If ever there were a team that would love to send Boise State to the Big East with a loss, it would be Fresno State. And for that reason, the Broncos best be ready for a battle on the blue turf.
The Broncos have now defeated the Bulldogs six straight times and 10 out of the last 11 meetings between the two schools. It's a streak of ineptitude the Bulldogs would surely like to reverse, as is the school's 16 consecutive losses to ranked opponents.
And this year, Fresno State might just stand a chance.
The Bulldogs throw the ball well behind Derek Carr (yes, he's David's younger brother), who has 1,816 yards, 18 touchdowns, a 71.4 percent completion percentage and just three interceptions on the season. He's a major reason why Fresno State is 14th in the nation in passing yards per game (315.5) and 14th in points scored per game (39.5).
And while Boise State is allowing just 154.8 passing yards per game (sixth-best in the country) and 15.6 points per week (16th in country), Fresno State doesn't rely solely on Carr. Running back Robbie Rouse has rushed for 711 yards and eight touchdowns, so Boise should be prepared to stop him as well.
There's more—Fresno State is pretty good at taking the ball away. While Boise State has forced 17 turnovers on the year, Fresno State has trumped them (and every other team in the country) with 18 takeaways.
Home game or not, Boise can't take the Bulldogs lightly.
If you take away the revenge factor, Fresno State surely brings into this game a multitude of difficulties they may pose the Broncos including one major motivation the Bulldogs have; one that could prove the most dangerous of all.
This is a barometer game for the program, and coach Tim DeRuyter will hope to show that his team is ready to tango with the big boys. But don't take my word for it, he said it himself (via Robert Kuwada of The Fresno Bee):
"I think this game has been a barometer for our program the last few years and it’s part of the reason why some people were disenchanted," DeRuyter said.
"We’re making some strides. But I think in a lot of people’s minds in the city of Fresno and in the Valley, they want to see how we stack up this year, and that’s going to be our challenge to our guys: 'Who are we? We think we have a chance to be pretty good. Let’s find out on Saturday'."
This game means a whole lot to Fresno State. If Boise State underestimates that fact, they'll lose this game.
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