Quick Look: New Mexico vs. Fresno St.

Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

The New Mexico Lobos look to regain their winning ways when they host Mountain West newcomers the Fresno State Bulldogs this Saturday. The Bulldogs are enjoying a resurgent year and need just one win to become bowl eligible after missing the postseason last year - their last year in the Western Athletic Conference

GAME 9: New Mexico Lobos vs. Fresno St. Bulldogs

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 27, 1:30 p.m. MT (12:30 PT)

WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM (39,224)

CONFERENCES: Fresno St., New Mexico - Mountain West Conference

WEB SITES: New Mexico Football | Fresno St. Football

2012 SEASON: UNM 4-4, 1-2 MWC) | Fresno St. 5-3, 3-1 MWC

COACHES: New Mexico: Bob Davie 4-3 at UNM (1st year), 39-28 overall (6th year) | Fresno St.: Tim DeRuyter 5-3 at FSU (1st year), 5-3 overall (1st year).

TV: Comcast SportsNet California – Comcast – Fresno Ch. 34 (721 HD, Albuquerque Ch. 77; DirectTV Ch. 698; Dish Network Ch. 409; AT&T U-Verse Ch. 767 (1767 HD)

WEB STREAMING: none

RADIO: UNM - Lobo Radio Network / KKOB 770 AM (Flagship, English) | ESPN Deportes ABQ (KRZY)1450 AM (Flagship, Spanish) | Fresno State – Bulldog Sports Network / KMJ 580 AM Flagship, English) | ESPN Deportes 1600 AM.

LIVE STATS & AUDIO WEBCAST: UNM - golobos.com | FSU – gobulldogs.com

SERIES RECORD: 13th meeting. FSU leads 8-4

LAST MEETING: Oct. 31, 1998 in Albuquerque, NM – FSU 28-20

The Bulldogs are enjoying a resurgent season under first year head coach Tim DeRuyter and are looking to become bowl eligible this week against the Lobos, who were a couple of plays away from a MWC road win at Air Force last week. Fresno St. bounced back from a loss at Boise State two weeks ago by racing out to a 35-0 and laying a 42-14 beat down on Wyoming last week.

THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT – FRESNO ST.: Fresno State comes into game with the second-ranked run defense in the Mountain West will be tested by New Mexico’s Pistol option running attack. The Lobos are second in the league and rank fifth nationally in rushing at 296.9 yards per game while the Bulldogs only allow 150.1 yards per contest on the ground. While the FSU defense will be tested primarily by the run, the Bulldogs offense will seek to take advantage of UNM’s woes at defending the passing game. New Mexico ranks 85th national in defending the pass, allowing 254.2 yards per game through the air and they give up 413.9 yards of total offense per game.

ON OFFENSE: Quarterback Derek Carr ranks third nationally with 22 touchdown passes and is fifth in total passing yards with 2,350. Carr, who is completing 68.1 percent of his passes this year, became the eighth quarterback in Bulldog history to pass for over 6,000 yards in a career last weekend with a 32-for-48 passing performance against Wyoming, tallying 268 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Senior running back Robbie Rouse became the first player in school history to rush for over 4,000 yards in a career against Wyoming. Rouse, who owns seven school records, is closing in on his third 1,000-yard rushing season. He has rushed 177 times this year for 879 yards and eight touchdowns, and he ranks 21st nationally with 109.9 yards per game. Rouse needs just 121 yards for 1,000, which would make him the first Bulldog to ever gain over 1,000 yards in three separate seasons.

ON DEFENSE: Senior safety Phillip Thomas forced his third fumble of the season and intercepted his seventh pass last weekend. Thomas leads the nation in interceptions and has tied the MW record for most picks in a season.

Defensive end Andy Jennings had two tackles for a loss and four total tackles last weekend in the win over Wyoming – he has tallied 10 tackles for a loss this season, emerging as the Bulldogs’ top play maker on the defensive front. He is tied for the lead in forced fumbles this season with four and is fifth in the MWC in sacks with 4.5.

NOTES: Fresno State is in its first season as a member of the Mountain West, having officially joined the conference on July 1, 2012. The Bulldogs were picked to finish third in their first year in the league in the preseason poll. The two previous times a new school joined the Mountain West (TCU in 2005 and Boise State in 2011), the new league member won the conference title.

An interesting note about Fresno State joining a new conference is the success it has achieved during its first season in the league. Fresno State joined the WAC in 1992 and went 6-2 in conference play that year, claiming a share of the league title. In 1939, Fresno State’s first year in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the ’Dogs finished with a 9-1 record and its only loss came to league champion San Jose State.

Fresno State went 6-4 overall in 1969, its first season in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The PCAA would go on to become the Big West in 1988. That yeart the Bulldogs went a perfect 7-0 in Big West play to win the conference championship.

  • Fresno State ranks 11th nationally and second in the MW in pass efficiency defense at 102.6. The Bulldogs have allowed opponents to complete just 52.6 percent of their passes this season, which is the lowest opposing completion percentage in the league and the 12th lowest in the nation.
  • Phillip Thomas’ 11 passes defended this year (four pass breakups, seven interceptions) are tied for the most in the MW. Sean Alston (six breakups, two interceptions) has eight, L.J. Jones has seven (all breakups) and Derron Smith (four interceptions, two pass breakups) has six passes defended. That’s a total of 32 passes defended from Fresno State’s starting secondary, or four per game.
  • Fresno State ranks second in the Mountain West in kickoff coverage with a net of 40.8 yards per kickoff. The Bulldogs have allowed 685 yards on 38 returns by their opponents for an average of only 18 yards.
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