#35 Fresno State Football 2013 Preview

Fresno State Bulldogs

Overall Rank: #35
#2 Mountain West

Fresno State Team Page#35 Fresno State Football 2013 PreviewBuy Fresno State Football Tickets

Fresno State finished off the 2012 campaign on a sour note, falling to SMU 10-43 in the Hawaii Bowl, but overall it was a great first season for Coach Tim DeRuyter. The Bulldogs finally won at least a share of the conference title. With a year in the system, the Bulldogs should only get better. There are some key players to replace and the new regime is still building depth, yet this is a Fresno State squad that will compete for another Mountain West title.

2012 Record: 9-4, 7-1
2012 Bowl: Hawaii Bowl vs. SMU (L 10-43)
Coach: Tim DeRuyter (9-4 at Fresno State, 9-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Schramm
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Toth

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marteze Walker, RB, 174 yards
Passing: Derek Carr, QB, 4,104 yards
Receiving: Devante Adams, WR, 1,312 yards
Tackles: Derron Smith, S, 79
Sacks: Andy Jennings, DE, 5.5
Interceptions: Derron Smith, S, 6

Other Key Returnees: WR Isaiah Burse, WR Josh Harper, WR Victor Dean, TE Marcel Jensen, OL Austin Wentworth, OL Lars Bramer, OL Cody Wichmann, CB Sean Alston, CB L.J. Jones, LB Donavon Lewis, LB Patrick Su’a, DL Tyeler Davison

Key Losses: RB Robbie Rouse, WR Rashed Evans, K Quentin Breshears, S Philip Thomas, LB Travis Brown, LB Tristian Okpalaugo

Derek Carr threw for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2012 and that number should only keep getting better as the new system becomes more and more familiar. The big yards are nice, but Carr is also a very accurate passer, completing 67.3 percent of his attempts and throwing a mere seven interceptions. Considering he attempted 511 passes, only throwing seven interceptions is quite impressive. Carr will have plenty of targets to work with. Davante Adams caught 102 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. He is an amazing athlete who can make some great catches. He will be a bit tougher this year too. Isaiah Burse also returns after catching 57 passes for 851 yards and six scores. He will get to spend more time in the slot this year with the return of Josh Harper and Victor Dean, both of whom missed much of the 2012 campaign with injuries.  Add players like promising sophomore Dillon Root, junior Anthony Riggins and Greg Watson and this is the one spot on the team where depth will not be an issue. Tight end Marcel Jensen is a big target in the red zone and four of his 20 catches ended up in the end zone. On the other side of the ball, Fresno State did a superb job creating turnovers. The team picked off 22 passes and recovered 13 fumbles. Safety Derron Smith and cornerbacks Sean Alston and L.J. Jones will keep the interceptions coming, while end Andy Jennings will again force quite a few fumbles and errant passes.

However, without Phillip Thomas the defense could be less potent. Thomas led the Bulldogs with 84 tackles and 12.0 tackles-for-loss. He also was a huge reason why Fresno State was able to win the turnover battle with such consistency. During his senior season he intercepted eight passes and forced four fumbles. Coach DeRuyter deserves a ton of credit for turning this group into a bunch of ballhawks. Nose guard Tyeler Davison gets all started in the middle of the line in the 3-4 scheme and blitzes come from all around. The linebackers are pretty young though and leadership without Thomas could become an issue. The unit will give up some yards on the ground. If the opposition can keep the Bulldog’s potent offense under control and not be forced to go to the air to play catch up, this can be a vulnerable defense. The concern on offense is that the lack of depth on the offensive line will not help break in a new running back to replace Robbie Rouse. He rushed for 1,490 yards and a dozen touchdowns during his senior season. This is a team that will set up the run with the pass, so Rouse had holes. However, he was also a very good back so the defense had to watch him. It becomes much easier to drop back into coverage and defend against the pass if you are not worried about the running back picking up a huge chunk of yards. Josh Quezada, a transfer from BYU, and Marteze Waller should take over the running back job. Waller rushed for 174 yards on 41 carries as Rouse’s backup a year ago and is a capable power back.

The Bottom Line:
This will be another good season for Fresno State. The schedule is not particularly difficult and they get Boise State at home, who beat the Bulldogs 20-10 in Boise last season. That early conference game could decide who ends up on top of the Mountain West in the end. Win or lose against the Broncos, this is a team with a potent offense and a big play defense that can run the table in October and November. If everything goes right and Fresno State comes out of the gate hot and can beat Rutgers, Colorado and Boise State in September, this could be a very special season.

Projected Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 151.92 (67th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 325.62 (12, 1)
Total Offense: 477.54 (16, 2)
Scoring Offense: 37.92 (17, 1)
Rushing Defense: 171.69 (71, 3)
Pass Defense: 167.15 (2, 1)
Total Defense: 338.85 (22, 2)
Scoring Defense: 23.85 (37, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.15 (7, 2)
Sacks: 3.08 (9, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (78, 7)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#58 Derek Carr


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