Fresno State Seeks First MWC Championship Win, Shortlist for Boise State Job

By Debbie B.

With a BCS dream unlikely now an option, #24 Fresno State (10-1, 7-1) will look to win Saturday’s first Mountain West championship game as its consolation prize when it hosts Utah State (8-4, 7-1).

Last week the Bulldogs saw their perfect season end when they lost 62-52 at San Jose State (6-6,5-3). This likely ended their BCS chances but as fate would have it, #14 Northern Illinois lost to Bowling Green on Friday night, 47-27, and saw the end of their BCS bowl dreams.

Is there a glimmer of hope for the Bulldogs to get into a BCS game? On Saturday, the media pundits have Baylor getting their chance or maybe a Pac-12 team, with the Bulldogs likely headed to the Las Vegas Bowl.

But along with winning the conference title game, Fresno State will have an opportunity on Saturday to again hit a school record-tying win at No. 11. Since the beginning of last season, the Bulldogs sit 12-0 on their home field and haven’t lost two straight games since Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 2011, according to Stats LLC.

Derek Carr
Derek Carr

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr said of Saturday’s game via, “My main goal is to bring home a conference championship. Not watch another team celebrate on our field.”

One of the keys to the Bulldogs success has been Carr. In last week’s game, he passed for 519 yards with six touchdowns and one pick but the team’s defense imploded, giving up 736 yards of total offense and its greatest number of points for this season.

Overall, it’s been a great season for Carr, a fifth-year senior ready to head to the NFL. He is the FBS leader with his 45 touchdowns and 405.6 passing yards per game. In 31 straight games, he has thrown a minimum of one touchdown pass, which represents the longest active streak nationally.

To date, he has thrown for 4,467 yards and five picks; he will leave Fresno State with numerous records.

But how will he play against Utah State’s defense? It’s  No. 7 in the country for points allowed (16.8 points per game) and No. 13 for total yards allowed each game. They will go up against Fresno State’s No. 4 scoring offense (47.3 points per game).

The Aggies will need to slow Carr down, along with his top wide receiver, Davante Adams, who is tops in the nation with his 22 touchdown passes; he sits with 113 receptions for 1,477 yards.

In a case of polar opposites, for the Aggies, they have freshman signal caller Darrell Garretson. He took over for the injured starter Chuckie Keeton, and under his lead, the team has won their previous five games. In last week’s 35-7 win over Wyoming (5-7, 3-5), Garretson passed for 156 yards and three touchdowns, tying a season high.

His running back, Joey DeMartino, rushed for 112 yards and one touchdown.

For Saturday’s game, history is not on Utah State’s side. Fresno State has won five straight games and the last eight of nine. This game will also represent their first one as members of the Mountain West conference.

After last week’s loss, Fresno State will be hungry for a win and will get it (-2.5, 60.5 o/u).

In other news…

Boise State
Boise State

On Friday, Washington (8-4, 5-4) announced that Boise State’s (8-4, 6-2) Chris Petersen will take over as its head coach.

In his eight seasons with the school, Petersen went 92-12 and led the Broncos to two Fiesta Bowl titles. But this year he hit a slump, suffering his worse season of his tenure. This included a 38-6 loss against Washington.

So who’s on the list to replace Petersen?

According to USA Today, history says the hire could come internally but here’s a short list:

Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier

Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter

Boise State: defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and offensive line coach Chris Strausser

Former California coach Jeff Tedford

Former Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease

Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox