Carr leads No. 16 Fresno St. past Nevada 41-23
The game couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start for
Nevada when Kendall Brock ran for an opening drive touchdown in his
first collegiate game in his hometown.
Then the Wolf Pack had to deal with Derek Carr and the Fresno
State offense and things quickly went downhill.
Carr threw for 487 yards to break the Fresno State career
passing record and lead the 16th-ranked Bulldogs to eight straight
wins to open the season for the first time since 1989 with a 41-23
victory over Nevada on Saturday night.
”We have to be realistic and know that we didn’t execute well
enough on both sides of the ball to beat a top-16 opponent,” coach
Brian Polian said. ”When we have opportunities to make plays on
offense and defense, we have to make them in order to beat a top-20
team. There is a small margin to beat a team like this.”
Carr threw three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead
the way for the Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 Mountain West).
Josh Harper had 17 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns and
Josh Quezada ran for 115 yards to move Fresno State to 8-0 for the
fifth time in school history and keep the Bulldogs in the running
to make a BCS bowl game for the first time.
Brock, a Fresno native who grew up going to games here, scored
on a 43-yard run on the opening possession for the Wolf Pack (3-6,
2-4), who have lost four straight games in a season for the first
time since 2001.
”That was great,” Brock said. ”I wanted that to be my first
big run here in Fresno. The fans were heckling us, but that’s OK,
that’s what they do here. I was just glad to get that score.”
Cody Fajardo threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns as Nevada
made it competitive in the second half before faltering late.
”There are no moral victories but we did fight our tails off in
the second half,” Polian said. ”This is where we are. It doesn’t
matter how we got here, it only matters that we’re here now.”
Carr delighted the second straight sellout crowd at Bulldog
Stadium with his 12th career 400-yard passing game but Fresno State
had to sweat out another tight game in the fourth quarter. The lead
wasn’t safe until Colin McGuire kicked his second field goal of the
game with 5:32 left to make it 34-23.
Carr then broke Kevin Sweeney’s career record with a 27-yard
pass to Harper in the closing minutes, giving him 10,821 yards
passing in his career.
”He means a lot to me,” Carr said. ”He was one of the best
quarterbacks to play here. That record has been here forever. As a
Bulldog fan I kind of feel bad but at the same time it feels good.
I don’t think he would mind anyway.”
Marteze Walker ran it in from 3 yards out on the next play for
the exclamation point on the victory with 1:29 to play.
”We’re just trying to score every time we get the ball,” coach
Tim DeRuyter said. ”We don’t worry about style points.”
The Bulldogs are ranked 16th in the BCS standings. To
automatically qualify for a BCS bowl, they need to be the
highest-ranked team from a non-automatic qualifying conference and
finish in the top 12 of the BCS standings. They also can qualify if
they are in the top 16 and finish ahead of a champion from an
The Wolf Pack fought back from a 24-7 halftime deficit with two
scores in the third quarter, getting a field goal from Brent Zuzo
and then a touchdown after going 60 yards in two plays following a
fourth-down stop. Fajardo ran 47 yards on the first play and then
threw a 13-yard TD pass to Brandon Wimberly. The extra point was
blocked by Nikko Motta, keeping the score 24-16 heading into the
The teams traded touchdown passes early in the fourth quarter
with Carr and Harper connecting on a 32-yarder for the Bulldogs.
The Wolf Pack answered with a 32-yarder from Fajardo to Hassan
Henderson that made it 31-23 after Charles Garrett ripped the ball
out of Davante Adams’ hands for a fumble.
Nevada won the coin toss and opted to take the ball to start the
game and it paid off when Brock capped the opening drive with a
burst up the middle that made it 7-0.
The Wolf Pack managed just 68 yards and two first downs the rest
of the first half and trailed 24-7.
Fresno State responded to the opening score quickly. Carr
completed a 57-yard pass to Harper on the first play from scrimmage
after throwing a lateral to Isaiah Burse and then getting it back
on a second lateral. That set up a 5-yard TD pass to Adams.
Harper added a 17-yard score in the closing minute of the half
as he capitalized on Nevada’s focus on Adams, who had nine TD
catches the past three games.