A who's who of Fresno State past are lined up to attend Saturday's homecoming football game at Bulldog Stadium.
Jeff Tedford, the former Cal coach and Bulldogs record-setting quarterback, will serve as an honorary alumni captain. So will Kelly Skipper, the current Oakland Raiders running backs coach and ex-standout Bulldogs bruiser.
Hundreds more who wore Bulldogs red also will be present and honored before the game.
But when it's all done, the greatest ever just might be the current starting quarterback.
Fresno State's record holder in 13 categories, Derek Carr can build upon his legacy with three touchdown passes and 33 completions tonight to break a couple more Bulldogs records. And if he passes for 376 yards, Carr will reach 10,000 career passing yards as he closes in on Kevin Sweeney's career mark of 10,808.
"It's pretty cool," Carr said. "All of the quarterbacks who've been here, a lot of great players have played here. From Tedford to Trent (Dilfer) to Billy (Volek) (to) Dave (Carr), having all the records.
"The one thing when I was a little kid, I wanted to make sure it said Carr at the top somewhere, whether it was Dave or Derek. That's just the competitor in us. I'm fired up to be that close and hopefully have a chance to do those things."
It's all within reach tonight. He averages 372.8 passing yards and 36.6 completions per game, along with 19 passing touchdowns while directing the 17th-ranked Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West). Paul Pinegar, who was at Fresno State from 2000-2005, holds the career completions record at 848 and the all-time touchdowns mark at 84.
UNLV (4-2, 2-0) will try to ruin the celebration and arrives with four straight victories — the Rebels' longest winning streak in the regular season since 1984.
Though on the brink of a record-breaking night, Carr still realizes what's most important as the Bulldogs aim to keep winning, capture a second straight Mountain West title and potentially land in their first Bowl Championship Series game.
"My focus is to get the W," Carr said. "The rest of that stuff will fall into place however it's supposed to."
A win tonight would match Fresno State's 6-0 mark from 2001 — the season that David Carr had the Bulldogs ranked as high as No. 8 before the BCS-buster run came to a halt by the seventh game.
Though this year's Bulldogs would appear to be the favorite in all of their remaining games, tonight begins a four-game stretch against teams currently with a .500 record or better.
Fresno State moved up four spots in last week's Associated Press Top 25 despite being on a bye, benefiting after seven ranked teams lost, including five to unranked or lower-ranked opponents. But rather than gain ground though attrition, the Bulldogs could help themselves further with a more dominating showing similar to their 61-14 victory at Idaho in their most recent game. Fresno State is a 25-point favorite against UNLV.
"Our guys are excited to get started the second half of this season," coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We talked about all the teams that were supposed to win last weekend, if you listen to the media, that lost.
"All that stuff that you're supposed to do this or that, that doesn't matter. What matters is your preparation and how you play on Saturday."
As of Friday evening, Fresno State had sold roughly 34,500 tickets for the game.
With decent walk-up sales, though, today could be the second-largest crowd in DeRuyter's brief tenure. Fresno State sold out its last home game, with an announced crowd of 41,031 for its 41-40 win against Boise State.
The second highest-attended Bulldogs game under DeRuyter was last year's regular-season finale against Air Force (36,240).
** Past Fresno State football players will be honored before the game while on the field, helping form a human, pre-game victory tunnel.
** There will be a moment of silence before the game for Pete Mehas, the longtime Valley leader and California State University Board of Trustees member who passed away last month. Fresno State also will show a video tribute of Mehas during a game break.
** Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian will be honored during the first quarter. Tarkanian played basketball at Fresno State from 1954-55 and coached the Bulldogs from 1995-02. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last month.
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