Fresno State (3-2) at Colorado State (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (32,500) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: Local. Home Record: FSU 3-0, CSU 0-2. Away Record: FSU 0-2, CSU 0-2. Neutral Record: FSU 0-0, CSU 1-0. Conference Record: FSU 1-0, CSU 0-1. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The Fresno State Bulldogs hope the days of alternating wins and losses are behind them, as they clash with the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action this weekend at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins.
Under new head coach Tim DeRuyter, the Bulldogs have had a bit of trouble with consistency from week to week, but on a positive note, they are a game above .500 at the moment.
Last Saturday night, Fresno State put together yet another high-powered effort and managed to come away with a 52-40 triumph over San Diego State in the MWC opener. In the last three games the Bulldogs have produced a total of 157 points, boosting their scoring average to 41.8 ppg (16th nationally) thanks to the efforts of quarterback Derek Carr who had the game of his life.
As for the Rams, they continue to have outings that, unlike Carr, they would much rather forget and last week was no different. Since starting out 2012 with a momentous 22-17 victory over Colorado in Denver, it has been all downhill for the Rams who are currently suffering a four-game slide. Last week the team gave up a season-high 42 points as the Air Force Falcons doubled-up on CSU.
In the first quarter this season, the Rams have been outscored by a margin of 61-10, so even if they are able to gather themselves and get on a roll, it is often too late.
According to FSU records, the Rams lead the series by a count of 7-5, although Colorado State records do not include a meeting that the Bulldogs have listed from 1940 that went in favor of CSU, 28-0. Colorado State won a 40-35 decision in the most recent meeting in the New Mexico Bowl back in 2008.
Carr was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, and for very good reason, after throwing for a staggering 536 yards and five touchdowns in the victory over SDSU. Carr, who did have a couple of passes picked off and returned for touchdowns, overcame those mistakes by completing 42-of-56 as he notched the fourth 500-yard passing game in FSU history.
The signal-caller tied the school's single-game mark for passing yards with the help of Rashad Evans, Josh Harper and Davante Adams who all registered at least 100 receiving yards and combined for four scores. Also lending a hand in the scoring column was Ronnie Rouse with a pair of rushing scores.
Defensively, the Bulldogs benefited from five sacks and three interceptions of SDSU's Ryan Katz. Phillip Thomas, now with five picks this season, had two versus the Aztecs, while Andy Jennings registered two sacks and three tackles for loss, to go along with two forced fumbles which was more than enough to earn him MWC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Because of the efforts of Jennings, the Bulldogs are first in the league and 13th nationally with 3.2 sacks per game, their 7.0 TLFs placing second in the conference and tied for 28th in the country. Thomas and his cohorts have cornered the market on turnovers, leading the league and coming in seventh nationally with a plus-1.60 per game.
Colorado State's offensive line has been trying to get on track for a number of years now and appeared to have taken a step in the right direction last week when it allowed just one sack, but that was against an Air Force group that is one of the weakest teams in the country in that department.
Unfortunately for the Rams, having starting quarterback Garrett Grayson out indefinitely with a clavicle injury, it means M.J. McPeek is being thrown to the wolves or, more specifically, the Bulldogs this weekend.
McPeek did have a decent outing against Air Force, converting 22-of-34 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions and a sack, but that all came against a defense that is not none for applying pressure at the line of scrimmage. In order to keep from being blown out this time around, the running game for the Rams will have to be far more productive than it was versus the Falcons when it gained just 129 net yards and a score on 34 attempts.
Obviously, the Rams couldn't afford to run the ball against the Academy while playing catch-up, but it is something the team will have to consider if it doesn't want to be working its way down the depth chart looking for another able body to play quarterback.
If there is a positive for the Rams stemming from their current stats, it is the pass defense which is giving up 208.0 ypg, but if the team fails to get a strong push at the line of scrimmage, that number will surely be inflated once Carr gets through with them.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 41, Colorado State 24
10/03 10:38:46 ET