falemaka, TE and Marcel Brooks-Brown, RB, Utah- Gunshot wounds, return unclear

Having already played their game on Friday, Utah players Lo Falemaka and Marcel Brooks-Brown were out having fun at a party last Saturday night when an altercation broke out and they were both shot in the torso.  Brooks-Brown has already been released from the hospital and Falemaka is expected to follow suit within the week.  Head coach Kyle Whittingham has been hesitant to say much about their possible return to the field.  Let’s just be thankful both these guys are going to be alright.  Utah is at Fresno State this Saturday.

Top 5 USC 2014 Moments

What a year it has been.

As the season comes to an end, and USC prepares to play Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl (which I breakdown here), I think it is a worthy time to take a look back at how we’ve gotten here.

I’ve broken down USC’s season and chosen the top 5 moments of the year. Yes, all of the moments are represented by wins, not single moments during individual games.

The Moments:

Moment No. 5

USC vs. Cal

This game features a classic rivalry (although Cal hasn’t beaten SC in FOREVER), and it was featured during primetime on a Thursday night. It was tough bidding for a so-so Cal team coming into Los Angeles, and the Trojans proved overwhelming. A 31-9 halftime lead was more than enough to solidify a victory, even with a late garbage time rally from Cal. Cody Kessler tossed 4 TD’s and threw for 371 yards, and Nelson Agholor amassed 216 yards and 2 TD catches. The Trojans roll, beating Cal for the 11th straight time.

Final score: USC 38, Cal 30.

Moment No. 4

USC vs. Fresno State

This game was fun in that it was a rematch of last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, but with Derek Carr having entered the draft the Bulldogs just weren’t up to the task of matching USC’s powerful offense. Troy romped all over Fresno State to a huge victory. It was the first game of the season, a great way to start the year for USC. Kessler threw for 394 yards and 4 TD’s and Javorius Allen ran for 133 yards with one TD of his own. The game set the precedent for the toughness of USC and the Pac-12, at that point 6 Pac-12 teams were in the Top 25.

Final Score: USC 52, Fresno State 13

Moment No. 3

USC at Arizona

This was a great game because the Wildcats were ranked #10 in the nation and USC had just fallen out of the Top 25 after a crushing loss to Arizona State. Arizona was undefeated, and a buzz had just begun to grow about their worthiness in the Pac-12 conversation. USC came out and proved all the doubters (of Arizona) correct. A 28-13 lead entering the fourth quarter was narrowly enough to hold on for the victory as USC jumped back into the Top 25, landing at 22. This game was great for USC until the fourth quarter, when they would have lost the game if Arizona hadn’t missed a field goal after recovering an onside kick. In all honesty, I never doubted a USC win in that game; the late comeback caught me off guard. Still, knocking off the No. 10 team in the country gained Troy some respect after a few tough losses.

Final Score: USC 28, Arizona 26.

Moment No. 2

USC at Stanford

I think these final two moments are fairly easy to choose. Moment No. 2 comes in as USC faced off against rival Stanford in Palo Alto.  USC and Stanford were ranked 14 and 13 respectively coming into the game, and despite being in week 2 this one had huge Pac-12 implications. Coming into the game, I don’t think anyone expected a defensive battle, but that’s what it was. Stanford only managed to score in the second quarter, but at halftime they led 10-7. A third quarter field goal by USC K Andre Heidari tied the game up at 10, and eventually a 53 yarder by Heidari put the Trojans up for good with less than 3 minutes left. The win snapped Stanford’s 17 home game winning streak, and really set the tone for Stanford’s year (1-5 against ranked teams).

Final Score: USC 13, Stanford 10.

Moment No. 1

USC vs. Notre Dame

This was too easy. The Irish are USC’s second greatest rival, and have played the Trojans pretty well over the past few years. No one really expected the blowout this game provided. USC jumped out to a 35-0 halftime lead as Kessler became the first QB to ever throw for 5 TD’s in a half against the Irish. But it didn’t stop there, as USC put up two more TD’s before the game ended. Notre Dame QB Everett Golsen looked helpless, and Kessler finished the day with 372 yards and 6 touchdowns. Six different players scored TD’s for the Trojans, as Notre Dame only managed 7 points before garbage time really began. USC took home the Jeweled Shillelagh and effectively knocked the Irish out of the Top 25 for good.

Final Score: USC 49, Notre Dame 14.

It’s been a tough year for the Trojans, but there were definitely plenty of moments that stood out as memorable.

2015 NFL Draft Prospects (WR edition)

imageThe 2014 NFL Draft produced a bumper crop of talented wide receivers. With three of the first twelve picks of the draft, five in the first round and twelve receivers selected in the first two rounds; it would be improbable for this year’s group to be as top heavy as last year’s class. The class of 2015 may not produce a Sammy Watkins type of franchise receiver; but it should be talent laden with great depth into the latter rounds.

Ty Montgomery, Stanford, Sr. 6’2 215

Montgomery enjoyed a stellar 2013 for the PAC 12 Champions with 2,208 all purpose yards, earning consensus All American accolades as a kick returner. As a wide receiver (WR) Montgomery proved to be a formidable force against PAC 12 defensive backs, with 61 receptions for 958 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns; the Ty Montgomery draft buzz is deafening. He combines good speed with surprising shake and agility that belies a man of his stature. Montgomery is a legitimate deep threat that shows good burst after the catch. He thrives in David Shaw’s quick screen attack, where Montgomery utilizes his size and strength to break tackles, for huge gains. The preseason Maxwell, Biletnikoff, and Hornung watch lists include Montgomery. Unfortunately for Ty Montgomery the injury list also includes him. Montgomery missed all of spring practice due to surgeries on his knee and arm that are expected to sideline him for the first couple of games in 2014. If Montgomery can recover and come close to replicating the 2013 magic, look for him to be a first round pick next spring.

Antwan Goodley, Baylor, Rs Sr. 5’10 225

The pass happy Baylor offense continues to put up video game statistics and in 2013 Antwan Goodley was one of its primary beneficiaries. The Midland, Texas native (Midland High) enjoyed a breakout year with 71 receptions for 1,339 yards (109.9 per game) and 13 touchdowns; earning him All Big 12 First Team honors. While Goodley isn’t blessed with sprinter speed, he runs crisp routes and is phenomenal after the catch. He’s as tough to bring down as any receiver in the country and at 225 pounds he’s the equivalent of a power back lined up in the slot. With a decent 40 time at the NFL Combine in February, I project Goodley as a 3rd-5th round pick.

Josh Harper, Fresno State, Rs Sr. 6’1 184

The draft stock of Josh Harper depends on who can emerge and fill the void left by QB Derek Carr (2nd round pick Raiders). If Brian Burrell or Zack Greenlee can ascend to the heights Carr’s offense reached in 2013, it bodes well for Harper’s immediate future. In 2013 Harper lined up primarily in the slot, flanked by Davonte Adams (2nd round pick Packers) and Isaiah Burse (UFA Broncos); 2014 will be the year for him to be the feature receiver in Fresno State’s high powered attack. Harper had 79 receptions for 1,011 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2013; earning him a 2nd Team All MWC distinction.

Deontay Greenberry, Houston, Jr. 6’3 198

When I watch college football and subsequently evaluate prospects, future NFL players usually jump off the screen at me. Deontay Greenberry is that type of standout prospect whose talent is undeniable. The first 5 star (Scout.com) recruit ever to sign with the Cougars, Greenberry thrived in Offensive Coordinator Doug Meacham’s no huddle attack in 2013. Greenberry had 82 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns last season; earning him First Team All AAC. He starts this season on the Biletnikoff and Maxwell watch lists. With a healthy and productive season look for Greenberry to declare early for the draft and be a 1st-2nd round draft pick.

Amari Cooper, Alabama, Jr. 6’1 202

A toe injury hampered Cooper last season but he still managed 45 receptions for 736 yards in Alabama’s conservative offense. As a freshman, Cooper exploded on the national stage for 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns for the 2012 National Champions; earning Freshman All American accolades. The Miami (Northwestern HS) native needs to remain healthy and put up numbers similar to his freshman season, to ensure his place at the top of this year’s receiver class.

