Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas, who finished the season with a team-high 82 tackles and a nation-best eight interceptions, continues to bolster his resume heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.
Both Sports Illustrated and The Associated Press selected him to its All-America first teams Tuesday.
Thomas was the only SI first-team selection on offense or defense from a school outside of the Bowl Championship Series conferences.
Thomas was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award that honors the nation’s best defensive back.
The American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation have all named Thomas to their respective All-America first teams, as well.
If the Football Writers Association of America gives Thomas first-team All-America honors when it releases its selections Friday, Thomas will become the first unanimous All-American in Fresno State school history.
Derek Carr and Davante Adams were honorable mentions in the SI All-America teams.
The Bulldogs swept the Mountain West Conference’s player of the year awards – with Carr earning Offensive Player of the Year honors and Adams named as the conferences Freshman of the Year.
Co-Mountain West champion Fresno State (9-3) will play SMU (6-6) on Christmas Eve in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
The game will be nationally broadcast by ESPN with a 5 p.m. kickoff.
Women’s hoops: six-game road trek awaits
Here’s a fun fact to end the semester with: the Fresno State women’s basketball team, winner of 17 in a row at the Save Mart Center, will ring in the new year having preserved a home win streak two seasons and three years long.
The streak began on Dec. 8, 2011, in a 69-66 win over Oklahoma State.
The next time the Bulldogs (6-2) put their home streak on the line? Jan. 12 in their Mountain West Conference home opener against New Mexico (7-3).
The Bulldogs play through most of their winter break games away from home, where they have outscored opponents 431-312 this season.
Fresno State starts its six-game West Coast road trip Monday against the University of Portland. The Bulldogs face Oregon – their fourth Pac-12 opponent of the season – two days later.
The Bulldogs open Mountain West play against San Diego State, picked to finish first in the conference standings by a preseason poll, in the Jan. 9 conclusion of their six-game road trip.
“We need to get road-tested,” Bulldogs coach Raegan Pebley said after Saturday’s 68-53 win against Cal State Northridge.
“We need to really solidify our defense and our rebounding and finishing at the basket to help us pick up wins there.
“We like to have fun when we travel. We like to not only go and win games on the road, but we like to really spend a lot of time as a team together and enjoy one another off the court. I’m still new to them. They’re still new to me.
“We’re still getting to know each other as human beings. We’ll spend a lot of time getting to know one another.”
The women’s basketball team signed autographs for fans after the Bulldogs’ win over the Matadors.
“We wanted to give our fans something to remember us by,” Pebley said. “We’re not going to see them until Jan. 12.”
Men’s hoops: ’Dogs face reigning Pac-12 champ Colorado tonight
The Bulldogs (5-4), coming off a 59-50 road loss to Washington State, continue nonconference play in preparation for a vaunted Mountain West Conference schedule boasting teams that have a nation-best combined record of 63-16 against nonleague opponents through Sunday.
Fresno State is one win away from tabbing its 100th win at the Save Mart Center.
The Buffaloes, defending Pac-12 Tournament champions, enter the matchup at 7-2.
Colorado is the second of three Pac-12 teams that Fresno State faces this season, with the Bulldogs traveling to Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 22 to face UCLA.
“We’ve had two good days of practice,” Bulldogs coach Rodney Terry said.
“Colorado’s a great team. Coach (Tad) Boyle’s doing a great job over there. We’re going to come in this building. We’re going to be ready to play and our guys are going to compete as hard as they can compete for 40 minutes.”
No break for winter sports
Teams such as swimming and diving and equestrian, along with men’s and women’s basketball, will continue their season in full swing during winter break.
The swimming and diving team will travel to UCLA Jan. 11 to compete in a three-day invitational before hosting UC Davis on Jan. 26.
Here are some home events taking place during break:
• Men’s hoops: Sonoma State (Dec. 30), San Diego State (Jan. 9), Wyoming (Jan. 16).
• Women’s hoops: New Mexico (Jan. 12).
• Equestrian: Inter-squad scrimmage (Jan. 12).
• Men’s tennis: Saint Mary’s (Jan. 13).