Derek Carr will be back in Bulldog Stadium next month, making yet another memory for Fresno State football fans in a venue where he won his last 13 games as a starter including scintillating victories in his senior season over Rutgers and Boise State.
The record-setting quarterback will have his No. 4 jersey retired in a halftime ceremony of the Sept. 2 season-opener against Incarnate Word, joining six others in school history including his older brother David.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Carr said through his business manager, H Koal. “Walking down that ramp and onto the field every day for practice and games I always saw my brother’s retired jersey number up there, along with the others.
“My dream, my wish, was to be able to contribute and play so well for the university that my number could be placed right near my brother’s.”
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David Carr, who as a senior in 2001 led the Bulldogs to an 11-3 record, won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Draft, had his No. 8 jersey retired in 2007.
Quarterbacks Kevin Sweeney (No. 9) and Trent Dilfer (No. 12), wide receiver Henry Ellard (No. 83), running back Dale Messer (No. 21) and kicker Vince Petrucci (No. 14) also have had their numbers retired.
“It’s an awesome thing,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “I don’t think there’s any better ambassador that we could ask for with Derek Carr. Obviously, what he did on the football field … conference championships, player of the year, numerous school records, academic All-American, so he balanced it on and off the football field, which is always what we’re looking for. Obviously, as he has gone on into the NFL he has done very special things.
“I feel that I have an extra personal gratification of this because when David was here and (Derek) was 5 years old, he was out there and we were doing drops when he was 5 years old with his Nerf football. It’s awesome to see him this many years later having his jersey retired here and being such a great ambassador for our university and our football program.”
Fresno State for a limited time is selling four tickets to the Incarnate Word game in Section 4 for $44, and season ticket holders can request two additional seats at no cost in any of the bench-seat areas in the stadium – the location of those seats will be determined by the ticket office.
In addition, Valley Children’s Hospital will sponsor a commemorative Derek Carr T-shirt giveaway to all fans in attendance.
While at Fresno State, Derek Carr set 27 school records and 41 Mountain West records and became the 19th quarterback in history to throw for more than 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns – 12,842 yards and 113 TDs. His senior season included a 52-51 season-opening victory over Rutgers and a 41-40 victory over rival Boise State, as well as a 69-28 victory over New Mexico in which he hit on 27 of 37 passes (73 percent) for 569 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Carr also threw for six touchdowns in a 62-52 loss at San Jose State that snapped the Bulldogs’ 10-game winning streak to start the season and in his career he threw five touchdown passes in a game five times, three of them at Bulldog Stadium.
The five-touchdown games came in the 52-51 victory at home against Rutgers and a 61-14 win at Idaho in 2013; a 69-14 victory over Colorado and a 52-40 win over San Diego State at Bulldog Stadium in 2012; and a 48-24 victory at Idaho in 2011.
Carr in 2013 also was a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete, only the third in school history to receive that honor.
There are two players on the 2017 roster wearing No. 4 this season – running back Deonte Perry and safety Mike Bell. Future student-athletes will have to request permission from the Carr family to wear No. 4, following a conversation with the head coach. That policy is in place for all Fresno State athletic programs and their retired uniform numbers. For instance, running back Ryan Mathews wore Messer’s No. 21 during his Bulldogs career.
Wide receiver Da’Mari Scott and defensive back Wylan Free are wearing No. 8 this season. None of the other numbers retired by Fresno State are in use this season.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Ready to go
Preseason practice: The Bulldogs have 22 practice dates beginning Tuesday afternoon.
Public invited: The only practice that’s open to the public is Fan Appreciation Day on Aug. 19 at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs will meet fans from 5-6 p.m. and then play their third and final scrimmage from 7-10 p.m.
Season-opener: Saturday, Sept. 2 vs. Incarnate Word at Bulldog Stadium