Fresno, CA (Sports Network) - A failed two-point conversion by Rutgers in
overtime left the Fresno State Bulldogs with a thrilling 52-51 win over the
Scarlet Knights in non-conference action at Bulldog Stadium.
A see-saw battle throughout, Fresno State (1-0) took the lead in overtime when
quarterback David Carr floated a pass over the top of the defense and into the
waiting hands of Greg Watson on the first play of the bonus frame. Following a
successful PAT by the Bulldogs, Rutgers then took a turn with quarterback Gary
Nova completing three passes, the last of which found Brandon Coleman on a
slant in the end zone.
But instead of settling for a potential second overtime, pending a successful
PAT, the Scarlet Knights (0-1) opted to go for the win instead. Nova rolled
out to his right and took aim at Coleman at the goal line, but the ball went
through his hands, giving FSU the victory.
Carr matched a career high with five passing touchdowns, setting new personal
bests and Mountain West Conference records for pass attempts (74) and
completions (53) in the meeting. His yardage total of 470 was second only to
the 536 yards passing he logged against San Diego State last season.
Carr threw passes to eight different receivers, with Davante Adams (14
receptions), Josh Harper (14) and Isaiah Burse (13) combining to generate 360
Nova hit on 26-of-41 for 348 yards and he too threw five touchdowns in the
setback. Coleman reeled in 10 balls for 105 yards and two scores, while Leonte
Carroo had three of his four catches go for touchdowns. On the ground, Paul
James rolled up a game-high 182 yards on 22 rushing attempts.
The Bulldogs marched right down the field on their first possession,
eventually giving the ball to Josh Quezada who crossed the goal line from
three yards out to put the hosts up 7-0 less than three minutes into the
Rutgers responded on the ensuing kickoff as Janarion Grant fielded the ball at
his own goal line and then split the coverage right up the middle and raced to
the end zone to tie the contest.
The Knights scored 20 straight points between the first and second quarters as
kicker Kyle Federico made good on field goal attempts of 48 and 29 yards,
while Nova hooked up with Carroo on a lengthy 69-yard touchdown pass play to
give the visitors a 20-7 advantage.
However, Carr took control later in the second frame, first setting up Malique
Micenheimer for a one-yard TD run and then connecting with Adams in the corner
of the end zone with just one second left before the half to provide the hosts
with a 21-20 edge.
Federico struck again for the Knights in the third, this time from 18 yards
out, pushing the visitors back in front by two points.
The teams then traded touchdowns as Carr combined with Harper on an 11-yard TD
pass play and Nova connected with Coleman on a short one-yard score. Following
Coleman's TD, Nova registered a two-point conversion in order to give Rutgers
a 31-28 lead after three periods of play.
Fresno State began a wild fourth quarter, one that saw three turnovers on
three successive plays, by regaining the lead less than four minutes in, as
Carr found Adams with a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Rutgers responded with a 13-yard TD pass play between Nova and Carroo with
5:32 left, making the score 38-35.
Fresno kicker Colin McGuire converted a 47-yard field goal at the 3:48 mark to
lock the score at 38-38, but there was still plenty of football to be played.
Rutgers again went on the attack in the final minutes, with Nova going right
to the end zone to Carroo from 30 yards out. Initially the play was called out
of bounds, but following a review the officials concluded that Carroo did in
fact have one foot land in the end zone before he tumbled out of play, giving
Rutgers a seven-point lead with 1:18 left.
Refusing to give up, Carr and the Bulldogs responded almost immediately, the
quarterback needing only 40 seconds to get his team back into the end zone
with a two-yard score to Harper.
With the score knotted at 45-45, the Knights were able to move the ball into
field goal range on the final drive of regulation, but Federico's attempt of
43 yards missed the mark, sending the meeting into overtime.
Rutgers surrendered 551 yards of total offense to the Bulldogs, this after
placing 10th nationally with just 311.6 ypg allowed a year ago. The Knights
were also fourth in the country in points allowed in 2012, giving up an
average of just 14.2 ppg.
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