Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter leads his team onto the field before the victory against Cal Poly. The Bulldogs will visit the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday. Photo by Roe Borunda/The Collegian
The Fresno State Bulldogs are close to cracking the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, a feat they haven’t achieved in five years.
And it will take a trip to Boulder, Colo., to attempt to become nationally ranked.
Currently, the Bulldogs are No. 27, tied with the Michigan State Spartans. The Arizona State Sun Devils are No. 26, but will have another bye week this weekend.
On Saturday, Fresno State will face the Colorado Buffaloes for the second straight season. Last year, it easily took care of business, winning 69-14. Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns in the first half alone, and the Bulldogs led 55-7 by halftime.
That was one of only two victories Fresno State has against Colorado. Carr’s older brother, David, was the starter during the other victory in 2001.
Colorado Makes Changes for 2013
Colorado found itself down on its luck in 2012, finishing 1-11 overall. That finish cost head coach Jon Embree his job and left the program scrambling for a new leader.
That led to the hiring of former San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre, who led the Spartans to a 10-2 record and a No. 24 ranking in 2012.
And results have shown. Colorado started 2013 with victories over Colorado State and Central Arkansas. It was the first time it started 2-0 since 2008.
“We’re looking to go 1-0 this week against a really resurgent Colorado team,” Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said in Wednesday’s press conference.
“I think Coach MacIntyre and his staff have done a fantastic job. We’re looking at a totally different football team than what we faced a year ago.”
Buffaloes junior quarterback Connor Wood threw for 265 yards and one touchdown as a backup in 2012. He currently ranks fifth in the nation with an average of 370.5 passing yards per game and six touchdowns.
Wood’s go-to guy, junior wideout Paul Richardson, is leading the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with 417 receiving yards. He is coming off a 2012 redshirt season due to a torn ACL.
“They have an all-Pac 12 receiver in [Richardson], who has had 200-plus receiving games in a row. [He’s] a very dynamic player, and we’re going to have our hands full,” DeRuyter said.
The Bulldogs are 10-0 under DeRuyter when they score 30 or more points in a game. There have been only five games where Fresno State failed to score at least 30 points, and it has lost four of them.
So far, Colorado’s weakness is its special teams defense. The Buffaloes have allowed an average of 35.6 yards per kickoff return and 20.4 yards on punt returns.
Weather Issues in Colorado
The weather on the field will be different than the previous 100-degree kickoffs. The city of Boulder has had inclement weather, with flash floods tearing through neighborhoods.
Despite the floods, the University of Colorado said the game will continue as scheduled. Folsom Field is reported to be in playable condition with no flooding on the field.
Saturday’s high is expected to be 74 degrees, and the game will start at noon MDT.
“During our camp, we practiced in the mornings, and our guys were ready to go every single morning,” DeRuyter said.
“I don’t foresee that being a problem. Our guys like an opportunity.”