DeVante Parker, Louisville, Sr. 6’3 209

imageThe homegrown (Ballard, HS) Parker enjoyed a stellar season with 12 touchdown receptions in 2013. Parker lacks elite straight line speed but possesses great body control, soft hands, and superior athleticism that allows him to high point the football. Parker makes an abundance of catches when he is well covered. He has an uncanny knack for using his big frame to position himself to make the play. I look for Parker to thrive in Bobby Petrino’s offense and continue to elevate his draft stock.
There are lots of games to be played, film to be scrutinized, and workouts to go through before next year’s draft. All six of these receivers have separated themselves with their previous body of work, enough to be on the NFL radar. Follow me on twitter @purebredwarrior for random ruminations about draft prospects, football, pop culture or whatever else comes to mind.

Two is a Tango for Fresno State

Packers steal Adams.

Is this the future QB in Oakland?

With a 10-win season behind them, Fresno State is prepared to move on with some of its top offensive player’s from the past two seasons. With six Bulldogs having a shot at being drafted, just two were.

Derek Carr and Davante Adams, a duo that nobody could stop in two years in the Valley, both got taken in the second round and not too far apart.

 

This terrible twosome only played two seasons’s together in Fresno, but Adams caught 38 touchdown passes from Carr in that time with over 3000 yards receiving. Adams also had an unbelievable 24 touchdown catches this past season, including a 221-yard, 4 touchdown performance against UNLV, which are both school records.

The Green Bay Packers selected Davante in the second round, and he couldn’t have found a better team to play for. They have Aaron Rodgers, who just won the MVP a few seasons ago, and he comes into a high-powered offense that is playoff-ready. He will likely be the third receiver behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

The sophomore wide receiver shattered records at his short stint at Fresno Sate, and his entry into the draft leaves next year’s Bulldogs team in need of a big play-maker. They also lost Isiah Burse, a senior WR who went undrafted but got a rookie free-agent deal, as well as TE Marcel Jensen. They return Josh Harper, who had an impressive 2013 season but not much else besides him at the WR position. Time will only tell what DeRuyter can do with his group of recruits.

As for Derek Carr, his entry into the draft was expected as he was a senior this season, but the void he leaves behind will be hard to fill. He threw for over 5000 yards this past season with a ridiculous TD/INT ratio of 50 to 8. All the game-winning drive he led, the two-minute drills, and all the great throws we saw from him will be missed. Luckily for Fresno State, they received a transfer from Duke to come in and grab the starting QB position for the Bulldogs. Brandon Connette, a 6 foot 2 quarterback whose hometown is in Corona, just a few hours from Fresno, comes in as a hot commodity to this Bulldogs program. He had a outstanding year last season, leading Duke to its first 10-win season in more than 20 years, and his versatility with give Coach DeRuyter another great offensive weapon. Connette also has a mobile side to him, and he rushed for 13 touchdowns last year for the Blue Devils.

In an offseason of questions galore for Fresno State, they have found their starting man in Connette, who will more than likely come in an grab the job.

As for Derek Carr, his next year or two might be a bit of an adjustment. His position with the Raiders is yet to be determined, but he will likely battle for the backup position with Matt Schaub certainly being the clear starter. Barring an injury, which isn’t unlikely considering Schaub’s recent history, Derek will absorb and learn from him in the upcoming season, and then take over the job next season once Schaub leaves via free agency.

Derek Carr and Davante Adams will be in the NFL together, and perhaps the others will too, but for now two is a tango for the Bulldogs. While Carr will likely be holding a clipboard, Adams will be practicing his Lambeau Leaps and will have to adjust to playing in the snow and freezing temperatures. As a matter of fact, these two teams will play each other this preseason, and this will make for a reunion of the two Bulldog stars.

All the times Adams and Carr have strutted into the endzone at Bulldog Stadium will be greatly missed, but I look forward to seeing them be successful in the NFL.

 

 

 

The Campus Corner: The Under "Dogs"

As of this moment, there are 14 undefeated teams left in college football. That number will surely dwindle as the season moves forward, with undefeated teams battling in the coming weeks, but there are two “undefeateds” in particular that may have the unique opportunity to make history while finishing the year without a loss.

Those two squads are the 5-0 Fresno State Bulldogs and the 6-0 Northern Illinois Huskies.

For the Bulldogs, the opportunity to go undefeated for the first time since 1961 while the Huskies have the chance to qualify for their second straight BCS Bowl Game as well as complete their first undefeated season since 1963.

With two squads with such similar history, which one will claim an undefeated campaign in 2013? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Thus far, Fresno State has beaten Rutgers, Cal Poly, Boise State, Hawaii and Idaho, by  margin of 237-167. Twice, against Rutgers and Boise State, Fresno State has kept their undefeated run alive in a single-point victory. Both of those instances came at home and both of those instances resulted in at least 40 points for Fresno’s opponent.

While the defense has been suspect, the Fresno State offense and quarter back Derek Carr- brother of former no.1 NFL Draft Pick, David Carr- have lit up the scoreboard, averaging 47.4 points per contest. Carr has emerged as one of the nation’s most prolific-yet-underrated passers, accumulating 1,864 yards through the air with a 70.7% completion percentage and 19 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Jordan Lynch and the Northern Illinois Huskies have complied an undefeated mark of their own and have defeated two Big Ten opponents in the process. The Huskies squeaked out a victory against Iowa in their opener by final score of 30-27 before thrashing Purdue three weeks later, 55-24.

Northern Illinois has scored just a single point more in one less game than Fresno State on the year, but has allowed just two more points than Fresno in that same span. Lynch has been on par with Carr, but the Huskies quarterback has proven to be as good a rusher as he is a passer, something that Carr is unable to boast. On the season, Lynch has compiled 1,333 yards passing with a 60.5 completion percentage and 13 touchdowns, but has also rushed for 616 yards and 4 touchdowns compared to Carr’s 58 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground.

As the numbers show, these teams are incredibly similar. Both struggle on defense, both have incredible quarterbacks, both have beaten big time out of conference opponents and both are undefeated.

So who is going to finish on top when it’s all said and done?

Well, honestly, the schedules are very manageable for both.

Northern Illinois will face six teams with 15 combined wins- six of which are Ball State’s- to end the season while Fresno State has seven games remaining with teams that have combined for 21 wins thus far.

Both teams seem primed for big runs, but at the end of the day only one of these two BCS underdogs will finish undefeated. That team will be the Northern Illinois Huskies.

While Northern Illinois does have the toughest task of either team remaining on the schedule- a home matchup with the 6-1 Ball State Cardinals- the rest of their run should be a breeze. Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Massachusetts, Toledo and Western Michigan line up quite favorably for Northern Illinois and should help them to finish their undefeated season before heading to the MAC Championship Game in Detroit, Michigan.

Fresno State, on the other hand, doesn’t have a particularly dominant foe, rather, they play mediocre football teams each and every week for the rest of the way. They’ve also shown more so than Northern Illinois that they are vulnerable to great offenses and could therefore be clipped in one of their four remaining away games against decent offense attacks.

Their test this weekend against UNLV, as well as their battle with the Wyoming Cowboys,could prove to be big tests as both teams have only lost two games this season. Three of their combined four losses came against teams from BCS qualifying conferences. While Fresno State may have the upper hand in each meeting, they’re certainly not immune to have a defensive pitfall.

Overall, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for both of these teams to finish the season without a loss. However, it just seems unlikely that Fresno State can complete the task.

Remember, Northern Illinois has essentially been here before. Last season, Lynch lead the Huskies to 11 straight wins and the Orange Bowl after a loss to Iowa in their opener.

Carr and the Bulldogs don’t have that experience and may suffer for it.

These teams will prove to be some of the most interesting to watch down the stretch and deserve the attention of college football fan’s around the country, whether both or neither finish undefeated.

Eventually, America will eat this story up. After all, everyone loves an under “dog”.