FRESNO STATE AT NEVADASaturday: Records: Tailgating TV/radio:
KEYS TO SUCCESS
For Fresno State: Frustrate Cody Fajardo. The Bulldogs have limited what the Wolf Pack QB has done as a passer the past two seasons. Do that again, and get off the field on third downs, and their chances improve. He can be erratic, hitting less than 58% of his passes in 5 of 10 games with a low of 41.7% against San Diego State and has tied a season-high with nine interceptions.
For Nevada: Make Brian Burrell prove it. Fresno State’s quarterback took a solid step forward against San Jose State, getting the ball out of his hand on time, throwing to the right spots and taking advantage of opportunities. But the Wolf Pack has reason to be skeptical — Burrell still has hit only 58.1% of his passes with an efficiency rating of 120.90, seventh in the conference — and while Nevada has not been good against the pass (last in the Mountain West), the Wolf Pack have to test Burrell as much as possible.
TAILGATINGCan the run succeed?
But the Bulldogs could have a more difficult time with that against Nevada, which at times will play closed-middle coverages and drop an extra defender into the box. The Wolf Pack have allowed 170.8 rushing yards per game, but have had some solid games against the run in holding San Diego State to 135 yards on 29 plays (well under its average of 205.4) and Colorado State to 119 on 34 plays (the Rams average 166.1 per game and 4.9 per play).
That could put some pressure on quarterback Brian Burrell, but coming off his sharpest game of the season there is less concern than there would have been, say, six weeks ago.
“He’s got to make another step this week,” offensive coordinator Dave Schramm said of Burrell, who hit 20 of 26 passes against the Spartans. “This obviously is a big game and we won’t be at home, we’re going into a hostile environment and they’re going to make him throw the football to beat them if they continue to play like they’re playing, and I don’t see them doing anything different, that’s what their mindset is on defense. So, we have to be able to make some plays in the pass game. But he did a good job (against San Jose State) and I expect him to do a good job this week.”
Some of the Bulldogs like it that way.
“It’s better than hot for some people, including myself,” right guard Cody Wichmann said. “When you step on that Nevada field it makes a crunch noise because the turf is frozen. It can get in your mind a little bit, but we played Nevada two years ago when it was 19 degrees. I don’t think it’s going to be that cold when we go up there Saturday, so I think we’re going to be just fine.”Wobbling on Waller:
In the first 20 1,000-yard seasons in school history, only two of those backs topped 100 yards in more than four consecutive games.
Wendell Mathis had five in a row in 2005, rushing for 1,313 yards. And Ryan Mathews had nine at the start of the 2009 season, finishing with 1,808 yards.Beware late threat: Bowling, party of one: Big boys to battle:
Seau is tied for second in the conference with 6.5 sacks and Hekking (four) is tied for eighth.
“Those kids present matchup problems to everyone they play,” offensive line coach Cameron Norcross said. “I like our tackles and I think we’ll do a pretty good job on them, but we have to go out and play and have a plan just in case they’re causing extra havoc.”
“They are very active, but if we establish the run game and do a good job with them early I think we’ll be all right. But especially up there, you let them get going, they’ll get after you.”Charting:
Harper trails former teammate Isaiah Burse (209) for third all-time.Which one will it be? THIS DATE IN HISTORY
Nov. 22, 1924, vs. College of the Pacific
Forty-four points? That seems like nothing these days in college football, with teams routinely combining for that many and much more in a game.
But a defense allowing just 44 for an entire nine-game season?
Meet the 1924 Fresno State Bulldogs under the direction of Arthur W. Jones, who capped a stellar three-year run of success in his eight-year stay as the team’s first coach with a defensive season to remember.
It remains the program’s all-time low in points surrendered, and on this date the fourth of five shutouts that year was pitched against the College of the Pacific.
Fresno State had problems of its own when it came to offense, scoring 12 or fewer points five times — including two shutouts. And into halftime in Stockton, both defenses remained dominant with a pair of scoreless quarters.
The Bulldogs finally broke through in the third quarter when halfback Elward Mitchell ran in for a touchdown. Preston Williston, the fullback, put the game on ice with a fourth-quarter score and the defense held the rest of the way for a 12-0 victory. Pacific’s best shot had come in the first quarter, but it failed to capitalize on a short field from the 20, stalling out inside the 10.
Williston was a World War I veteran who played first at Stanford before transferring to Fresno State. With the Bulldogs, he also was a baseball catcher and after his playing days went on to coach freshman teams at Fresno State and in 1927 assumed the newly created title of graduate manager of athletic activities.
Jones was 3-4 in the first year of Fresno State football in 1921 but then went 7-1-2 in year 2 ahead of back-to-back 7-2 seasons in 1923-24. He finished 36-26-7 and started the team toward what is a now a 1,000-game history, with the Bulldogs topping that milestone earlier this season in an Oct. 3 home victory over San Diego State.
Learn more about the game while listening to Paul Loeffler on “Gameday Live” beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on KFIG (AM 940).
— The Fresno Bee