|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 AM GMT9:00 AM 北京时间6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST, Dec. 24, 2012|
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii Attendance: 30,024
Fresno St.-SMU Preview
Fresno State Bulldogs at Southern Methodist Mustangs
- Fresno State and SMU have faced one another six times in the history of its programs and the Bulldogs hold a 5-1 advantage in the series. All six meetings came in consecutive seasons from 1999-2004 when both schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
- Fresno State is 11-12 all-time in bowl games and is looking to snap a three-game postseason skid. This game also marks SMU's third bowl game in Hawaii, with the Mustangs going 2-0 in the previous games (1984 Aloha Bowl - SMU 27, Notre Dame 20; 2009 Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl - SMU 45, Nevada 10).
- Tim DeRuyter has won more games than any other first year Fresno State head coach. He and Alvin Pierson in 1945 are the only head coaches to lead the Bulldogs to a bowl game in their first season. Fresno State is one win away from registering its first 10-win season since 2001 when the Bulldogs went 11-3 overall.
- Over the past two-plus seasons, SMU is 14-0 when scoring first but 0-13 when the opponent scores first.
- Three-time All-C-USA performer and 2012 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Zach Line has totaled 4,114 yards and 46 rushing TDs in his career, both of which rank in the top seven among active players. His career rushing total is second-best in school history, trailing only Eric Dickerson.
- FSU quarterback Derek Carr set a new Mountain West record with three 400-yard passing games and his 36 touchdown passes are the second-most in Mountain West history.
- 2 Sooners coaches lose homes in tornado
- Judge may dismiss Corbett's PSU lawsuit
- WR McCartney returns to West Virginia
- Ex-Tide WR Woodson heading to S. Alabama
- Military Bowl goes from RFK to Annapolis
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- Fresno State has enjoyed an outstanding first season in the Mountain West under new coach Tim DeRuyter.
The Bulldogs could cap it off in style with a sixth consecutive victory for the school's winningest season in 11 years as they meet former WAC rival SMU in the Hawaii Bowl on Monday night.
After going 4-9 in their final season in the WAC in 2011, the Bulldogs replaced coach Pat Hill with DeRuyter as they prepared for the move to the Mountain West.
Fresno State (9-3) made quite a splash in its new league, posting a 7-1 record to earn a share of the title - its first conference championship since 1999.
The Bulldogs have been dominant in five games since a 20-10 loss at then-No. 24 Boise State on Oct. 13, winning by an average of 25.8 points and scoring at least 42 in each victory.
They'll be trying to snap a three-game bowl skid after notching the program's fifth nine-win season over the past decade. Fresno State hasn't reached double digits in wins since going 11-3 in 2001.
Perhaps even more important is that the Christmas Eve game in Honolulu won't be the last in a Bulldogs uniform for junior quarterback Derek Carr. The Mountain West offensive player of the year announced following the team's regular-season finale - a 48-15 win over Air Force on Nov. 24 - that he would return for his senior year.
"Hard work pays off and I'm a firm believer in that," said Carr, who has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,742 yards with 36 touchdowns and just five interceptions. "You know personally how hard you worked, when it comes to fruition like this and you get to hold the (championship) trophy, you know you've done something right."
Led by Carr, the brother of New York Giants backup quarterback David Carr, the Bulldogs have done plenty right on offense, ranking 14th in the FBS with 488.5 yards per game and tied for 12th in scoring (40.3 ppg).
Carr's favorite target is league freshman of the year Davante Adams, who has 13 TDs among his 89 receptions and is 14th in the nation with 97.3 yards per game.
Senior running back Robbie Rouse also keyed the passing game with 58 catches and 406 yards - both surpassing his previous three seasons combined. The first-team all-conference selection is the Bulldogs' all-time leading rusher after a third straight 1,000-yard season. He's 81 yards and one rushing TD shy of his career highs of 1,549 and 13, set last year.
"This is the best season since I've been here, and the best season in at least over a decade," Rouse said. "... With all the adversity that was thrown at us with new coaches, getting a new scheme and us coming off of last season and how we all pulled together as a team. As captains we got everyone together and were able to pull off this season and it feels great."
The Mustangs (6-6) are thrilled to be making a school-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance after opening the season 2-4.
SMU became bowl eligible Nov. 24 in its last game, a 35-27 victory over Conference USA West champion Tulsa.
"Having been affiliated with this bowl since its inception, I know that it is one of the best bowl experiences in college football," said coach June Jones, who arrived at SMU in 2008 after nine seasons with Hawaii. "I'm very excited for our players, staff and fans. This is a special experience."
The Mustangs will make their third postseason appearance in Honolulu and first since beating Nevada 45-10 in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, their first bowl game in 25 years.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, a Texas transfer, will make his first bowl appearance since the 2010 BCS national title game. He was a freshman coming off the bench in the first quarter for an injured Colt McCoy, finishing with two TDs and four INTs in a 37-21 loss to Alabama.
Gilbert completed just 53.1 percent of his passes this season for 2,720 yards and 14 TDs, but he hasn't been picked off in the last five games.
Bulldogs safety Phillip Thomas will try to end that streak after leading the nation with eight interceptions. He was named the Mountain West defensive player of the year and a Thorpe Award finalist as the nation's best defensive back.
Gilbert, though, is also a big running threat, as he's reached the end zone seven times and ran for a career-high 111 yards in the regular-season finale.
Senior tailback Zach Line had three rushing TDs in that game to move within one of Eric Dickerson's SMU career record of 47. Line is the fourth player in Conference USA history with three straight 1,000-yard seasons after rushing for 1,207 this year.
The Bulldogs are ranked 75th against the run (171.9 ypg), but they're among the top 20 nationally in total defense (335.3), sacks (35) and turnovers gained (33).
Fresno State last faced SMU in 2004 and has won the past five meetings by a 144-38 margin after losing the first one in 1999.
Updated December 18, 2012